Leadership Evanston
Signature Program 

We develop knowledgeable community stewards who are willing to roll up their sleeves to get things done for Evanston.

Founded by the Evanston Community Foundation in 1992, more than seven 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. Meet the recent graduates.

LE XXVI begins in September

The Signature program is a ten-month experiential program starting in September 2017 and running through June 2018. Following the orientation and two-day retreat the group will meet monthly on Thursdays.

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 (partial list of the representative organizations). Each year, we recruit a diverse group of 30 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.

We seek individuals who are:
• Most apt to use their leadership for the long-term benefit of the Evanston community.
• Sincerely committed, motivated, and interested in serving the community, as elected or appointed public officials, in key volunteer and professional leadership roles, and as change agents.
• Representative of the many communities and perspectives which make Evanston unique.


To apply, complete and submit the online SurveyMonkey application. Applicants are asked to describe their civic and work experiences, identify Evanston issues and expectations for their experiences in the program.  Applications will be accepted until the end of July, followed by small group, one-hour interviews to review the expectations and answer applicants' questions.

2015-2016 participants

program focus

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

•Training in community leadership skills, including creative problem solving, conflict resolution, public policy analysis, effective advocacy, and visioning.

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

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

View the photo gallery highlights from the 2016-2017 class.

program structure and schedule

SIgnature_Nov_2015.jpgDuring full-day sessions each month, participants use Evanston as a learning laboratory to absorb and practice leadership skills. During class sessions, participants meet and work with over 75 Evanston leaders, from elected officials to grassroots organizers. In addition to class sessions, participants have some reading and experiential homework. Projects in and about Evanston are conducted by small teams during the ten-month class. Learn more about what makes the Signature program valuable.


program cost

Total 2017-18 program cost is $1500, 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. Limited financial assistance and scholarships are available. For further information, contact Jennifer Moran, Director of Leadership Evanston.

help get the real work done!

future leaders working together making Evanston a more vibrant, inclusive, and just community.Your gift to the Leadership Fund today ensures this remarkable program will develop future leaders for the next 25 years. GIVE NOW to the Leadership Fund.