Our Community Leadership Institute is a fellowship program that supports, trains and places emerging leaders from low-income communities and communities of color to sit on local boards and commissions.

Puget Sound Sage advocates for planning and policy that makes racial and social equity a top goal for decision makers at all levels of government. We believe that communities of color in Seattle can prosper in place by harnessing market forces and public investment, with their own vision for growth at the center of local planning.

However, lack of decision-making power and capacity to engage in long-term planning greatly hinders our capacity to influence planning, policy, and transportation in the region. In particular, people of color are under-represented on the boards, commission and advisory bodies that influence major decisions at the local level.

Our Community Leadership Institute is a six-month long fellowship, which trains a cohort of twenty community leaders in housing, land use, transit, climate and economic development policies, laying long-term groundwork for achieving solutions based on community needs. 

Fellows learn how to play the “rules of the game,” including Parliamentary Procedure and municipal budgeting, effectively and ethically, and reflect on the Art of Politics.

Program Success

Following the graduation of our 2015-2016 Community Leadership Institute in March 2016, eight graduates (40%) have earned placement on Seattle/King County boards and commissions including the Seattle Women’s Commission, Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee, and the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

Issue Panel Series

Throughout last year’s program, our fellows came together to learn about topics ranging from land use and planning to climate justice; this equipped them with the tools to engage in decision-making around these issues.

Our evening Issue Panel Series, which were open to the public, proved to be a very successful way of engaging deeply with a topic and connecting emerging leaders with experts.

Stay tuned for upcoming panels.