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Jennifer M. Rutledge with A. Brian Leander, PhD, of Adelphi's Leading in Community program

In the inaugural Anthem Awards, the Rise Academy for Leaders of Color took home a national gold in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Learn why our partnership and its groundbreaking program were selected from 2,500 entries from 36 countries.

Rise Academy for Leaders of Color, a new program cocreated by Adelphi’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership, is rising fast—and gaining global recognition.

Launched only in the past year, the program received two of the inaugural Anthem Awards in February 2022, winning honors for diversity, equity and inclusion programs in the community engagement and partnerships categories. The academy’s submission was one of nearly 2,500 received from 36 countries around the world.

“This award brings Adelphi into the conversation about how institutions of higher education can support the development of nonprofit leaders through educational and nondegree programs,” said A. Brian Leander, PhD, director of training and organization development at Adelphi, who created the Center for Nonprofit Leadership’s Leading in Community (LIC) certificate program. “It certainly demonstrates a commitment on the part of the University to supporting its communities.”

Offered by the New York City nonprofit Youth INC, Rise Academy is built around the Center for Nonprofit Leadership’s Leading in Community program, which has been preparing people of color for leadership roles in communities and nonprofit organizations since 2014.

The 10 participants in Rise Academy’s immersive 15-month experience take the three LIC learning modules—personal leadership development, nonprofit management and community leadership—and complete a capstone project developing a strategic change initiative for their organizations. All are facilitated by an LIC instructor. Rise Academy also provides mentoring, executive coaching for participants, and organizational-development coaching for participants’ organizations geared to promoting equity and support for leaders of color.

After completing the program and receiving a certificate in organizational and community leadership from Adelphi, Rise Academy participants enjoy continued collaboration and support as members of the LIC alumni network of close to 100 nonprofit leaders.

“The Adelphi staff are not only committed to making sure our program runs well— they’re committed to helping those in the program discover what it means to be a leader for themselves,” said Tracie Gilstrap, director of partner network engagement at Youth INC. “I’m just proud to work with them and happy to be in partnership with Adelphi for this program.”

“Leading in Community alumni have moved into senior-level positions and executive director positions; they’ve become leaders in their professional associations,” said Jennifer Rutledge, LIC program coordinator and principal, Delphi Consultants, Inc. “Some have started nonprofits and several have risen to such heights in their organizations that they are now financially sponsoring the next generation of leaders to go through Leading in Community. It’s amazing.”

Together, Youth INC and the Center for Nonprofit Leadership are raising the bar for how universities and supporting organizations can support emerging leaders of color to help make the nonprofit sector more equitable and inclusive.

“Rise Academy opens the door for more initiatives like this,” said Dr. Leander. “It’s a model that can be replicated across the country in partnership with other universities because the need for leadership development is everywhere. And Adelphi can become that model.”

Todd Wilson
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