Neighborhood Leadership Program

Applications for the 2022-2023 NLP cohort are now CLOSED. Please check back summer of 2023 for next year’s application.

What is the Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP)?

The places where our feet touch the land hold many stories. Through our stories, we name the molecular impact of the current system’s logic (ideas, arrangements and effects) on our mind-bodies, homes, and communities. 

The Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP) is a seven-month program that brings a cohort of 15 people together who are interested in sharing and learning stories of how people engage the tenets of self-awareness, working across differences and value-based action to create new counter-stories (transformation) in the places where they do life. We will spend the next seven months organizing our personal and shared knowledge/stories to clarify the narrative we want to enliven to shape future mindsets, relationships, power dynamic, practices, policies, and resource flow.

NLP Curriculum

Central to the program is telling stories, cultivating new relationships, and exploring ways we can live into the world we know is necessary, possible, and in many small ways, already there.

Participants explore three core tenets throughout the program year:

  • Self-awarenessGrowth
    • Reflect on our relationship to the land we share
    • Learn from Dakota scholars about life before and beyond settlers colonialism
    • Read our birth charts and leverage them as resources for self-exploration
    • Reflect on our leadership style, strengths, and growth edges
    • Reflect on our personal values and motivation for shaping the material conditions of our communities
  • Working effectively across difference
    • Study our relationship to the idea of economy
    • Study the work of people, with different identities, working in collaboration to root localized economic practices that treat humans and nature or social equity and ecological integrity as inseparable
    • Practice co-articulation of vision for our future that is both pro-people and pro-mother earth
  • Value-based action 
    • There is no struggle without study. Carving time, place and space to explore “unthinkable thoughts” is a necessary act. We will do homework (read, listen, watch, reflect, write) and engage in dialogue during sessions to connect the material to our personal reflections of self, our lineages, and sense of purpose
    • At the end of the program, we will share a 15-minute presentation that responds to three questions: What am I learning about myself? What am I learning about where I come from? What am I learning about my place here on this earth? (Thank you for these questions Dr. Asa Hiliard!)

Participant Commitment

  • Overall commitment: Seven mandatory Saturday meetings (totaling 21 hours), 10 optional study group sessions (totaling 20 hours), 1:1 with NLP staff or partner (minimum 2 hours), homework in between sessions (totaling 14 hours), and a storytelling project at the end of the program in response to these three questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? What am I learning about my place here? (Thank you Dr. Asa Hilliard!) 
  • Stipend: Participants are given a $500 stipend to honor their time and commitment to the program. Half the stipend is given at the beginning, and half (prorated based on attendance) is given at the end of the program.

Who should participate in NLP? 

Our program is open to applicants who are both early and seasoned in their leadership journey. At NLP, we are more interested in learning about your passions and commitment to shape change in community than popularity, degrees or accolades. Everyone has something to learn and share from and with one another. 

Applicants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older by September 1st, 2022Reflection
  • Live in the Greater Twin Cities Metro region 
  • Identify as kind and loving
  • Embodies or lives in close proximity and is in right relationship with Black, Indigenous and people of color communities
  • Can attend all required cohort meetings and program-related activities during the extent of the program (students are welcome to apply if they can guarantee their availability the entire program year)  
  • Committed to making positive change in your neighborhood or community

2022-2023 Program Dates: Sessions are from 10:00am-1:00pm with the exception of the first session on October 1st. Participants are required to attend all program sessions.

  • Saturday, October 1st, 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Saturday, November 5th
  • Saturday, December 3rd
  • Saturday, January 3rd
  • Saturday, February 3rd
  • Saturday, March 8th
  • Saturday, April 22nd

Optional gatherings are held on one Thursday evening and/or on Thursday afternoon per month for more gathering time in-between sessions.

*Capacity Acknowledgement

We understand that COVID has been a lot of things for us: stressful, traumatic, isolating, eye-opening, etc. Everyone is experiencing this pandemic in different ways, and NLP staff have worked hard to support cohort members so they can participate at their highest level. That said, this program is completely voluntary and rigorous. None of us can be everywhere all the time, and the collective cohort experience is negatively impacted when cohort members are not present. 

If you are feeling stressed about your current/future workload or work/life balance (spiritual, emotional, mental capacity), if you feel like you may have competing meetings, programs, or other demands during program times – we strongly encourage you to take care of yourself and consider applying for another cohort year. This program will be around next year! It is important for us as facilitators to know that our program participants have not only the passion and willingness to join NLP, but also the time and capacity to fully participate.