Community Leadership Program 

Frequently Asked Questions




1.    What is the time commitment?

The Community Leadership Program is a nine-month program running from August to May. During that time, class members participate in 14 regular partial-day class sessions* as well as day-long sessions including opening retreat, mid-year retreat, and commencement. In addition, all class members are required to participate in a class project, which involves meetings and significant work outside of regular sessions.

*Class format will depend on the status of the pandemic. For 2020-21, we are offering in-person, socially distanced class outside during nice weather and Zoom sessions when it's not possible to safely or comfortably gather. We will monitor status and make decisions accordingly.

2.    What is the attendance policy?

  • Opening Retreat and Graduation are mandatory sessions.
  • Absence from the Mid-Year Retreat counts as two absences.    
  • A class member can miss no more than two classes (total). Class members must make-up both missed classes to graduate.
  • Participants will also be counted absent if they arrive 30 minutes after the class has started or exit 30 minutes prior to the official dismissal.
  • Extreme circumstances can be appealed to the Community Leadership Program Chairs and Executive Director.

3.    What is the dress code?

The dress code for all classes is business casual. Class members will be notified of exceptions.

4.    Who is in the class and how are they selected?

Up to fifty participants are selected for each class*. Selection is made on the basis of individual merit, demonstrated leadership in the community, as well as commitment to being a steward for Greater Des Moines. Selection is highly competitive and many candidates apply more than once.

*Class size may be reduced as a precaution during the pandemic.

5. Are scholarships available?

Yes. No individual will be turned away for an inability to cover the cost of tuition. The Leadership Institute makes available numerous scholarships, including those for non-profits, small businesses, people from underrepresented communities, and more. Please apply for the program and if you are accepted, the scholarship application will be made available.

6.    Who governs the program?

The Community Leadership Program Committee, made up of the Curriculum and Project teams, plan and execute the Community Leadership Program. The Board of Governors, in conjunction with the executive director, oversee the committees and all other aspects of the organization. All committees are made up of alumni volunteers who donate their time to create fulfilling leadership experiences for participants.

7.    Who has graduated from the program?

More than 2,500 leaders have graduated from the Community Leadership Program. Our alumni continue to play important leadership roles in more than 280 community organizations in Greater Des Moines. 

8.    What can I expect upon graduation?

The Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute experience doesn't end with graduation from the Community Leadership Program. In fact, it is only the beginning! The Leadership Institute is a lifelong association of community-oriented professionals who seek to make Greater Des Moines a better place. Alumni continue to support the Leadership Institute through board service, committees, mentoring, alumni programming, financial support, and by taking on important leadership roles in our community.

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