A new University of Georgia leadership initiative will partner with eight organizations across the state to build stronger communities by developing leaders within underserved populations.
The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, developed the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative (ICLI) with private funding donated by members of the Fanning Institute Advisory Board, most notably a lead gift from the James L. Allgood family.
The program specifically targets organizations or communities that do not have the resources or technical expertise to sustain effective leadership programing, said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute.
“The funds raised for this initiative allow Fanning to invest its resources and expertise in these partner communities and organizations to enhance and innovate community leadership programming,” Bishop said.
The inaugural ICLI recipients are:
- The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, which is creating an emerging leaders program to serve young professionals.
- Community Outreach Training Center Inc. in Thomas, Mitchell and Grady counties, which is incorporating leadership development into its housing and entrepreneurship assistance programming.
- The Elbert County Chamber of Commerce, which is reinvigorating its adult, broad-based community leadership program.
- GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, which is strengthening bonds between leaders at early learning centers and elementary schools in their P-3 Leaders Fellowship.
- New American Pathways, which is building a leadership program for newly naturalized citizens and second-generation immigrant young adults across Georgia.
- The Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, which is developing a new youth leadership program for high school students.
- The Rules of the Game Leadership Academy, a program based in metropolitan Atlanta designed to help youth make choices that will lead to productive futures and help them become leaders in their communities.
- The Wimberly Center for Community Development in Barrow County, which is incorporating leadership development into its high school workforce skills program.
“We are very excited to be working with the Fanning Institute,” said Sharon Edwards, founder and executive director of Community Outreach Training Center Inc. “Through the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative, we’re going to be able to incorporate leadership development into our existing services, equipping program participants to lead and build better futures for themselves and their communities.”
Over the next year, Fanning Institute faculty and staff will work with these organizations to develop and build out their proposed leadership programming.
“We received a large number of very strong applications that all received serious consideration,” said Brittany Adams-Pope, a Fanning Institute public service faculty member. “These inaugural recipients represent a diverse cross-section of the state, and we look forward to working with them to develop their programs.”
Leads to community vitality
As part of the ICLI, communities are expected to sustain and continue the programming over multiple years.
“Sustainable, consistent leadership development programming positions a community for economic development and other opportunities,” Bishop said. “The correlation between leadership development and community vitality is a clear one, and communities that innovate their leadership programs to better serve all of their citizens are the ones best prepared for a better future.”
The institute will accept applications for a second round of the ICLI in spring 2021. For more information, visit www.fanning.uga.edu/programs/ICLI