Grassroots Leadership Development Institute
CF GLDI Graduation2019-118

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 throughout the greater Spartanburg County community and beyond. Developed as a part of Strengthening Voices, the program is designed to empower the community to assume responsibility for positive social change and equip them with the tools needed to make a difference. The Grassroots Leadership Development Institute has become a nationally recognized best-practice model that continues to garner interest from groups throughout the country.

Participants meet one Saturday a month March through August to increase their ability to make a positive difference on the local, regional, and national levels. Since its inception in 2004, more than 340 individuals have graduated from the Institute and currently serve the community in various leadership roles.

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

Grassroots Leadership Development Institute participants are equipped with a solid skill-set that better enables them to:

  • Lead community improvement throughout the city, county, state, and nation;
  • Increase levels of communication and understanding between grassroots individuals and mainstream leaders;
  • Effectively organize people for positive outcomes;
  • Think strategically to create innovative solutions to address community needs;
  • Serve on non-profit and for-profit boards; and
  • Leverage community assets and resources.

The Spartanburg County Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2020 Grassroots Leadership Development Institute. Each year, dedicated individuals are selected to participate in the seven-month leadership training program.

Applications must be submitted through the Foundation’s online portal by 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 11, 2019. Please click APPLY below and create an account to begin your application.

For more information, please contact Tara Weese.


Grassroots Leadership Development Institute graduates are invited to become members of the Alumni Association.

The purpose of the Grassroots Leadership Alumni Association (GLAA) is to continue to engage Institute graduates by creating opportunities for networking and collaboration, connecting alumni to leadership positions within the community, keeping them informed of pressing community needs, and providing continued leadership training.

The GLAA holds at least four leadership training sessions and networking events per year. Additionally, the Alumni Association keeps alumni connected and informed using email, social media, and e-newsletters.

The Grassroots Leadership Alumni Association is open to all graduates of the Grassroots Leadership Development Institute. The annual membership fee is $25. To become a GLAA member, please complete this form and submit along with membership fees.


The Grassroots Leadership Alumni Association events are open to all Grassroots Leadership Development Institute Alumni and are free to all Grassroots Leadership Alumni Association members. A fee of $15 per event will be charged to alumni who are not members of the alumni association. View the Events Schedule here.