Ford Institute Leadership Program

Developing skilled and motivated leaders

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Every leadership class choses a community project.

The Institute's primary method for achieving community vitality is through a series of training classes called the Ford Institute Leadership Program. The program is based on the belief that vital rural communities develop from a broad base of knowledgeable, skilled and motivated leaders, a diversity of effective organizations, and productive collaborations among organizations.

The Ford Institute Leadership Program for rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., was first offered in 2003. The Institute selects four new communities to enter the program each spring and each fall. The series of trainings typically unfold in this sequence:

Year 1 Leadership Development (class 1)
Year 2 Effective Organizations
Year 3 Leadership Development (class 2)
Year 4 Community Collaborations
Year 5 Leadership Development (class 3)

The Leadership Development classes are repeated to draw in new participants. 

Leadership Program: Brochure  

Leadership Program: Map 


The Leadership Development training consists of 48 class hours held over four Friday–Saturday sessions. The classes focus on developing the community leadership capacity of individuals. The training emphasizes an interactive and facilitative style rather than lectures. It draws on the knowledge and skills of those in the room, augmented by the lessons in the curriculum.

A typical class consists of about 25 individuals (high-school students to retired seniors) with leadership experience ranging from emerging to seasoned. This training is designed for a diverse mix of citizens representing business, government and non-profit sectors.

Curriculum concepts include:

    • Community capacity and social capital
    • Personality types and leadership styles
    • Community development models
    • Catalytic Leadership Model
    • Asset mapping
    • Group development
    • Models for group decision-making
    • Communication strategies
    • Volunteerism

Class Project 

Each class selects a project that they work on together (for example,  improving a  dock at a community lake). The project helps focus the course content on a real-world situation. The Institute provides up to a $5,000 match in support of the project. Participants are expected to volunteer outside the class to complete the project within one year. See Leadership Class Projects for more information.

Leadership Development Spring 2016:

Applications for the spring 2016 cohorts is now available. The registration deadline is November 15, 2015.

Applicants under the age of 18 will also be required to submit a signed parental consent form in order for their application to be considered.

Questions? Contact Alicia Flory by email or call  (541) 957-5574.


Online Application Schedule Deadline
Eastern Umatilla County Schedule November 15, 2015
Forest Grove/Cornelius Schedule November 15, 2015
Illinois Valley Schedule November 15, 2015
North Marion County Schedule November 15, 2015
North Santiam Canyon Schedule November 15, 2015
Nyssa Schedule November 15, 2015
Polk County Schedule November 15. 2015
Rural Benton County Schedule November 15, 2015
South Douglas/North Josephine Schedule November 15, 2015
South Umpqua Gateway Schedule November 15, 2015
Yamhill County Schedule November 15, 2015
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