Stephanie S. Dukes
Local leaders unite to improve equitable opportunities for children, families and communities
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) today announced the latest class of fellows of the WKKF Community Leadership Network, a model program for strengthening local leadership to create transformational change for children, families and communities.
The 18-month fellowship unites 80 dynamic and diverse leaders from the foundation’s priority places in the U.S.: Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans. Together, the fellows learn about themselves and each other; grow their leadership skills; and build a strong, connected network to advance equity at local, tribal, state and national levels.
“These leaders are all deeply committed to making positive changes in communities,” said Paul Martinez, WKKF’s chief leadership and human capital strategist. “Our founder, Will Keith Kellogg, would be inspired to meet this new class and see how his vision of investing in local leaders is being realized.”
The program curriculum emphasizes racial equity and racial healing, community engagement and collective leadership — what the foundation calls “its DNA.” Through a variety of activities, fellows deepen their understanding of the embedded racism in systems and hone their skills for navigating differences and bringing people together around solutions.
“The heart of this fellowship is the leaders and the relationships they build across different cultures, sectors and geographies to work in solidarity for authentic change,” said Shera Clark, program director at CCL.
The class composition features a broad array of leaders, from educators, youth mentors and health practitioners; to businesspeople and social entrepreneurs; to tribal leaders and elected officials. It includes an urban farmer, consumer protection lawyer, breastfeeding medicine specialist, music theory professor, rural technology consultant and Indigenous rights activist, among others.
“Through hands-on development, personalized coaching, peer networking and practical experience, this fellowship prepares leaders to meet the challenges of our time,” Clark said.
Since 2018, CCL has led and managed the fellowship, bringing with it a 50-plus-year track record of incorporating proven, cutting-edge leadership research into programs that elevate participants’ priorities and goals. The current class is the fellowship’s third.
“Fellows go on to serve their communities in phenomenal ways,” said Martinez. “Alumni are facilitating DEI work within institutions; connecting students who are undocumented with legal representation; and authoring books on economic opportunities for people post-incarceration. Others have run for office, becoming state legislators and tribal council members to create equitable policies that benefit entire communities.”
After completing the program, alumni stay connected through the Global Fellows Network, which has more than 1,100 leaders from WKKF’s various fellowship programs over the years. The network offers ongoing opportunities for connection, collaborative learning and collective action.
This new class of the WKKF Community Leadership Network will kick off with a virtual session in September 2023 and an in-person gathering in October 2023, where the fellows will have a chance to meet each other and begin their journey of self-discovery and transformation.
For more about the WKKF Community Leadership Network with the Center for Creative Leadership and a complete list of fellows, visit wkkfcln.org.
About Center for Creative Leadership
The Center for Creative Leadership seeks to advance the understanding, practice and development of leadership for the benefit of society across the globe. A top ranking executive education firm worldwide, CCL brings more than 50 years of experience, research and best practice to connect the challenges leaders face with the essential skills they need to be successful. Since 1970, CCL has helped transform more than one million leaders and thousands of organizations in 160 countries. CCL manages the WKKF Community Leadership Network as a grantee of the Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit ccl.org.
About W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Founded by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is dedicated to supporting thriving children, working families and equitable communities. Embedded within all the foundation does is a commitment to advancing racial equity and racial healing, developing leaders and engaging communities in solving their own problems. WKKF supports work throughout the United States and with sovereign tribes, and in Mexico and Haiti, concentrating up to two-thirds of grantmaking in priority places: Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans in the U.S., Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and in Central and South Haiti.