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Leaders United States

The Obama Foundation Leaders USA program is a six-month, non-residential leadership development program that seeks to inspire, empower, and connect emerging leaders across the country.

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2023 changemakers


Leaders USA builds upon the Foundation’s work over the past five years to support values-driven changemakers. The program offers 100 US-based leaders the opportunity to learn new skills and tools to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities. 

The program focuses on emerging Leaders, 24-45 years old, who aim to drive systems-level change across sectors and issues, and have at least three years of demonstrated impact. Participants are values-driven leaders from every corner of the nation who are ready to expand their impact and help strengthen our national culture of democracy.

Leaders USA cohorts will reflect the rich diversity in the United States, with representation from across geographies and underrepresented communities, including people from rural communities, people of color, Native Americans, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, and veterans.

Leaders will participate in the following core elements of the program:

  • Timely Conversations

    Over six months, Leaders come together for virtual meetings to discuss how to move from hope to action through practical tools and training in the values-based leadership and strengthening democracy curricula.

  • Weekly Virtual Calls

    Leaders meet virtually over Zoom throughout the program, engaging with trainers, subject matter experts, and each other to deepen their leadership practice.

  • A Community of Support

    The program includes opportunities for Leaders to meet virtually in breakout groups with Leaders from different parts of the country and with Obama Foundation leadership and experts across sectors.

  • Individual Leadership Coaching

    Leaders are paired with a coach to help them clarify and build out their individual goals.

How to Apply

The application for the 2024-2025 Leaders USA programs is now closed. See below for eligibility requirements.

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  • Location

    The program currently invites individuals residing in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, on tribal lands, and in United States territories to apply including, American Samoa; Guam; Northern Mariana Islands; Puerto Rico; United States Virgin Islands; Minor Outlying Islands; Bajo Nuevo Bank; Baker Island; Howland Island; Jarvis Island; Johnston Atoll; Kingman Reef; Midway Islands; Navassa Island; and Palmyra Atoll.

  • Citizenship and Residency

    You must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Citizen of the United States, U.S. territory, and/or tribal nation OR 

    • Permanent resident of the United States or an eligible U.S. territory OR 

    • Have lived in the United States, a U.S. territory, or on tribal lands for at least the last 5 years, regardless of citizenship or permanent residence status 

  • Geographic Focus

    Your work is geographically focused on creating positive change within the United States. You demonstrate a strong commitment to continue to focus your work in the United States.

  • Program Commitment

    You can commit to fully participating in the entire duration of the six-month program. The Leaders USA program is currently scheduled to begin the week of September 16, 2024 and conclude no later than May 1, 2025, with planned breaks throughout. Exact dates are subject to change. You must be able to attend between 8 and 12 hours of required virtual programming each month, as well as attend required leadership coaching sessions and engage in community group discussions throughout the program duration.

  • Language Proficiency & Age

    You are professionally proficient in spoken and written English and you will be between 24 and 45 years of age on August 26, 2024.

  • Political Campaigns

    You will refrain from participating in an electoral campaign as a candidate for political office from the time you are accepted into the program through May 1, 2025. Selection decisions are currently scheduled to be sent in July and August 2024.

  • Leadership Experience

    You can demonstrate at least 3 years of relevant experience in your issue area.

  • Jurisdiction and Ability to Participate in a U.S.-Based Program

    The Foundation is based in the United States. To participate in the Program, you must be under no legal or regulatory restrictions that would limit your participation in virtual Foundation programming or travel to the U.S. for in-person programming (if any).


For more information about the Obama Foundation Leaders USA program and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, visit our FAQ page.

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