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DC Fellows Fundraiser helps future progressive leaders

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For the sixth year in a row, New Leaders Council (NLC) hosts its DC Fellows Fundraiser May 19 at the AFL-CIO headquarters at 815 16th Street, N.W. More than 25 members of Congress are expected to attend the event, which generates funds for the program, according to Mark Riddle, NLC Executive Director. “While the events do generate an important amount of funds needed for the program, they also serve to have the fellows, often participating in fundraising for the first time, put the skills learned in the institute to practice,” Riddle said. The fundraiser takes place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. There is a VIP reception at 6:00 p.m.

NLC provides training for the next generation of progressive leadership. “The NLC curriculum covers just about everything you will need to start your own business or nonprofit, run for office or work in government,” said Riddle.

Tristan Wilkerson was encouraged to apply for the program by a mentor and NLC alum from 2011. “There are so many sophisticated, tangible and intangible takeaways from the leadership experience with NLC that makes it so valuable, but you’ve got to know what you’re looking for,” he said. “It has sharpened my existing skills set, while adding tools in management, entrepreneurship, communications, fundraising and planning. But, more than anything, I’ve diversified and broadened my network in some really incredible ways,” said Wilkerson, who is currently the Regional Policy and Outreach Coordinator at Young Invincibles.

Kacey Wulff got involved with NLC after seeing the application on a listserv of young progressive professionals, shortly after moving into the District. “I was looking for ways to connect with my new community,” she said. “That’s the best part, the biggest and best part of NLC is the group of friends who inspire me and have pushed me to think bigger and harder about what being a progressive change-maker means.” Wulff is a Special Assistant at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Both Wilkerson and Wulff encourage millenials to get involved with NLC if there is a genuine interest. “Talk to alumni about their experience and read up on NLC to really get a sense of what this organization offers its fellows,” Wilkerson said. “And have a grip on your philosophy of the progressive movement.” He said it’s important for prospective fellows to know what they’re looking for and what they bring to the table.

“The way that NLC attracts millennials is by our ability to have a direct impact on each community,” said Riddle. “NLC is a unique national organization in that each NLC chapter can tailor the institute curriculum with issues in the local community, allowing the Fellows to gain the skills needed right there at home.”

NLC is a 501(c)(3) with 31 chapters nationwide. Applications are available in September and close in November. For more information, visit http://newleaderscouncil.org/

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