Leaders of Color

The Leaders of Color Fellowship (LOC) is a different kind of leadership program.  While we’ve borrowed best practices and ideas from some of the most innovative leadership programs across the country, LOC was born here in Washtenaw and was co-created with some of the same people we hope to serve.  In LOC, we’re bringing together a diverse cohort of people of color, dedicated to advancing racial equity, to champion change in the county. By the end of the fellowship, we hope to:

  • Build tighter bonds between leaders of color in Washtenaw
  • Increase representation of people of color in leadership positions in across the county
  • Launch Fellow-led projects that actively advance racial equity in the county

We plan to make that happen by:

  • Building up the skills that support leaders of color in becoming better champions for social justice
  • Leaning on the knowledge and expertise our Fellows bring to the cohort
  • Emboldening leaders of color as changemakers by offering culturally relevant content and resources

Understanding that the change we want can’t be carried on our backs alone, Leaders of Color Fellows will also connect with colleagues in the Allies Academy  – the other arm of NEW’s Champions for Change program.  Through equity dinners, classroom sessions and other activities, members of both cohorts will be able to support each other in this journey and build more robust networks to call upon in affecting change and advancing racial equity in the county.


We are currently not accepting applications for the Leaders of Color Fellowships. Please sign up for the mailing list to stay informed on the launching of the next round. Thanks for your interest.

Any self-identifying person of color, 18 years or older, living or working in Washtenaw County, who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing racial equity or social justice is encouraged to apply.
To make sure that we meet our overall goal of getting more diverse representation in leadership, we need our cohort to be as diverse as possible, too.  We need you, the whole you, to make this program work and make our vision a reality. Know that when you apply, we’ll honor all the different things that make you who you are, including:
  • Age
  • Class / Economic Situation
  • Education
  • Experience (new leader vs. established leader)
  • Gender (identity and expression included)
  • Physical ability
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Work – sector and industry
The most important thing is your commitment to advancing racial justice in Washtenaw County.  We’ve designed the program to be applicable to folks working in different areas – government , education, health, etc. As long as you’re ready to be a Champion for Change, this program is for you.

The Leaders of Color Fellowship (LOC) is a six-month long intensive leadership development program for Black, brown and other people of color looking to advance racial equity in Washtenaw County. The program runs from September 2019 until March 2020, beginning with a weekend-long retreat in Idlewild, Michigan, a community known across the world as a resort town for African Americans in early 20th century.  After the retreat, fellows can look forward to getting together on one Friday evening and all-day Saturday each month until February. On Friday evenings, fellows will get to eat dinner with the larger Washtenaw community involved in equity work, including the folks from the Allies Academy. Saturdays will be all-day learning intensives, each one looking different depending on the subject of the session. Throughout the LOC experience, fellows will be asked to create or expand upon a project to advance racial equity in Washtenaw County. At the end of February, fellows will present the projects they’ve been working on to the larger community.  Then, we’ll wrap the whole thing up with a celebration of all our hard work!

Knowing that large-scale change doesn’t happen overnight, we’ll also be asking LOC fellows to re-engage with us 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months after the program ends.  This will help us continue to foster a strong network among Washtenaw’s leaders of color, learn how we can continue to support the efforts of our alumni fellows, and continue to improve upon the LOC fellowship for future cohorts.

Here are the dates you’ll want to know:
  • Monday, June 17th –  Application Opens
  • Friday, July 12th – Application Closes
  • Friday, July 19th – Participant Announcements
  • Saturday, August 24th – Orientation for Fellows
  • Friday, September 13th through Sunday, September 15th – Idlewild Retreat/Session 1
  • Friday, October 25th – Community Orientation & Dinner
  • Saturday, October 26th, 9am-4pm – Session 2: Healing Our Past, Imagining Our Future
  • Friday, November 15th – Community Dinner
  • Saturday, November 16th, 9am-4pm – Session 3: Our Fates Are Tied to One Another
  • Friday, December 13th – Community Dinner
  • Saturday, December 14th, 9am-4pm – Session 4: If Not You, Who?
  • Friday, January 24th – Community Dinner
  • Saturday, January 25th, 9am-4pm – Session 5: Catalysts for Change
  • Friday, February 21st – Community Dinner
  • Saturday, February 22nd, 9am-4pm – Session 6: Changing the Face of Power & Celebration
  • Saturday, May 30th – 3-Month Check-In

Each session has been designed to honor the experiences of our fellows, provide them with the opportunity to share and teach, and to co-determine how we spend our time together.  We promised a different kind of leadership program, and we plan to deliver

Nothing to you. The Washtenaw Coordinated Funders have completely underwritten the program which if not covered, would cost $7,000 per participant. So even though you don’t have to pay, Fellows should plan to attend every session and engage fully. Once selected, participation  is not optional.
We want this program to be as accessible and inclusive as possible.  You belong here. So not only is there no participation fee, we’ll also have some ability to assist with support needs like childcare and travel expenses. We want you here!

This is our first year doing the Champions for Change program, so we’re being intentional about how we launch and how we grow. This first cohort will be small – only about 18 people, so we can focus on making sure we nail the program.  Don’t worry, though! Community Dinners will be a chance for us to stay connected to the larger communities the Fellows represent. Our hope is that the community takes hold of Leaders of Color and helps us create something special and unique; a space of building and belonging!

The other thing we want you to know is that we want to see you leading in this county, so be sure to let us know where your leadership interests lie.  Our hope is to create a space that fosters both intentional and organic connections through fellowship and community engagement efforts. Together, we’ll expand the opportunity and restore the balance of power in our neighborhoods and community.  We are who we’ve been waiting for!

Nonprofit Enterprise at Work is pleased to be funded  by the Washtenaw Coordinated Funders, a collaboration of Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, and Washtenaw Urban County (represented by the Office of Community & Economic Development), United Way of Washtenaw County, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.