Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads. We believe that everyone can make a difference and can work to inspire more citizens to believe in themselves, step up, and act. Throughout our nation’s history, lasting social change has always resulted from the courageous acts of many, not just the inspiration of the few.
The Civil Rights movement, for example, resulted from thousands of individuals throughout communities taking action as much because of the leadership of Martin Luther King and President Lyndon Baines Johnson as because of Rosa Parks. Parks was a seamstress and a volunteer with the NAACP who attended training on nonviolent civil disobedience at The Highlander School before the fateful day she chose to spark a movement. Today, more citizens need to be engaged, skilled, and prepared to lead if we are going to solve our most pressing problems. We believe the leadership that's needed for this is already resident in communities -- it’s only a matter of finding, cultivating, and connecting these leaders. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Public Allies' mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. Public Allies is changing the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together.
Public Allies employs integrated strategies to develop the next generation of leaders and re-define leadership for our times:
- The Public Allies signature AmeriCorps Ally Program identifies diverse young adults and prepares them for leadership through paid full-time nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership training.
(learn more about the Ally program)
- Our Alumni Programs connect and engage the growing Public Allies network of diverse leaders and invests in those positioned to make the greatest impact.
(learn more about the Alumni programs)
Since 1992, about 6,000 Allies have completed the program with more than 80% continuing careers in nonprofit and public service. Our track record of results and impact have led to recognition and honors from the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, The Bridgespan Group, McKinsey & Co, Fast Company, and others.
Our communities and our world are changing rapidly. In order to navigate in an age defined by greater diversity and participation, the next generation of leaders needs to look like America will look, connect across cultures, facilitate collaborative action, recognize and mobilize all of a community’s assets, continuously learn and improve, and be accountable to those they work with and those they serve. This is true in all sectors, but especially the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits are struggling to recruit and retain the diverse talent they need to address our most pressing community challenges. The Millennial generation, the largest and most diverse generation in history, is energized to work for change, but doesn’t know how to get started.
What makes Public Allies unique is its conviction that everyone leads. We reject the notion that the best ideas and expertise always lie outside of a community because we know that everyone has leadership potential and assets to contribute towards making a difference. "Everyone leads" means that we can all make a difference, and that leadership is about taking personal and social responsibility and practicing values that engage others to work for common goals. Public Allies’ citizen-centered, values-based approach to leadership has created pathways for young people to engage in their communities, and has helped communities and organizations tap the energy, passion, and perspectives of a new generation. Public Allies is the leadership and human capital solution our diverse communities needs.