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Illinois – Leading with Equity

Emerging leaders Fellowship

Alternatives is excited to launch the Emerging Leaders Fellowship (ELF) statewide throughout all of Illinois! We have been running this fellowship internally since 2022 and externally in the Chicagoland area since 2024. We are finding that there is a great need for and interest in anti-racist practices in the nonprofit sector.


This fellowship is designed to be a nonprofit leadership development program that trains future leaders for the next step in their nonprofit career through an Anti-Racism lens. This program aims to prepare the next generation of nonprofit leaders, particularly those of color, to have the skills needed to transition to executive and director level positions one day. Exposing them to the issues, projects, and conversations at the Executive or Director level provides them a safe space to make mistakes and be supported. We hope to develop and prepare future leaders to be decision-makers rooted in their values and in anti-racism.

Please note, if you are in the Chicagoland area and are interested in this fellowship, our Chicago based fellowship will be launching later this year!

2024 IL ELF Cohort:


Who should apply?

Alternatives’ IL ELF program is intended for folx in Illinois who:

  • Currently work in the nonprofit sector and to grow in your nonprofit career
  • Want to eventually be a nonprofit Director or in Executive leadership.
  • Executive Directors who want to learn how to integrate anti-racist policies into their organization.

Trainings Overview

Through this fellowship, you will gain a deeper understanding of the following topics through an Anti-Racism lens:

  • Nonprofit Overview
  • Nonprofit Industrial Complex
  • Finance & Budgeting
  • Program Planning & Development
  • Development & Marketing
  • Recruitment & Hiring
  • Management & Supervision
  • Employee Accountability
  • Organizational Policies

Fellowship Dates

Trainings will be a combination of virtual and in person. In person locations will rotate throughout regions in Illinois.

  • In Person Retreat Day 1 – September 26, 2024
  • In Person Retreat Day 2 – September 27, 2024
  • Virtual – November 1, 2024
  • Virtual – November 15, 2024
  • In Person – January 17, 2025
  • Virtual – February 21, 2025
  • Virtual – March 21, 2025
  • Virtual – April 18, 2025
  • In Person – May 16, 2025


By Organization Budget Size:

  • $15 mil – $10,000
  • $10 mil – $7,500
  • $5 mil – $5,000
  • $3 mil – $2,000
  • $1.5 mil – $1,000

Full and partial scholarships available as needed.


For those interested in applying for this 2024-2025 cohort, please fill out the form below. Be prepared to upload your resume and a letter of recommendation from a nonprofit professional and/or from your employer.


Applications Due by June 14th, 2024.

For any questions, please contact

Why this is important to Alternatives

In the nonprofit sector, most nonprofit executives and leadership are white. Only 8% of nonprofit leaders are Black, and only 10% of Executive Directors are Latinx. There is a massive discrepancy in nonprofit leadership due to systemic and institutional racism. Often, when Black and Brown folx make it to Executive and Director leadership, they burn out quickly because so much of what they’re dealing with at that leadership level is new. Many of the topics the Alternatives Leadership Pipeline Fellowship covers and aims to expose the inner workings of a nonprofit to people who don’t have access to it outside of specialized educational and employment programs.It is essential to open doors and bring people to the table with us, especially people of color; there is room for all of us in nonprofit leadership.


“I really appreciated the equity focus because I've been trying to learn about ways to lead in a way that matches my values”

– 2024 Chicago ELF Fellow

“It feels good to be in a space where we don’t always have to have the right answers and we can learn from the collective expertise in the room”

– 2024 Chicago ELF Fellow

“I want to use the information I’ve learned to develop myself and become a better leader. I also want to pass down the information I’ve learned to new people who join my team.”

“A lot of times people of color are not in spaces where we are allowed to learn without harsh consequences, so it’s really nice to be able to practice things that you’re expected to do in leadership without the consequence of getting it wrong. Instead we have the space to get feedback and actually learn”

“I like the environment. We are able to get so much professional information, but it’s not an intimidating or intense environment.”

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If you'd like to learn more about the fellowship and how to apply, sign up for one of our info sessions!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 4:30 PM

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 4:30 PM