Grassroots Leadership Development Institute

The Grassroots Leadership Development Institute is an intense seven-month leadership training program designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skill-set and resources to be effective in leading change at the grassroots level.

The Institute was developed in 2004 through The Spartanburg County Foundation’s Strengthening Voices initiative, which was designed to empower the community to assume responsibility for positive social change. The Foundation partners with the City of Spartanburg to bring this wonderful leadership opportunity to the residents of Spartanburg County free of charge.

Since its inception, over 280 individuals have graduated from the Institute and currently serve the community in various leadership roles.


The Institute is designed to inspire participants to assume ownership of critical issues in their community and equip them with the tools needed to make a difference in Spartanburg.

Session topics include: developing leadership and organizational skills, strengthening communication ability, leveraging community assets, and strategic thinking and planning.

Upon completing the Institute, participants will be empowered to:

  • Assume individual and collective responsibility for positive change
  • Utilize basic leadership concepts and skills to become more effective leaders and communicators
  • Organize people for positive outcomes
  • Think strategically and develop effective plans
  • Leverage community assets and resources
  • Affect positive changes on city, county, state and national levels
  • Increase levels of communication and understanding between grassroots individuals and mainstream leaders

Participants come from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Each class is comprised of predominantly grassroots individuals, deeply rooted in their communities, who desire to make positive social change in their neighborhoods and in their community. Participants also include emerging nonprofit and mainstream leaders actively working to strengthen their individual and organizational effectiveness, and who seek to become more effective community leaders.

Institute participants may join the Alumni Association which allows graduates to remain informed about the work of their fellow Alumni, become civically engaged as a collective group, and stay informed of the needs of the Spartanburg community.

To view a list of the Alumni, please click here.

How To Participate
The Spartanburg County Foundation issues a call for nominations annually in the fall.  Self-nominations are encouraged, as well as those of others.

More Information
For more information on the Grassroots Leadership Development Institute, please contact Tara Jane Weese, director of grants and initiatives, at 864.582.0138 or