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


Class Experience 2020 Day Session Schedule

January 8: Welcome Reception
January 17 - 18: Opening Retreat
February 12: Hunger and Poverty Day
March 18: Education Day
April 1: Half Day Training Session
April 22: Criminal Justice Day
May 5: Half Day Training Session
May 20: Combined Arts, Culture, Tourism, History Day
June 17: Diversity Day
July 22: Neighborhood/Transportation Day
August 19: Combined Economic Development Day
September 16: Healthcare Day
October 21: Combined Ecology and Environment Day
November 13 - 14: Closing Retreat
December 9: Graduation



Applications must be received by 5:00 pm on October 18, 2019 accompanied by a non-refundable $50 application fee. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of their status no later than November 29, 2019.

TUITION: Tuition for the Rising Leaders program is $3,900. Tuition is non-refundable. Upon acceptance, a $1,000 non-refundable payment toward tuition is required no later than December 6, 2019. 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 Application for Financial Assistance form, available here. Form must accompany application by October 18, 2019 to be considered.

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