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Leadership Evanston
Signature Program 

We develop knowledgeable community stewards who are willing to roll up their sleeves to get things done for Evanston. In 2020 we're adapting the program to respond to the challenges of COVID. 

Founded by the Evanston Community Foundation in 1992, almost eight hundred individuals who live or work in Evanston have graduated from Leadership Evanston Signature — and 80% of them are still here, participating in our community's life. 

Learn what makes Leadership Evanston a rich experience

Learn about the focused program.

Meet the recent graduates. Watch the video below to hear from some of Leadership Evanston's graduates.

LE XXIX begins October 2020

The Signature program is an eight month beginning October 2020 to the beginning of June 2021. The group will meet twice a month virtually, on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.

Signature Leadership Evanston participants must:

  • Have lived and/or worked in Evanston for at least one year.
  • Intend to remain in the Evanston area for at least five years.
  • Be able to attend all class sessions. At most, participants may miss two sessions.
  • Be willing and able to spend four to six hours per month outside of class on a team project.

Leadership Evanston participants include staff of local companies and institutions, educators, clergy, small business owners, and volunteers involved in non-profits, schools, sports organizations and faith communities. This year we will be a smaller cohort, reflecting the agile shift due to Covid-19.  We are starting to recruit a diverse group of 20 participants who live and/or work in Evanston, have displayed the capacity for community leadership, and are motivated to take increased responsibility for Evanston’s future

apply: Applications are now closed for the 2020-2021 Leadership Evanston year. For more information, contact Jennifer Moran, Director of Leadership and Training. 

program cost: $1250, including a $100 non-refundable deposit required upon acceptance to the program. Costs may be paid by participants or by their employers or sponsoring organizations. Once a candidate is accepted to the program, limited financial assistance and scholarships are available. NO ONE is turned away due to financial hardship. For further information, contact Jennifer Moran, Director of Leadership and Training.

rich experience

Leadership Evanston Signature Program uses four ways to change the world: get proximate, change the narrative, preserve hope, get uncomfortable. This framework sets up our dynamic year in everything we do: interviews, research, readings, encounters, exercises, and discussions.

Participants will meet with a large variety of Evanston leaders twice a month in two 2-hour Zoom sessions.  Our conversations are in-depth, forthright, and thought provoking. Class members get to know one another and have the opportunity to share views, perceptions and feelings in a safe and respectful environment. Leadership Evanston is not just to learn more about Evanston but also to learn more about one's responsibility as a citizen leader and acquire techniques to be effective. Engaging in a variety of exercises that both help the group work together and learn skills to use after the program has ended the participant will bring this “tool box” back to their own work within the community.

program focus

Each month, participants use Evanston as a learning laboratory to absorb and practice leadership skills. During class sessions, participants meet and work with Evanston leaders, from elected officials to grassroots organizers. In addition to class sessions, participants have some reading and experiential homework. 

The Signature program has three areas of focus to help participants grow as local leaders:

• Training in community leadership skills, including foundations of adaptive leadership, effective advocacy and organizing, successful team building,  restorative practices and interpersonal communication, creative problem solving, and conflict resolution, as well as visioning, consensus building, and public speaking. 

• Broadening participants understanding of Evanston and its assets and challenges.

• Building a network of concerned citizens to strengthen the community.