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Obama Foundation Opens Applications for New Round of Community Leadership Corps Program in Chicago, IL and Hartford, CT for Young Leaders to Tackle Local Issues

February 28, 2019 at 11:00 AM CST

The Community Leadership Corps kicked off last year with pilot training programs in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Columbia, South Carolina

Program aims to empower rising leaders ages 18-25 to identify and tackle issues in their communities

CHICAGO, IL—The Obama Foundation today announced that it is seeking hundreds of young people in Chicago, Illinois, and Hartford, Connecticut, to participate in the Foundation’s community engagement training known as the Community Leadership Corps. The program is designed to inspire, empower, and connect young leaders ages 18-25 who want to tackle the problems and opportunities in their communities. Specifically, the Obama Foundation is looking for individuals who want to gain more leadership skills so they can make a positive difference in their neighborhoods and cities.

The program offers 100 young people in each city a powerful set of resources designed to increase their leadership skills, strengthen their relationships with other organizations and people in their community, and take action to advance an issue they care about. Community Leadership Corps members will gain valuable skills in community organizing, design thinking, and project management.

This six-month program will kick off this summer in Chicago, Illinois and Hartford, Connecticut. The program will include three in-person trainings in each city, online trainings in-between, as well as ongoing coaching support. The program will include:

  • An introductory kickoff in June at which 100 young people from each city will form teams to design and implement community projects. They will take part in training activities designed to encourage self-reflection and build a basic organizing framework. After the kickoff event, these young leaders will start having one-on-ones with community members to better understand their perspectives and receive feedback on their community projects.

  • A bootcamp training in August at which the Community Leadership Corps project teams will receive feedback on their plans, get trained on the specific skills needed to implement their action items, and identify the resources needed to support their work.

  • A Capstone in October and November, where Community Leadership Corps members will reflect and share challenges, failures, and successes with each other as well as plan how to continue their leadership journeys.

  • Throughout the program teams will work in their communities to implement the project they have designed. The Foundation will continue to support Community Leadership Corps members with online learning and check-ins with local coaches on their project implementation.

“We know our young people are eager to make a difference in their communities, so the Community Leadership Corps aims to give them skills to take their passion and put it into action,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “Building on the successes of last year’s program, we’re excited to introduce the Community Leadership Corps to Hartford -- as well as bring together a new crop of leaders in Chicago. In doing so, we’ll help young leaders acquire the skills they need to tackle the issues in their communities.”

The application for Community Leadership Corps in Chicago and Hartford can be found HERE. The application will close on March 24, 2019 at 11:59pm CT.

More information about the 2019 program, as well as information about last year’s program, can be found at


Contact: Sam Michel, [email protected]