Over the course of my career, I have both taught and attended more leadership development programs and courses than I can count. While I learned something from just about all of them, only a few of them really stand out in my memory. So, when I joined Leadership Atlanta’s class of 2015, I had positive expectations, but also tempered them with a sense of realism. I expected to learn something, have some valuable networking, and then move on to the next thing.

I did not expect to have a life-changing experience. The 74 people that I spent a year of my life with are some of the most valuable colleagues I’ve ever had. It is not uncommon for every Leadership Atlanta class to refer to itself as the Best Class Ever. (Shout out to BCE 2015!) I think, in our case, we were the most social class ever. We hadn’t even met for the first time when we went ahead and scheduled our first happy hour. Now, seven years after we graduated, we still stay in touch as a class, and celebrate each other’s career and personal milestones.

The mission of Leadership Atlanta is to build a better community for everyone in the Atlanta region through education about the key issues facing the region and inspiring members and others to take on and exercise real leadership committed to serving the common good. That “exercise of real leadership” typically benefits the region’s nonprofit organizations. 

All of us who run nonprofits know that the challenge is deeper than money. The lack of human capital is what frequently prevents us from achieving the organization’s true potential. That’s where Leadership Atlanta can help. Each executive that is admitted to a Leadership Atlanta class has to participate in a service-learning project with a local nonprofit. The Community Leadership Teams are comprised of 10-12 class members who work collaboratively with a nonprofit or community organization over the course of the year. Nonprofits that are chosen to work with Leadership Atlanta essentially get access to a highly qualified, pro bono consulting team that they would normally never be able to afford.

The Leadership Atlanta Class of 2023 has just been named, and this past week the organization issued its annual call for projects. Proposals are due May 15, 2022 via an online submission form. There are some limitations and best practices, so you can register for an online Q&A session prior to applying.

Personally, my Community Leadership Team project, working with the Grady Healthcare Foundation, led me to join their board of visitors, and also led me to change the direction of my nonprofit career. Many nonprofits have found great new volunteers and board members from the alumni who consulted with their organizations. 

All of us at Our Fundraising Search really encourage Atlanta area nonprofits to consider this. Who couldn’t use some free, high-caliber leadership?