NLC Welcomes Nearly 700 New Fellows

“The NLC experience allows emerging leaders to reimagine what’s possible.”

November 23, 2021

At NLC, we know that change happens when folks work together to make a collective impact. 

Today, we are thrilled to announce the next generation of system changers. This year’s cohort of NLC Fellows includes nearly 700 local leaders from across the country. They are organizers, educators, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs. They are committed to equity, accountability, and community-centered solutions. 

And they are ready to write the next page of history for themselves and the communities they serve. 

“Fellows come to NLC on the cusp of transformational leadership,” said Clare Bresnahan English, our President & CEO. “During their fellowship, they gain the skills, resources, and network to take their leadership journey to the next level.” 

Starting in January, Fellows will begin the NLC Institute, which is delivered in chapters throughout the country. The Institute creates space for intensive leadership development and meaningful connection with other changemakers –  a key element in making lasting progress.  

“In response to the issues we are facing in this country, this much is clear: leaders need meaningful, collaborative relationships to move us forward,” said Karen Pandy Cherry, Vice President of Programs. “NLC Institute brings people together who likely would have never met, and creates a space for them to build relationships with one another.”

While every chapter’s Institute is six months long, the national curriculum is tailored to connect Fellows’ training to local issues. The curriculum includes skill-building in areas such as collective impact, communications, fundraising, and community organizing, with equity and inclusion infused in each session. It is delivered by trainers from local networks, immersing Fellows in community-led change.

The Institute culminates in a capstone, where Fellows identify a project that fills a need in the community and is aligned with their passions and goals. Fellows leverage the skills and network NLC provides during the Institute for their capstone project – bringing the NLC experience to life in their communities. 

“New leaders are constantly thinking in new ways with a new lens,” said Pandy Cherry. “NLC Fellows are closest to their communities. They know the names of the people who they are fighting for and who they are accountable to, which makes them most equipped to bring forward the solutions they create in their capstone projects.”

Once Fellows graduate from Institute, they join a network of 10,000 NLC alumni who are making a collective impact in government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Whether they go on to become Members of Congress like Rep. Lauren Underwood (NLC DC ‘14) and Rep. Nikema Williams (NLC Atlanta ‘13), founded nonprofits like the Housing Rights Initiative, or started their own businesses, the NLC Fellowship serves as an inflection point in their leadership journey. 

NLC alumni have done great things in their communities, including expanding voting access, changing their state’s healthcare policy in under three weeks, and making history in the public sector. Our past cohorts have proven that systems can change when folks come together across industries, issues, and identities to make progress a reality. 

“The NLC experience allows emerging leaders to reimagine what’s possible,” said Bresnahan English. 

“It’s a place where you learn that your personal story is your leadership story, and that our collective stories can change systems. It’s a place where you learn how to multiply your impact by getting out of silos and by getting into good trouble with a cohort of changemakers. And it’s where you learn how to join forces for long-term systems change – all while being challenged to dream big and take risks to start making an impact now.” 

Learn more about the 2022 NLC Fellows here.