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Benya Beacom

2023-2024 UChicago Obama Scholars


Co-Founder and Vice President of Civic Ventures, Lead For America


Waseca, MN



Building economic prosperity in rural and emerging cities through national service.

Benya Beacom is a social entrepreneur with a passion for community development and revitalization. As the co-founder and vice president of Civic Ventures at Lead For America, she helped build a national nonprofit dedicated to addressing brain drain in rural America by recruiting, training, and placing intergenerational leaders into service fellowships in emerging communities. Benya’s dedication to her home state led her to found and direct Lead For Minnesota, where she has overseen 30 fellows across 30 rural and tribal communities in Minnesota and over 300 nationwide since 2019. Through the Scholars program, Benya seeks to explore cross-sector approaches to fostering social trust, a common civic language, and a shared sense of responsibility in local communities.

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The Barack Obama Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN 46-4950751).

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