Publication Date

2005

Abstract

The field of Leadership Development began over a half-century ago, led by the philanthropic institutions in the United States, such as Coro Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. More recently, in the past ten years, there has been a strong focus on supporting the development of effective grassroots leaders through community leadership development programs. As participants have graduated from these programs, a critical mass of grassroots leaders have begun to make an even stronger impact in addressing systematic social change in their communities. While there is significant literature on different theories and models in the Leadership Development field regarding the structural and programmatic issues in leadership development programs, there is a minimal amount of information about the experiences of participants after graduation. The goal of conducting this study was to contribute new, in-depth knowledge about how to support graduates of community leadership development programs after the completion of a formal training program. The objective of this case study was to describe the development of one fellowship network and the perceptions of seven members’ experiences in order to understand the role of support systems for grassroots leaders that are addressing long-term community change. This thesis begins with a literature review on the topic of grassroots leaders and community leadership development programs and then goes on to a description of this study’s research methodology, the context of the case that was studied, the themes that emerged from the grassroots leaders’ experiences and concludes with recommendations for further research. This paper is intended to provide readers with a better understanding of the structure and process of one fellowship network and how grassroots leaders perceive their experiences as members of this network.

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