Rising Leaders




Completed application must be received at the Leadership Buffalo offices no later than 5:00 pm, October 13, 2023: There is a non-refundable $50 application fee for applications submitted before August 1st. Applications recieved after that are subject to an additional $25 fee.

Any questions about the 2024 Program can be directed to Althea Luehrsen. 

The Leadership Buffalo Class Experience is a year-long program that runs from January through December each year. The program consists of monthly full-day sessions and two overnight retreats. The program is designed for individuals from corporations, small /entrepreneurial businesses, civic and community organizations and non-profits who are currently serving in a leadership role.



2023 Day Session Schedule

January 12 – Welcome Reception
January 20-21 – Opening Retreat 
February 15 – Day Session: Hunger and Poverty   
March 22 – Day Session: Education
March 28 – Optional Leadership Development Session #1
April 19 – Day Session: Criminal and Social Justice 
May 17 – Day Session: Arts, Culture, Tourism, History
June 21 – Day Session: Diversity and Inclusion
July 19 – Day Session: Transportation and Neighborhood Discovery
August 16 – Day Session: Economic Development
September 20 – Day Session: Environment and Ecology 
September 26 – Optional Leadership Development Session #2
October 25 – Day Session: Healthcare 
November 17-18 – Closing Retreat
December 6 - Graduation

Exploring What Matters

Key issues and topics are explored throughout the program year providing an in-depth view of the critical issues facing our community. These are experienced by sharing hands-on experiences and networking with other leaders in the Buffalo Niagara community.

Such topics include Hunger and Poverty, Education, Criminal and Social Justice, Diversity, Arts and Culture, Neighborhood Discovery, Transportation, Economic Development, Ecology and Environment, and Health Care.

Tools to Make Change

Each participant will have the opportunity to create action by utilizing newly found knowledge.

Team projects are developed at the conclusion of the program year. Projects are sustainable providing continued support of the community and engagement with classmates.

Being a Better Leader

The program environment is a non-traditional form of learning. The city is our "classroom".

Throughout the year, personality assessments are conducted and participants work in teams to challenge and strengthen their leadership skills. The year focuses on Servant Leadership traits and relies on experiential learning.

2023 Applications

Applications must be received by 4:00 pm on October 13, 2023. There is a non-refundable $50 application fee for applications submitted before August 1st. Applications recieved after that are subject to an additional $25 fee. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of their status no later than November 20, 2023.


Tuition for the Rising Leaders program is $5,200. Tuition is non-refundable. Upon acceptance, a $1,000 non-refundable payment toward tuition is required no later than December 8, 2023. Unless special arrangements have been made with the CEO, remainder of tuition must be received in full prior to the opening retreat.


A limited number of partial tuition scholarships are available and are determined by need. Candidates wishing to apply for tuition assistance must complete the Application for Financial Assistance form, available here. Form must accompany application by October 13, 2023 to be considered.

Please Note

Applications do not guarantee acceptance. In addition, telephone or in-person interviews will be conducted with all applicants.