Applications Open for the Class of 2020 Women of Color LeadStrong Fellowship 

I have grown immensely as a result of the LeaderSpring Fellowship. I now have greater clarity on the kind of leader that I am, and what’s necessary for me personally to thrive in a particular work culture. LeaderSpring is a tough act to follow. I don’t believe I’ll ever attend another program with such superior programming and content, and where I’m taken care of so well. Thank you for the privilege.
— Michele Davenport, East Bay Class of 2010, former Executive Director of East Bay College Fund

LeaderSpring Center is recruiting for its newest leadership cohort - the Women of Color LeadStrong Fellowship!

We are recruiting women of color who are social justice change-agents in leadership positions* within social sector organizations in San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa County. We are committed to creating a dynamically diverse cohort and encourage your application.

*Leadership includes those with decision-making authority and/or on decision-making leadership teams that impact organization and program policy, and direction.

Information Sessions

Join us for an opportunity to learn more about LeaderSpring Center and the Women of Color LeadStrong Fellowship. This will be a chance to meet our team, hear from alumni/Fellows about their experiences and ask any questions about applying. 

Please RSVP for an information session through the respective Eventbrite pages. Information sessions are not mandatory but applicants will be given priority review of their application if they attend an information session. Make sure to complete an interest form before attending an information session!

Please complete an interest form to get started!

A member from our team will contact you after submitting an interest form.

Ready to apply?

Complete your application as soon as possible. Download the LeadStrong Fellowship Commitment Form to accompany your application. 

Please contact Molly Linares, Program Assistant, at if you have any additional questions.

Deadline to apply is August 17, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the Women of Color LeadStrong Fellowship only for executive directors?

No. The Fellowship is designed to serve a diverse community of women of color in senior leadership positions within social sector organizations. Leadership includes those with decision-making authority and/or on decision-making leadership teams that impact organization and program policies, and direction.


2. What are the Women of Color LeadStrong Class of 2020 Fellowship eligibility criteria?

The WOC LeadStrong Class of 2020 successful applicants will:

  • Work as a paid, full-time staff.

  • Have at least 18 months leadership experience at their current organization.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to participating in the WOC LeadStrong Fellowship, including: monthly day-long gatherings (“Leaders Circles”), a multi-day customized study trip, and three retreats, along with periodic assignments to ground the learnings in the fellow’s work and life.

  • Demonstrate a deep commitment to self-reflection, self-analysis, self-correction and to developing as a leader and advocate through inner work.

  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to serving as a conduit of learning for peers in the fellowship and for their own organization.

  • Have the written support of their board chair and Executive Director (if applicable) to participate in the Fellowship.

  • Have an Executive Committee of the board who is able to attend at least one day-long workshop on board governance.

  • Be able to fully participate in a three day opening retreat from January 16 - 18, 2019.

  • Be able to attend monthly day-long gatherings on the last Thursday of every month (with exceptions due to holidays; Leaders Circles are not held in August or December).

  • Be the only leader from their organization.

  • Be serving at an organization that has not participated in a LeaderSpring Center Fellowship in the past 6 years.

Their organization will:

  • Be located in San Francisco or the East Bay.

  • Function as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization or operate under a fiscal sponsor.

  • Primarily serve low-income communities.

  • Promote healthy, livable, and just communities by providing direct services, engaging in community mobilization, and/or advocacy.

  • Have successfully progressed beyond the organizational start-up phase (has a minimum of three paid staff members and a budget of between $200,000 and $10 million).

  • Have a board or advisory council that meets regularly.

Applicants will be screened for eligibility and considered on a case-to-case basis. Please complete an Interest Form and a staff member will follow up with you on eligibility.


3. How are Fellows selected?

Applications are reviewed by LeaderSpring Center's staff, sometimes with the help of our Leadership Council and Alumni, and selected interviews are held.  Fellows are chosen based on their applications and interviews.


4. What is the time commitment?

Being a WOC LeadStrong Fellow is a significant time commitment. Fellows are expected to take part in all components of the Fellowship. The main time commitments include, but are not limited to:

  • Leaders Circles: Small group meetings that take place for a full day on the last Thursday of each month throughout the two-year fellowship. Leaders Circles will take place in San Francisco and the East Bay and generally rotate among Fellows' organizations.

  • Site Visit: Host LeaderSpring at your agency for a half day of observation (this should include a staff meeting, Board meeting and/or program activity of which I am directly responsible).

  • Individualized Study Trip: A multi-day trip that is generally taken in the second year of the fellowship.

  • Executive Coaching: coaching support over a five to six-month period (unless already working with a coach).

  • Retreats: Three day retreats that will take place three times during the two-year fellowship.

  • Annual Event and Graduation: Celebratory events held at the beginning and end of the two-year fellowship.

  • Special Events: Other events throughout the fellowship, such as LeaderSpring Alumni gatherings.

  • Periodic Assignments: Periodic tasks, such as setting goals, throughout the fellowship to ground Fellows' learning in their own organizations and lives.


5. What are study trips and how are they set up?

The purpose of the study trip is to further the Fellow's self-directed learning goals through a peer-to-peer exchange with other leaders of nonprofit organizations; provide the Fellow with a period of reflection and renewal away from day-to-day job pressures; and foster the development of a broad national and international network of nonprofit community leaders.

Study trips are multi-day trips that Fellows take to help them build their leadership capacity and the capacity of their organizations and local communities. These trips are often spent observing and participating in the life of a mentor agency leader that has been matched to each individual Fellow. Fellows arrange their own travel and lodging and are reimbursed for expenses within a set travel budget, paid for by LeaderSpring Center.


6. What is executive coaching?

We believe one of our coaches, Ray Pifferrer, describes it best. Listen to his description below:








7. What is the cost of the Fellowship for the WOC LeadStrong Class of 2020?

The cost of the Fellowship is based on a sliding scale, as follows:

Budget: $200,000 to $499,999:            $430 per year ($860 for Fellowship)

Budget: $500,000 to $999,999:            $900 per year ($1,800 for Fellowship)

Budget: $1,000,000 to $3,999,999:      $1,300 per year ($2,600 for Fellowship)

Budget: $4,000,000 to $9,999,999:      $1,750 per year ($3,500 for Fellowship)

Budget: Greater than $10,000,000:      $2,500 per year ($5,000 for Fellowship)

Fellowships are valued at $30,000, and costs are highly subsidized thanks to LeaderSpring Center's philanthropic supporters.


8. What are the application fees?

Agency budget less than $499,999:                                   $45 processing fee

Agency budget between $500,000 and $999,999:            $55 processing fee

Agency budget between $1,000,000 and $3,999,999:      $65 processing fee

Agency budget $4,000,000 and over:                                 $75 processing fee

To submit payment for application fee, please send a check to:

LeaderSpring Center

Attn: Molly Linares

672-13th Street, Suite 100

Oakland, CA 94612

Make payments payable to: LeaderSpring, a Project of the Tides Center