LEAD: Training Residents to Be Their Own Champions


LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy and Development) Community Training Program is a resident leadership academy to promote civic engagement. LEAD is the first phase of Foundation for Louisiana's TOGETHER Initiative.

“I came to The Foundation for Louisiana, LEAD Community Training Program after a series of personal losses and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. […] I was accepted into the program and joined a diverse group of community leaders. LEAD introduced us to experts in community engagement and gave us the tools to be effective and make a true difference in our community.”

– Kelley Williams, 2014 LEAD Alumna

The LEAD Community Training Program is a workshop series designed to empower its participants in the areas of Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy, and Development, for which the program is named. The program makes up the first phase of Foundation for Louisiana’s annual TOGETHER Initiative, which works to help New Orleans residents participate more actively and effectively in the decision-making processes that impact their communities.

Hosted over a period of seven weeks, the LEAD Program brings in guest experts to host sessions in such fields as community organizing, advocacy, public policy, and land use and development. Through these interactive lessons, participants develop the skills that they need to enact positive change through their respective organizations and communities while networking with a variety of other community leaders to build strong relationships between various sectors.

Since its creation in 2013, LEAD has focused on nurturing New Orleans’ cultural economy and its Claiborne Corridor neighborhoods, which are two important opportunities for growth and positive change in the city.

What are some of the LEAD Alumni doing now?

  • Co-chairing the Cultural Economy Working Group
  • Co-chairing HousingNOLA’s Community Engagement team
  • Leading their Neighborhood Associations
  • Sitting on the RTA Riders Advisory Committee
  • Participating in the Welcome Table and NORDC community engagement
  • Advocating for responsible use of artists’ images
  • Even managing Foundation for Louisiana’s TOGETHER Initiative!

In addition, LEAD alumni are eligible to apply for capacity building grants to strengthen their organizations’ ability to engage with their target membership as well as decision makers in government and industry. To date, Foundation for Louisiana has made seven capacity building grants to LEAD alumni-affiliated organizations, including Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, Voices of Experience, “New Zion” City Preservation Association, Tekrema Center for Arts and Culture, and the Neo-Jazz School of Music.

Play the video to hear from our 2014 LEAD graduates in their own words.

The TOGETHER Initiative is supported by funding from the City of New Orleans through its Network for Economic Opportunity, the Convergence Partnership, Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Metropolitan Opportunities Initiative, JP Morgan Chase, Surdna Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. If you would like to receive information about the 2016 LEAD Program, please contact Deidre Gantt at 225-772-2369 or by email at [email protected]

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Support for economic opportunity, civic engagement and disaster response programs that increase resiliency in underserved communities and improve quality of life for all Louisiana residents.