Equity Leadership Initiative

ELI application information

The Equity Leadership Initiative’s intent is to cultivate, mentor, and seek access for individuals who identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous, or multiracial, from across sectors to help build a pipeline of leaders of color in positions of influence in Rhode Island.

The program’s goal is to inspire a deeper commitment to social justice and racial equity in Rhode Island by working with existing leaders of color on their leadership journey.

Up to 20 accepted applicants will participate in a 12-month leadership development effort that will kick-off with a welcome event in August. Monthly half-day meetings will begin for the cohort in September 2021.


The Equity Leadership Initiative will focus on supporting existing leaders of color who identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous, or multiracial Black, Hispanic or Latino, Indigenous, and Asian and are currently engaged in work in the public, private, or nonprofit sector.

Applicants must have a demonstrated track record and commitment to racial equity and social justice, the ability to participate in monthly leadership and program activities (i.e. coaching and mentoring), and must reside in Rhode Island.

Up to 20 participants will be accepted into the inaugural Equity Leadership Initiative cohort. There is no fee to participate.

Program components

Cohort members in the Equity Leadership Initiative will participate in the following:

  • Monthly half-day group meetings beginning in September 2021, focused on leadership development, self-discovery, and the creation of a learning community;
  • Regular one-to-one coaching sessions;
  • Support to develop a leadership vision and goals;
  • Regular meetings with a matched mentor; and
  • Will make high-level connections across industries through program participation.

ELI will kick off with a welcome event in late August 2021.

Beginning on Wednesday September 8, 2021 half-day group sessions will be held from 12 to 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, unless noted otherwise below:

September 8, 2021
October 20, 2021
November 12, 2021
December 15, 2021
January 12, 2022
February 9, 2022
March 9, 2022
April 13, 2022
May 18, 2022
June 8, 2022
July 13, 2022
August 10, 2022

A graduation event will be held on August 25, 2022.

Application process and deadline

Applications for the Equity Leadership Initiative’s inaugural cohort are due on July 12, 2021.

Leaders will be selected for the initiative via a one stage application process. Applications will be reviewed by the Equity Leadership Steering Committee members and Rhode Island Foundation team members.

Two information sessions will be held via zoom for interested individuals; please click the links provided to register.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 9-10 a.m.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 5-6 p.m.

Applicants will be notified of their status by the week of August 9, 2021.

To apply

Please submit the following:

  • A completed application. All applications must be submitted through our online system;
  • A resume or curriculum vitae;
  • Two letters of recommendation, either from a place of employment as an endorsement of the application, other professional persons, community partners, or other people who can provide reference for you; and
  • Link to video that is uploaded into Hightail, that is under three minutes in length and responds to one of the narrative questions in the application (additional instructions are included in the application).

Click here to apply.

To complete an application that is already in progress, and to submit, please click here.