Rising Leaders




The Leadership Buffalo Rising Leaders 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.


Applications for 2025 are now open!

Please see application details below.

2024 Schedule


January 11 – Welcome Reception
February 14 – Hunger and Poverty 
March 15-16 – Rescheduled Opening Retreat
March 20 – Education
April 17 – Criminal and Social Justice 
May 15 – Arts, Culture, Tourism and History (Combined with Class Experience)
June 12 – Diversity and Inclusion
July 17 – Environment and Ecology (Combined with Class Experience)
August 21 – Neighborhood and Transportation Discovery
September 18 – Economic and Workforce Development
October 16  – Healthcare 
November 15-16 – Closing Retreat
December 4 - 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.

2025 Applications

Applications must be received by October 11, 2024. There is a non-refundable $75 application fee for all applications. For the application to be considered, applicants must:

Incomplete applications will not be considered.



Tuition for Class Experience is $5,600. Tuition is non-refundable. Upon acceptance, a $1,000 non-refundable payment toward tuition is required no later than December 8, 2024. Unless special arrangements have been made with the CEO, the remainder of tuition must be received in full by January 10, 2025



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, available here. This must be completed by October 11, 2024, to be considered.



Please Note

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