Are you a new kind of leader?

New Leaders Council develops, connects, and uplifts inclusive, cross-sector leaders who transform our country through social and political change rooted in equity.

Our Fellows have expertise and passions in a number of social justice issues including healthcare, housing, criminal justice, climate change, and democracy. While our programming serves leaders across all identities, we uplift and center Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, women, LGBTQI+ folx, and leaders who hold identities that have not been traditionally invested in. In their Institute, Fellows are challenged to break down silos and understand interconnected systems.

Apply to the 2023 NLC Institute by September 12, 2022!

NLC 2023 Institute Fellows are changemakers who…

Commit to NLC Values: Equity, Anti-Oppression, Accountability, Continuous Growth, Transparency, Progress, Trust, Community

Indicate an interest and ability in leading teams, movements, and communities

Support others with confidence, humility, and a team-centered approach to problem-solving

Have an entrepreneurial spirit, including the desire to take risks to pursue an opportunity or challenge oppressive systems

You’re almost ready to apply! Please make sure to apply by September 12, 2022, 11:59 p.m. local time. The 2023 NLC Institute application consists of a few short essay questions, demographic information, and resume.

We recommend writing essay responses in a Google, Word, or txt document and then copy/paste final responses in the form. NLC’s chapters manage the recruitment and selections processes. Once the local chapter reviews applications in September, applicants will be notified whether they advance to the interview phase. Applicants will be contacted by their chapter by October 1, 2022.

Have questions? We’ve got answers! Check out the FAQ below.


Fellows in the 2022 NLC Institute class.


Of 2021 Fellows agree that the NLC Institute provided them with a supportive community network and training that will propel them further in their professional and personal goals.


Of Fellows pay no tuition for the NLC Institute.

Why apply to NLC?

Gain the skill-based knowledge and cross-sector, cross-country network that can propel you personally and professionally to make a collective impact in your community.

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Across our 50 chapters, NLC Institute cohorts gain valuable skills in communications, community organizing, fundraising, and more.

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NLC’s community-centered approach to leadership expands capacity and support for equity movement leaders and systems change. Together, we connect and collaborate to share opportunities and ideas.

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NLC Fellows gain access to a 10,000 strong network of alumni who are the driving force behind social and political change.

The person that is coming to NLC in any community is on the cusp of transformational leadership. They are making decisions about where they want to take their organization, their career, and their journey in service…Without training orgs like NLC, there isn’t a pathway for millennial and Gen Z leaders to elevate their leadership. Change has to happen at every level – and if we don’t have pathways to leadership the country cannot move forward.

– Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
2014 NLC DC Fellow

NLC is a vibrant community that empowers you with vital skills and knowledge to impact the world’s most pressing problems. But perhaps more importantly, NLC bestows you with the moral courage to do so, from a community that believes in what you believe, in a moment that calls for bold and visionary leaders, thinkers, and doers.

– Dr. Atul Nakhasi
NLC Los Angeles 2020

NLC members and Fellows must stand in their purpose and declare their intent to move forward an equity-based agenda that focuses on solutions for our most marginalized communities.

– Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-5)
NLC Atlanta 2013


What is NLC?

New Leaders Council, or NLC, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with local chapters across the country. Our mission is to develop, connect, and uplift inclusive, cross-sector leaders who transform our country through social and political change rooted in equity. We invite you to read through our 2021 annual report for more detailed information about our work. 

When are applications due?

Applications are due on September 12, 2022 at 11:59 p.m local time

If I leave the application form, will my changes be saved? Will I be able to return later and complete the form where I left off?

No. We highly advise that you write your essay questions in a separate Google doc, Word doc, or txt doc. The application DOES NOT SAVE your answers until you click ‘Submit,’ so if you exit out of the page, your work will be cleared from the form and you will need to start over again. The three essay questions can be found below.

What are the three essay questions?

Essay #1 – Cross-Sector Collaboration – NLC’s mission is to develop, connect, and uplift inclusive, cross-sector leaders who transform our country through social and political change rooted in equity. Briefly describe what an equitable and just society looks like to you. How do you envision cross-sector collaboration (nonprofit, private, and public/government sectors)contributing to bringing about that reality? (Maximum 350 words)

Essay #2 – Passion – The NLC Institute experience goes beyond theory and puts passion into action. If you had to identify one area of passion in activism, what would it be and what action would you like to take around it? (Maximum 250 words)

Essay #3 – Values – What is a particular theory or personal value that guides your own beliefs about the best way to pursue progress or lead teams and organizations, conscious of the fact that others may not agree? How do your own life experiences influence this conviction? (Maximum 250 words)

What does the Fellowship involve?

The NLC Institute is a six-month local leadership training program. The time commitment is one weekend (Saturday and Sunday) every month, and each month focuses on a different hard skill for leaders: goal setting, communications, fundraising and finance, management, and public policy and organizing. There is also a Capstone project and a hands-on chapter fundraiser at the end of the Fellowship. 

How can I pay my Institute application fee? How can I pay my refundable seat deposit?

Applicants are required to use a credit or debit card to pay the $30 application fee. If selected, seat deposits may be paid by credit, debit, or by check. Checks will be held in escrow and not cashed, meaning no funds will come out of your account. We recommend this option if facing a financial burden, further instructions for check submission will be provided. 

What sort of financial costs are associated with being an NLC Fellow?

We believe that the NLC experience should be available to anyone, regardless of economic status. Applicants are asked to pay a $30 application fee via debit or credit card, but anyone facing financial hardship may request a fee waiver prior to submitting their application by filling out this form. Once selected for an Institute seat, each Fellow must submit a fully-refundable $200 seat deposit to signify their commitment.

When and how will I get my seat deposit back? What if I move?

Upon successful completion of the Institute, each Fellow will be asked to complete an exit survey which triggers the start of the process to return the seat deposit. Fellows will have the option to donate all or part of their seat deposit to the next NLC cohort or have the full amount refunded to them. Refunds are processed within 90 days after graduation. Any Fellow who does not successfully complete the Institute will have their seat deposit automatically forfeited. Fellows who experience a permanent move may request to have their Fellowship transferred to another chapter. Requests for transfer must be approved by both chapters.

Are there refunds on my application fee if I am not selected?

No, application fees are non-refundable.

When will applicants be notified that they have been invited to interview for the Fellowship?

Applicants will be contacted by their chapter by October 1, 2022. 

How are applicants chosen as Fellows? 

NLC’s chapters manage the recruitment and selections processes. Once the local chapter reviews applications in September, applicants will be notified whether they advance to the interview phase. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by October 31, 2022.

What can I expect from the application and selections process?

The application consists of a few short essay questions, demographic info, and a resume upload. Top-scoring applicants will be invited for an interview with a chapters’ selections committee. When selecting applicants, volunteers focus on potential Fellows’ personal values, community service, and their compatibility and potential collaboration with other applicants. 

If I am selected as a Fellow, what sort of time commitment can I expect?

Meetings are one weekend a month, a full Saturday and Sunday. The Fellowship requires about 15 hours a month towards programming and working on Capstone projects and your chapter’s annual fundraiser.

Is the deadline flexible? Would NLC consider granting an extension on the application?

No, extensions will not be granted.

Will the 2023 Institute be in-person?

Right now, we are planning on an in-person Institute in 2023, but realize that vaccination rates, new strains of COVID-19, and other public health concerns may factor into transitioning into a virtual experience. One of NLC’s primary goals is to maintain the health and safety of our Fellows, volunteers, alumni, and facilitators. We will continue to monitor all local, state, and federal health guidelines.

If I am selected, will I be able to share the news on my social media?

Absolutely! Fellows’ Announcement Day happens in early November. All accepted Fellows across the country will be able to share the news at the same time. Fellows are provided a communications toolkit with templates they may use to share their excitement with their community.

I have another question, who should I reach out to?

For any additional questions please email us at [email protected]