Greenlining’s Leadership Academy trains the next generation of multi-ethnic advocates through leadership development, mentorship, networking, and hands-on policy experience. Below, you will find information about the Academy curriculum from prior years and how it is implemented in the Summer Associate and Fellowship programs.


  • Discover, cultivate, and exercise participants' individual leadership styles
  • Gain hands-on policy experience to strengthen participants' advocacy skills
  • Understand and apply a racial equity framework when advancing policy
  • Build social capital and networks to support professional development

Curriculum Overview

We believe that growth is a cyclical process, and the curriculum’s components are designed to build off each other in a feedback cycle. Skills, leadership abilities, and policy experience do not develop linearly—rather, the program challenges participants to constantly redevelop and refine their abilities by revisiting past learnings as they accumulate new perspectives. Reflection and coaching play integral roles in facilitating this process, as these practices encourage participants to explore their own strengths and opportunities for growth. Each year the program curriculum is subject to change based on each cohort's needs, but we detail our overarching philosophy and examples from previous years below.


Leadership Development

Leadership is a deeply personal process. It starts with exploring one’s identity and personal history, and then progresses outwards into broader social relationships and shared histories, eventually mobilizing a community towards collective social change. We design workshops, discussions, and shared experiences that support the revealing of individual’s unique leadership abilities. Rather than promoting dominant personalities or rote memorization, we draw from critical race theory to explore participant’s identities and channel their lived experiences collective social change efforts. Sessions from previous years include:


  • Discovering leadership styles via True Colors and Strengths Finder
  • Storytelling as an advocacy strategy
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • Meditation, breath work, and stress management
  • Time management and the construction of self, values, and roles

Collective leadership

  • Coaching as a management strategy
  • Empowerment model
  • Building an altar to honor shared histories and stories
  • Collective leadership strategies
  • Self-care and community care

Skill Building

Greenlining views the world through a racial equity perspective, taking into account institutional racism and the current state of communities to inform future policy advocacy efforts. Based on our Racial Equity Toolkit, our approach begins with community engagement and progresses into policy research and advocacy, sustainability, and program evaluation. The Academy trains participants to utilize this model and apply the framework through series of trainings by Greenlining staff and other leaders in the policy field.

Racial Equity Framework

These sessions lay the groundwork for Greenlining’s racial equity model by discussing the structural, institutional, and interpersonal causes of racial inequities. We attempt to answer the questions: How do we apply a racial equity analysis to our policy efforts at different levels? What role does an advocate's personal identity, history, and privilege play in leadership and efficacy? From here, we begin discussions of how advocacy fits into the race equity perspective. Trainings from previous years include:

  • Introduction to Greenlining’s Racial Equity Framework
  • Interpersonal racism and implicit bias
  • Deconstructing interpersonal racism via mindfulness
  • Institutional racism: Introduction and advocacy strategies
  • Structural racism: Introduction and advocacy strategies

Community Engagement

Greenlining’s advocacy starts with engaging the community in order to survey the resources and materials currently available and gather existing information and data about the communities, projects, and stakeholders. Additionally, we invite community members to share their perspectives and expertise. Trainings from previous years include:

  • Relationship building, networking, and coalition building
  • Power mapping the stakeholder landscape
  • Preparing, conducting, and recording interviews and focus groups
  • Meeting facilitation and group dynamics
  • Conducting a community needs assessment
  • Introduction to community organizing

Researching, Creating, and Advocating policy

After gathering information from the community, Greenlining identifies opportunities to strengthen and/or create new policy, and then begins a process of strategizing, developing, and implementing policy and advocacy efforts. These efforts may express themselves in writing, testimonies and presentations, discussions with decision-makers, and several other avenues. Trainings from previous years include:

  • Ins and outs of Sacramento, lobbying, and the legislative processes
  • Research methods and sources
  • How different forms of writing work together to advance policy
  • How to write to persuade the general public
  • How to write a policy brief and technical documents
  • Using social media as an advocacy tool
  • Media spokesperson training
  • Public speaking
  • Negotiations

Examining Sustainability

Policy changes require systems and mechanisms to ensure success and avoid creating further disparities. In this phase, Greenlining considers the political, social, and economic conditions that support or impede the growth and development of the initiative. This includes continued stakeholder input, adequate processes, and funding for implementation and enforcement. Trainings from previous years include:

  • Advanced meeting facilitation for stakeholder input
  • Introduction to public funding, philanthropy, and fundraising
  • Creating a budget and financial plan


This process should consider the outcomes and results, in addition to lessons learned, skills, knowledge, and perspectives developed by the individuals involved in the reflection process. The evaluation process should adapt and adjust to the needs of the project and goals in mind. Trainings from previous years include:

  • Creating metrics of success and data collection mechanisms
  • Demonstrating impact
  • Creating qualitative surveys and feedback forms
  • How to use statistics and data analysis in evaluation reports
  • Facilitating discussions for reflection and dialogue

Policy work

To apply their learnings and gain hands-on policy experience, Academy participant work with Greenlining’s policy teams to help develop, plan, and implement the team’s work. Participants receive mentorship and support directly from their team as they progress through writing memos, briefs, blogs, reports, and other policy advocacy projects. Participants will also have opportunities to grow their social capital and strengthen their advocacy efforts by attending events to meet with decision-makers, community organizers, elected officials, policy experts, and other influencers in their field. Participants also often have opportunities to speak to the news media about policy issues they work on. These opportunities will also offer space to practice their interpersonal skills, such as networking, facilitation, relationship building, public speaking, and persuasion.

Examples of work completed by past participants includes:

Greenlining’s coalition and community partners enhance Academy participants’ experiences by providing access to knowledge, resources, and networks in various sectors and communities.


We have interwoven reflection into the entire Academy program in a way that seeks to drive introspection, honor growth, and locate opportunities for continued strength-building. The process looks like this:

Academy and Cohort Meetings

The Academy staff meet with the cohort to discuss challenges, needs, and identify areas of growth. We ask participants to consider gaps in their knowledge and co-create opportunities for addressing these gaps. Additionally, we encourage participants to reflect on how the may have applied new learnings, or identified opportunities to further apply a racial equity framework.

Academy, Policy Team, and Participant Meetings

Academy staff periodically meet with individual participants and their policy teams to discuss how that participant’s skills are developing in relation to their policy work and identify strengths and opportunities for growth.

1-on-1 Coaching

Coaching is a way of asking open-ended questions to help participants explore challenges they face and discover their own solutions. We believe that participants already contain answers within themselves, and these sessions are intended to reveal rather than prescribe advice for their challenges in policy work, leadership development, skills building, and future career trajectories.