Leadership Evanston Signature Program 

For the past thirty-one years, Leadership Evanston has connected community members willing to roll up their sleeves to get things done for Evanston.

Founded in 1992, Leadership Evanston was designed to provide a platform for local leaders to develop the skills, knowledge, and networks necessary to create lasting impact For Now, Forever, and For Everyone in Evanston. Leadership Evanston uniquely recognizes the leadership capacity in all and seeks to cultivate a collaborative network of socially conscious leaders in Evanston through a 10-month experiential learning curriculum.

The curriculum challenges participants to explore Evanston's history and sectors through a racial justice lens while learning and implementing tenets of agile leadership.


Meet our 2024 Cohort Participants:

The Evanston Community Foundation is proud to announce the Leadership Evanston Class of 2024 Cohort!


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Leadership Evanston Overview


 LE XXXII begins in September 2023

Running a full academic year, from September to June. Signature Leadership Evanston participants must:

  • Live or work in Evanston
  • Intend to remain in the Evanston area for at least five years
  • Be able to attend all class sessions
  • Be willing to spend four to six hours per month outside of class on a team project

Tuition: $1500 ( Once a candidate is accepted to the program, limited financial assistance and scholarships are available. NO ELIGIBLE Candidate is turned away due to financial hardship.)

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.

For further information, contact Karli Butler, Leadership Evanston co-facilitator.

program structure

The program follows safe, CDC guidelines. We have designed a hybrid model to include a combination of online and small group convening.

FULL COHORT: The first session of each month, we will meet on ZOOM from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm. The second session of the month, we meet as a group in person from 8:30 am — 1:30 pm (1:00 PM Lunch included, opt out if necessary).

HOME BASE: A small discussion group of 5/6 participants who will meet one hour each month and will become the Project Team.

PROJECT TEAM:  Each team will be required to connect to a community challenge in collaboration with external community leaders. In May 2024, each team will present their work in a team project presentation.

rich experience

Leadership Evanston Signature Program:

  • We believe in understanding the history of our community to better understand the systemic and root causes of inequity.
  • We believe in Asset Based Community Development where we center the voices of our community to understand how systemic change might happen.  
  • We believe in preserving hope as we learn and engage with thought leaders who collaborate on how to face challenges.
  • We believe that getting uncomfortable is an important step towards transformation of self and the community.
  • LEXXXII cohort will build trust through facilitated interactions in a safe and respectful environment.
  • LEXXII will meet with a comprehensive array of Evanston leaders through in-depth, forthright, and thought provoking conversations including one-on-one interviews, research, readings, encounters, exercises, and discussions.
  • LEXXXII will learn more broadly and deeply about Evanston and acquire skills to be effective citizen leaders. 
  • LEXXXII will engage in a variety of facilitated exercises and experiences to develop a “tool box” of leadership skills to use within the community after the program has ended.

program focus

Each month, participants use Evanston as a learning laboratory. During the two monthly sessions, participants meet and work with Evanston leaders, from elected officials to grassroots organizers. In addition, participants have reading and experiential homework. 

LE XXXII will focus on three areas 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.

It is through these trusted relationships, our community grows stronger one cohort at a time.