Expanding Leadership Initiative
While we make grants to nonprofit organizations, the Foundation is also committed to serving as a community catalyst and modeling transformational leadership. We work to foresee emerging community needs and leverage resources and strategic partnerships to addresses community issues where we can make an impact to achieve positive change. ELI is part of the Foundation’s broader efforts to influence transformational change in Boulder County leadership and its efforts hang within that framework.
ELI’s Youth Leadership Development and Intern programs are components of the Foundation’s broader efforts in transformational leadership. These programs are designed to impact young people and influence their abilities to lead. Thanks to the generous ongoing support of our funders, the Foundation has been able to provide youth interns with work experience in area nonprofits and grants to 16 nonprofit organizations to develop multicultural youth leadership programs.
In a time of continued economic hardship, the Youth Multicultural Leadership Development Grants program provides capacity support to organizations in their efforts to become more culturally inclusive; while the Intern program enables Boulder County youth who would otherwise not have the opportunity to receive invaluable, paid, hands-on work experience.
Both the Intern and the Leadership Development programs provide area nonprofits the valuable opportunity for them to demonstrate their own commitments to diversity, inclusivity, and youth leadership development.
Among the most significant benefits from these programs are the important learning experiences provided to youth, typically under-represented, often disenfranchised, so that they can help fill the multicultural leadership gap in Boulder County. These programs have strengthened the Foundation’s efforts to increase multi-cultural youth leadership in Boulder County and reflect strong collaborations with the funded organizations toward that end.
In 2009, the Foundation established the Boulder County Leadership Fellows Program to build networks of trust between communities and across sectors. The program offers a resource for building networks and relationships while providing an opportunity to engage in dialogue about emerging, multicultural, and transformational leadership. “Fellows” meet monthly to share their own experiences and interact with established community leaders. The program, now in its third year, will train an additional 21 Fellows through summer 2012.
Thanks to a generous donor, the Foundation is able to provide support to Boulder County’s Community Action Progam for People Engaged in Raising Leaders (PERL), a leadership training program that focuses on preparing people of color in Boulder County to serve on Boards and Commissions, and matches them with mentors who can help guide them to do so.
And, the Foundation, through its ELI efforts, has implemented a three year program with the Knight Foundation that will grant funds to integrate identified best practices into programs/organizations and to improve the recruiting, retaining, and support of multi-cultural leaders.