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New Leaders Council Offers Connections, Training to Columbus Progressives

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega New Leaders Council Offers Connections, Training to Columbus ProgressivesNLC - Columbus' 2019 class.
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The New Leaders Council’s (NLC) Columbus chapter, which launched in 2017, is about to start recruiting for its second full institute. A nationwide organization with 50 chapters in red and blue states, NLC connects young progressives with resources and connections that enable them to affect public policy, fundraise for political candidates, or even run for office themselves.

“NLC is one of the spaces in Columbus that forms progressive community in an intentional way, with not only just an emphasis on gaining new skills, but in supporting one another in whatever you want to do,” says soon-to-be graduate Zak Davidson. “There are folks from our class who want to start a small business, want to run for office, their interests run the gamut.”

Unlike many one-week progressive boot camps, NLC’s institute has its roughly 25 fellows meet for a weekend once a month for six months for an intensive training on policy, fundraising, campaigning, and communication. For each session, an expert within the community will lend personal experience to the training. For one weekend, Councilmember Elizabeth Brown paid a visit; for another, leaders from grassroots organization People’s Justice Project. Erin Upchurch, from Kaleidoscope Youth Center, attended a session to discuss nonprofit work.

Monthly meetings typically take place at public libraries, and they move to different parts of the city each month.

“It’s a great opportunity for folks who aren’t as familiar with Columbus neighborhoods to really get exposure to how the community works, the vibe of the community, the people in the community, and the spaces that truly own the bettering of that community,” says Priyam Chokshi, another soon-to-be graduate.

Among many NLC fellows, a common sentiment was that, on top of the skill set gained through participating in the institute, it also provides connections with individuals and the community that extend beyond the six-month course.

Ryan Jolley, a mayoral candidate for the city of Gahanna, graduated from NLC’s last cohort, and many current NLC fellows are working on his campaign (though not directly through NLC, which doesn’t endorse specific political candidates).

“He went through the program, and now we’re having the opportunity to get experience in what a campaign is like, so it’s expanding the opportunities outside of the network as well,” says Davidson.

Those connections extend even beyond the state of Ohio, as each year the national NLC holds a conference during which each chapter’s fellows can exchange information and best practices.

NLC’s Columbus chapter is currently fundraising for next year as part of their pay-it-forward model intended to eliminate financial barriers to joining. They’ll host an event next Tuesday, June 18 at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, 215 N. Fourth St. from 6 to 8 p.m. The ticketed event will include a short program, opportunities to hear from the 2019 fellows, and allow those interested in joining the next cohort to learn more.

For more information, visit the event page.

To reserve your ticket, click here.

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