You are cordially invited to attend ECF’s Grant Awards Celebration & Annual Meeting on May 30th! Click here to register. 

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, and watch the video below to hear from some of Leadership Evanston's graduates.

LE XXVIII begins September, 2020

The Signature program is a ten-month experiential program from September to June. Following the orientation and two-day retreat the group will meet monthly.

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.

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.


Applications are now open for the 2019-2020 Leadership Evanston year. If you are interested please apply here or contact us for more information; leadership(at)

program cost

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.

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 over 75 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 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.