The Leadership Buffalo Rising Leaders is a year-long program that runs from January through December each year. The program is designed for individuals from corporations, small/entrepreneurial businesses, civic and community organizations and non-profits who are up and coming in their careers. The program helps to prepare them to lead as they mature in their field.


Key issues and topics are explored throughout the program year providing an in-depth view of the critical issues facing our community. Such topics include Hunger/Poverty, Education, Criminal and Social Justice, Diversity, Arts and Culture, Neighborhood Discovery, Economic Development and Health Care. These are experienced by sharing hands-on experiences and networking with other leaders in the Buffalo Niagara community.

Each participant will have the opportunity to create an action plan to utilize 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.

The program environment is a non-traditional form of learning. The city is our "classroom". Throughout the year, personality assessments are conducted, two half-day trainings sessions are held and participants work in teams to challenge and strengthen their leadership skills. The year focuses on Servant Leadership traits and relies on experiential learning.

"There is an openness to learn from each class member I encounter. I enjoy being a part of a program wherein everyone is different in many ways yet we all have one goal. The class members differ in ethnicity, race, religion, socioeconomic status and perspectives and yet we all seek to serve a purpose greater than our own, to aid the under-served and disadvantaged of Western New York."
Quinita McKinney (RL '17)
Jericho Road Community Health Center


Rising Leaders 2019 Day Session Schedule

January 9 - Welcome Reception
January 18 & 19 - Opening Retreat
February 13 - Hunger and Poverty Day Session
March 20 - Education Day Session
April 17 - Criminal Justice Day Session
May 15 - Arts, Culture, Tourism & History Day Session (Combined with Class Experience)
June 19 - Diversity Day Session
July 24 - Neighborhood Discovery Day Session
August 21 - Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Day Session (Combined with Class Experience)
September 18 - Healthcare Day Session
October 23 - Transition Day Session (Combined with Class Experience)
November 15 & 16 - Closing Retreat
December 4 - Graduation Ceremony



Applications may be submitted online, mailed or emailed to the LB office. Applications must be signed by the candidate, candidate's employer, and financial sponsor (a representative of the organization paying tuition or candidate himself/herself).

Applications must be accompanied by a $50.00 non-refundable processing fee; payment must accompany the application.

Applications must be received by 5:00 pm on October 12, 2018. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of their status no later than December 7, 2018.

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

ATTENDANCE/PARTICIPATION: Full attendance at all day sessions (8:00 am - 5:00 pm), the opening & closing retreats (two full days plus one overnight) is required. Only two absences will be allowed for personal/work situations. Please note day sessions will be on one Wednesday each month in 2019. The schedule will be available online by July 1, 2018.

TUITION: Tuition for the Rising Leaders program is $3,600. Tuition is non-refundable. Upon acceptance, a $1,000 non-refundable payment toward tuition is required. Unless special arrangements have been made with the CEO, remainder of tuition must be received in full prior to the opening retreat.

SCHOLARSHIPS: A limited number of partial tuition scholarships are available and are determined by need. Candidates wishing to apply for tuition assistance must complete the separate Application for Financial Assistance form, available here and submit it with their application to