The African American Leadership Academy is designed to develop the next generation of leaders for our community and beyond.  Designed to be more than a collection of in-service programming, the Leadership Academy takes the unique perspective of the African American community and addresses leadership from a variety of perspectives including politics, education, the media, criminal justice and the law, and both non-profit and for profit business. This training will help support community transformation in Des Moines through mentoring and active community building while developing and encouraging emerging black leaders in their commitment to improving the community.  While there are many opportunities available to emerging leaders, the African American Leadership Academy seeks to fill a critical gap by addressing not only the professional skill necessary to achieve success, but the culturally specific needs of African Americans.


The African American Leadership Academy will be held January through October  one evening a month with additional sessions for small group work.  The Academy will incorporate a half-day leadership workshop, small group work, panel presentations, keynote speakers, and roundtable discussions, etc. Participants will begin and finish the program as a team and develop long lasting professional relationships with other leaders in the community. The African American Leadership Academy will explore leadership through a variety of lenses including but not limited to:

  • Political Landscape (both local and state level) including examining public policy and the impact of public policy on the African American community and talking with elected officials

  • K-12 Education including the role of public education in preparing AA students for their lives, getting more AA in the pipeline for administrators and employment, and developing African American Leadership.

  • Post-Secondary education

  • Non-Profit Community by understanding the non-profit sector/intersection of for-profit and non-profit, their independent function, and their influence/impact in the African American community

  • For-Profit Business

  • Historical Landscape including a historical perspective of African Americans in Des Moines—“The Firsts,” past participants-success stories

  • Media perspective of African Americans

  • Criminal Justice including the Police, Attorneys, Judges, the juvenile justice system

  • Health Care

  • Faith Community–Role of church in AA community


Application Process Cost to participants for The African American Leadership Academy is $100. (This can be paid by an organization or by the individual payable upon acceptance to the Academy.) The Leadership Academy is made possible with support from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation and other local support.

The Des Moines African American Leadership Academy is sponsored by the Des Moines African American Leadership Forum and The Directors Council.  The Des Moines African American Leadership Academy is part of the regional network that was started by the Northwest Area Foundation.

The class for this year is filled.  To apply for all sessions next year click "Apply Now".

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