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. 

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 August 2020

The Signature program is a ten-month experiential program from the August 28, 2019 orientation to June. Following an orientation and two-day retreat the group meets monthly.

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. 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.

apply: Applications are now closed for 2019-2020 Leadership Evanston year. Applications for 2020-2021 will open on May 1, 2020. For more information, contact Jennifer Moran, Director of Leadership Evanston. 

program cost: $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.

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.

In places around Evanston, participants meet with a large variety of Evanston leaders once a month. Our conversations with leaders 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

During 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 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 leadership, effective advocacy and organizing, strategic planning, building trust and respoect, 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.