We have a problem: our best and brightest talent isn't tackling our toughest issues. But we have good news too: our youngest generation is hungry to take these challenges on — especially in the places they call home. Lead For America leans into this drive by creating community-centered public service programs for our most passionate and capable young people to help make their communities strong, vibrant, and compassionate.
Our programs seek to direct homegrown talent where it's needed most — often in towns and counties where the challenges are outpacing the resources available. We look for community members who prioritize humility, service, and collective impact over self-advancement, who are just as committed to developing their character as they are their careers, and who are willing to question and vigorously pursue the intersection of their talents and the world’s deep need.
Joe Grochmal, Hometown Fellow '19
"I was drawn to the fellowship by my desire to contribute to the continued success of my hometown and to work alongside other young people with similar hopes, dreams, and passions for their communities."
— Joe Grochmal, Fellow
Fellows at Catalyst Institute '19
By 2040, 1 million of our nation's most dynamic and diverse leaders working on our communities' toughest challenges.
We commit to diversity and inclusion. To equity. To compassion in all we do. And to the courage to envision a better future.
Service in Sacrifice | Equity in Action | Embodied Integrity
Innovation in All Things | Fearless Transparency
A more perfect union built upon communities that care.
We want to name that, at their writing, these words from our founding documents — "a more perfect union" — excluded many people from their vision and were only made possible because of deep and systematic violence towards Native people and enslaved Black people. We believe that to truly create a future of community and care, we must reclaim our origin story — in all its messiness, history, pain, and truth — and break it open so that it can hold all of us.
Our Progress to Date
Fellows at Catalyst Institute
$2.5 million+ raised to support local change-making.
90% of all funds raised locally.
100% of fellowships funded by host contracts and local
Convergent leadership is Lead For America’s central theory of leadership. Inspired by the lives and work of those who have dedicated themselves to service, we developed this model to act as a foundation for everything that we do. Each LFA community member strives to embody convergent leadership: we hold ourselves accountable to what it asks of us, use it to inform strategic decisions, and look to the model to ground our training and learning.
To be a convergent leader is to show that another way of living is possible. Convergent leaders strive to operate at the intersection of foresight, service, innovation, and justice, balancing a rootedness in community with a profound understanding of their own change-making potential. To be a convergent leader is to continuously strive towards this intersection. It is a life commitment.
Deputy Director, Lead For Minnesota
Director of Programs, Lead For Minnesota
Recruitment and Selection Manager, Lead For America