Coro Southern California’s Neighborhood Leaders Program: Cultivating Leaders to Empower Communities

Coro’s Neighborhood Leaders Program (NLP) trains emerging leaders from South LA in civic leadership and public affairs, preparing them to enact meaningful change within their communities.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Coro’s Neighborhood Leaders Program (NLP) is a nine-month, part-time program that provides a cohort of 25 emerging leaders from South LA with leadership training to solve complex challenges in their community, effectuate lasting change, and activate thousands of other community members to do the same. NLP cultivates South LA leaders through a cross-sectoral skill-building immersion, equipping participants with the skills, knowledge, and networks to enact impactful change in their communities.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your activation impact?​

Government responsiveness to residents’ needs

Participation in neighborhood councils

Rates of volunteerism

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

South LA

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Advocate for policy

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Increase participation in political processes

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to CONNECT?​

Coro’s mission is to strengthen the democratic process by preparing emerging leaders for effective and ethical leadership in public affairs. For over 60 years, Coro Southern California has used the city as its classroom to teach rising leaders from across sectors how Southern California works so they can make it better. Today, Coro’s multiple leadership development programs continue to strengthen the region’s leadership pipeline by cultivating a community of alumni who are shaping the future of Los Angeles.

NLP will bring Coro’s proven training methodology to South LA community leaders and equip them with the skills they need to understand complex policy issues and effectively enact impactful change in their communities. Program participants will also gain an in-depth understanding of city and county government, political campaigns, and large-scale community organizing efforts.

Through the program components outlined below, participants will gain the knowledge, skills and network to directly impact three metrics outlined under LA2050’s CONNECT goal: (1) government responsiveness to residents’ needs; (2) increased participation in neighborhood councils; (3) and increased rates of volunteerism.

1) Interviews: Through inquiry-based exploration, NLP participants will interview leaders across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in South LA, helping participants to build key relationships and expand their social capital, learn important subject matter from experts, and build strategies to advocate for their communities.

2) Issue Days: Each cohort will travel the region to explore policy issues and complex community challenges. Participants will come away with in-depth knowledge of the issues persistent in their neighborhoods, and the resolve to enact change.

3) Group Projects: NLP cohorts will engage in group projects, immediately applying the program tools and knowledge gained to navigating complex challenges with high levels of ambiguity. This includes a Neighborhood Logic Study, where the cohort will collectively study and present on the “logic” of their community.

4) Seminar Training: Participants will engage in leadership development, reflective practice, and hard skills training through a variety of analytical tools and frameworks used to train civic leaders for over 60 years.

5) Community Change Projects: NLP participants will apply their program learnings and newly expanded networks to launch community change projects addressing the salient challenges they’ve identified and explored throughout their experience.

NLP’s core goal is to connect community leaders in South LA to each other and to the civic network in the region. Through this cohort-based, experiential learning, participants will not only be more inclined to run for Neighborhood Council seats, engage their elected officials to respond to their needs, and increase the rate of volunteerism; they will have the skills to activate and guide thousands more to do the same.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to CONNECT​

NLP will help current and emerging local community leaders from underserved communities in South LA to develop stronger civic leadership skills that enable them to be more effective leaders within their communities and our city. Through Coro’s proven methodology of cross-sectoral, inquiry-based, experiential learning, participants are given the skills, resolve, and networks to champion meaningful change in South LA and activate thousands of other community members to do the same. Participants will be those who reside and/or work in South LA, age 18 or older, who currently volunteer to support an organization or institution within their community. Examples include school PTAs, faith-based organizations, neighborhood councils, or local non-profits.

NLP will involve leadership development seminars each month exploring topics such as community asset mapping, effective inquiry, and reflective practice. Seminars will be coupled with one-day issue explorations each month: a deep dive inquiry-based investigation into the challenges most prevalent in South LA. These Issue Days will involve interviews with leaders across sectors to provide participants with multiple point of views to analyze. At the program’s conclusion, each participant will launch a community change project to use their newfound leadership skills, frameworks, and connections to bring concrete improvements to their community.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

By participating in NLP, South LA neighborhood leaders will:

*Examine challenges facing their South LA communities;

*Employ Coro methodology of inquiry and reflection through interviews with leaders in the community and group debriefs, giving participants invaluable insight on what it takes to be a leader in the region;

*Expand leadership capacity through exposure to Coro’s leadership tools and frameworks;

*Build and bridge social capital through group learning processes and team management towards common purposes;

*Demonstrate project management skills through the development of a community change project;

*Build and expand social capital by deepening their networks across the region.

Success for the program will be measured in a variety of ways. The first is through pre-program participant surveys assessing: 1) prior access to leadership development; 2) prior access to hard skill development; and 3) proficiency in various skills, including presentations, project management, written communication, team management, and understanding of leadership frameworks. Post-program surveys will collect self-reported proficiencies in these skills as a result of participation in NLP. Coro will also measure the impact of participants’ community change projects by assessing how many people have been or will be affected by the project, and will evaluate qualitative data from participants and partner organizations on the impact both felt and observed as a result of NLP participation.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In 5 years, Coro will have trained approximately 125 community leaders in South LA who are continuing to implement their Community Change Projects in their neighborhoods and communities. Armed with Coro’s proven tools and wide network, NLP participants will have the ability to effectively activate and engage the residents of South LA, creating concrete, lasting impacts that will continue to strengthen and revitalize the region. Additionally, NLP will be positioned to launch in other communities in Los Angeles, allowing Coro to expand its impact and reach in Southern California.