Allies Academy

The Allies Academy is a cohort-based leadership development program that equips mid and senior-level leaders in the nonprofit, for profit, government, and educational sectors with the skills to lead equity-focused change initiatives within their organizations.

Over the course of seven three-hour virtual sessions, participants will build the skills to be equity leaders in their organizations, such as:

  • technical skills of equity-focused communication, assessment, public engagement, and HR
  • emotional skills of courage, resilience, and compassion to keep them in game
  • network of others in the region so they know they are not alone and have peers they can turn to for mutual support.

A core part of the Allies Academy curriculum will involve joint sessions with the Leaders of Color fellows, with additional opportunities to engage with the broader community around racial justice, allowing participants in both cohorts to support each other and build a robust and diverse network of equity leaders.

Applications for the 2020-2021 Allies Academy program will open in mid-July. Please sign-up for our mailing list to stay informed about the launching of the next cohort. Thanks for your interest.

Allies Academy is open to individuals in nonprofit, for-profit, educational and government organizations with operations in Washtenaw County. Please check back in mid-July 2020 for up-to-date information on the cost of this program.

Please check back in mid-July 2020 for an up-to-date schedule of programming.

Leaders of color and white leaders face different needs in advancing equity, both in terms of academic content and social/emotional engagement.

Often the ways that implicit bias, homogenous peer networks, and other dynamics of structural racism operate are invisible to white individuals, but painfully clear to people of color. Therefore, equity-focused leadership development for white leaders requires a greater focus on providing narrative of the effects of structural racism and the analytical frameworks to make sense of the lived experiences of people of color.
Conversely, the pain and devaluing of the experiences of people of color requires that leadership development for the Fellowship component include significant investment in healing and honoring the “wisdom in the room” that is born of lifetimes of navigating racial harm. It is important to create a safe environment for this healing where leaders of color can share honestly without needing to edit their remarks for the sake of white participants.
The two-track approach of the Champions for Change program is designed to meet the educational and emotional needs of both groups while also weaving together interaction opportunities between members of both cohorts so that they can share learnings, expand networks, and create a robust coalition for change in Washtenaw County.

To qualify for the scholarship, your organization must:

  • Have a location in Washtenaw County
  • Have a community benefit mission. This could include organizations with the following missions:
    • Providing relief to the poor
    • Advancing education
    • Improving social welfare
    • Preserving culture
    • Preserving or restoring the environment
    • Promoting human rights
    • Establishment of civil society
  • The following organization are ineligible for scholarships, but may apply for the Academy:
    • Healthcare organizations, including hospitals, healthcare networks, health plans, ambulatory healthcare services, home healthcare and assisted living healthcare organizations, health research organizations, pregnancy centers, and laboratories. Exceptions include independent nonprofit organizations with the following missions: community, behavioral and women’s health clinics; hospices; emergency services; and blood, tissue and organ banks.
    • Professional, commerce, and trade associations.
    • Professional and semiprofessional sports organizations.
    • Political, religious, labor, and fraternal organizations.
    • Organizations with a  policy or mission of discrimination in hiring, compensation, promotion, termination, retirement, training, programs, and/or services based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, political affiliation, union membership, or veteran status.

The Allies Academy is designed for participants with formal leadership roles within their organization. Formal leadership is defined as the ability to make policy, hiring, or operational decisions that affect the organization beyond your role as an individual contributor. For organizations this can include board leadership as well as staff.

Yes, the Academy is open to people of all racial identities. The Allies Academy curriculum is designed to meet the learning needs of white participants for whom they ways that race affects them is less visible than for people of color.

Please check back in mid-July 2020 for an up-to-date outline of the Allies Academy curriculum.
  • LIBERATION – We collectively fight for the freedom of all people to live into their fullest potential.
  • COURAGE – We hold a brave space for community building, self-actualization and courageous acts.
  • LOVE & JOY – We embrace both as daily revolutionary acts.
  • EXCELLENCE – Our collective roots and our rich history are springboards to achieving excellence in our work and communities. We practice this daily.
  • MASTERY – Embodying courage, compassion, rigor, resilience and agility is at the center of all we do.
  • LEADERSHIP – has many definitions and a single calling. We nurture those who answer the call.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY – We will build accountability processes and authentic relationships to ensure our work meets the needs and honors the experiences of those most harmed by racism.