Leadership Program

Amplify Your Environmental Advocacy

Lea la versión en español aquí: Español

Want to learn to lead effective environmental advocacy campaigns? Advance initiatives for environmental conservation, justice, and inclusive public process? Better prepare to step into leadership roles at nonprofits, public agencies, and community-based groups? Then consider applying for the Green Foothills Leadership Program.

The Leadership Program combines an eight-month training program with an alumni program that supports graduates. The training is presented in both English and Spanish. Alumni play a role in shaping Green Foothills’ work: informing our advocacy, engaging in local land use issues, and providing valuable perspectives on equitable, inclusive environmental activism.

Since its launch in 2013, the program has trained more than 260 local changemakers. For information, contact [email protected].


Apply for Next Year’s Cohort

Who should apply

The program meets monthly on Saturdays from January through August.

Each year we work to form a 20-25 person cohort that represents the ethnic, geographic, generational, gender, and economic diversity of the region. Applicants should live in or serve San Mateo, Santa Clara, or San Benito County communities.

Accepted applicants are distinguished by their:

  • Commitment to be a more effective agent of change
  • Desire to work toward a vision for the region to be a resilient, equitable place where wildlife thrives, everyone has natural beauty to enjoy, and communities live in balance with nature
  • Desire to explore and address systemic oppression to increase the power of historically disempowered communities

There is a non-refundable $50 application fee to apply to the Leadership Program. This fee can be waived upon request. Tuition is free for participants accepted into the 2024 program thanks to the support of dozens of funders and individual donors.

Applications for the 2025 program will open in August 2024.

Become an advocate for your community.

Donate to support the next generation of local leaders

About the Eight-Month Program

Through eight monthly classes, participants learn to lead effective environmental advocacy campaigns grounded in social justice. As part of the curriculum, participants work in small groups to develop advocacy campaigns to address current, local environmental issues while integrating racial justice as a key component.

Sessions are presented in English, with simultaneous Spanish translation available.

Each Leadership Program graduate can:

  • Advocate more effectively for the natural environment
  • Develop strategies to influence key decision-makers
  • Recognize how bias and systems of oppression play out in local environmental issues
  • Identify the next leadership role they will pursue
  • Articulate their personal mission statement
  • Rely on deep connections and shared experiences they’ve made with their classmates
  • Find support in our robust alumni network of 200+ passionate individuals
  • Participate in special events and workshops for Leadership Program alumni

Sessions are held once a month on Saturdays, starting at 10:00 a.m., from January through August. Online sessions are 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., and in-person sessions are 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Dates for the 2024 program are as follows:

  • January 13, 2024 – in person
  • February 10, 2024 – in person
  • March 9, 2024 – in person
  • April 20, 2024 – online
  • May 11, 2024 – online
  • June 8, 2024 – in person
  • July 13, 2024 – in person
  • August 17, 2024 – in person

Leadership Program scholarships are made possible thanks to Applied Materials Foundation Community Fund, the County of Santa Clara, North Santa Clara Resource Conservation District (NSCRCD), Sand Hill Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Network’s California Wildlife Program, and Green Foothills donors. Please consider making a donation to support the Leadership Program. Green Foothills appreciates every individual, agency, and foundation who makes our work possible and we are proud to recognize every contributor in Our Donor Community.

Ever Rodriguez, a graduate of the Leadership Program

“The Green Foothills Leadership Program increased my advocacy skills and knowledge, making me a stronger champion for my neighborhood, the environment, and climate resilience.”

Ever Rodriguez
Co-founder of the North Fair Oaks Community Alliance and Climate Ready North Fair Oaks, Green Foothills Leadership Program Graduate (2021), Resident of North Fair Oaks


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