Leadership Program

Amplify Your Environmental Advocacy

The Green Foothills Leadership Program consists of a training program and its associated alumni program. The Leadership Program convenes, trains and invests in local community leaders while they complete the 8-month training and beyond.

Alumni are supported in their advancement into leadership roles at nonprofits, public agencies, companies, and community-based groups where they advance initiatives for environmental conservation, justice, and inclusive public process. Green Foothills stays connected with and supports alumni through their community change work. Alumni play an important 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 the Leadership Program was launched in 2013, it has trained more than 200 local changemakers who are making a difference every day in our community. Applications for this annual program open in late summer, and the program starts in January. For information, contact [email protected].

Donate to support the next generation of local leaders

Apply for Next Year’s Cohort

Who should apply

The deadline to apply for the 2023 program year has now passed. Applications for the 2024 program year will open in August 2023. The program begins in January. See below for program dates.

Our goal each year is to form a cohort of 20-25 people who represent the ethnic, geographic, generational, gender, and economic diversity of the region and live in or serve San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Benito Counties’ communities.

Accepted applicants are distinguished by their

  • Commitment to be a more effective agent of change
  • Desire to work across sectors 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 communities who historically have been disempowered

Become an advocate for your community.

About the 8-Month Program

During the cohort-based program, participants learn how to lead effective environmental advocacy campaigns that are grounded in social justice. As part of the curriculum, participants work in small groups to develop advocacy campaigns that address current, local environmental issues while integrating racial justice as a key component. After graduation, Green Foothills is committed to resourcing and helping to bring to life the capstone project through offerings of strategic advice, partnership-building support, fundraising, and advocacy.

People who graduate from the Leadership Program will be able to:

  • Articulate their personal mission statement
  • Identify the next leadership role they will pursue
  • Hold a rich connection and shared experience with a cohort of changemakers
  • More effectively advocate for the natural environment
  • Develop a strategy based on power mapping to influence key decision makers
  • Recognize how bias and systems of oppression play out in local environmental issues
  • Participate in annual Leadership Program events
  • Find support in a robust alumni network of 200+ passionate individuals

The 2023 cohort will meet once a month on the following Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Some sessions will be held online, where others will take place in person in an outdoor setting. Locations to be announced.

  • Saturday, January 7, 2023
  • Saturday, February 4, 2023
  • Saturday, March 4, 2023
  • Saturday, April 1, 2023
  • Saturday, May 6, 2023
  • Saturday, June 3, 2023
  • Saturday, July 8, 2023
  • Saturday, August 12, 2023


To ensure everyone can participate no matter their financial means, we offer significantly reduced tuition starting at $100. Requesting a scholarship has no impact on your acceptance to the program and most participants receive a scholarship. Payment plans are also available upon request.

Leadership Program scholarships are made possible thanks to Adobe, Applied Materials Foundation Community Fund, the County of Santa Clara, Knight Foundation, San Mateo County Health, Sand Hill Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Guadalupe Coyote Resource Conservation District, 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 R.

Participant Reviews

“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
Donor since 2021, 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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