The Emerging Leadership Program (ELP) creates and sustains a network of community leaders in Northwest and West Central Minnesota. The program's goal is to provide opportunities for individuals to develop their leadership potential, as well as a structure to help regional leaders address rural issues.
The ELP is based on the philosophy that effective leadership can be learned and that leaders grow into positions of leadership, motivated by a sense of responsibility for themselves and their communities.
The current program brochure (PDF) provides more details about the program, including the current training schedule and contact information.
How to join
If you are interested in being considered as a participant for the ELP, please contact Jan Jackola who can connect you to alumni in your county. Below is a list of the eligible counties.
- Lake of the Woods
- Otter Tail
- Red Lake
The resources below include information for current program participants and alumni, details about the program's history and ways you can help support the program.
Each summer and fall, new participants for the Emerging Leadership Program are selected by alumni in each county. Sessions begin in November and end in April, with locations across the region in a weekend-retreat setting. One session is a mid-week bus trip to St. Paul to visit the State Capitol, meet with legislators and take part in other educational sessions.
Learn more about the current class/participants and educational sessions.
Since 1985 when the Emerging Leadership Program first began, we now have over 1,200 alumni from 19 counties in Northwest and West Central Minnesota. ELP alumni are active in their communities, the region, our state and nation, as well as contributing time, effort and financial support to the program.
Here are a few ways we connect with alumni:
Annual recognition banquet
This banquet is held annually to recognize and congratulate the most recent graduates of the program. It is a great time for alumni to gather and reconnect with others. Find registration information about the March banquet (PDF).
County Liaisons from each county assist recent alumni with recruiting and selecting new participants, fundraising and hosting recognition events. Learn more about County Liaisons (PDF)
ELP Advisory Committee
Advisory committee members advise and assist Extension in delivering the Red River Valley (RRV) Emerging Leadership Program. Learn how to become a member (PDF)
We have created a Facebook group (closed group) for all alumni of the program to connect. If you are an alumnus of the program, ask to join the group on our Facebook page.
In 1985, a small group of individuals in the Red River Valley of Minnesota gathered to discuss ways they might empower people in the region to move beyond the current agriculture crisis/recession and build a stronger agricultural community. These individuals created the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program (ELP) to add value to and complement an existing recognition program for rural agricultural leaders in several counties in Northwest Minnesota. That program has continued each year since then to provide a series of leadership sessions focused on rural issues for leaders in the region.
Participants from 19 counties in Northwest and West Central Minnesota are now reached by the program, which strives to empower people to make a difference in their communities. Participants say,
"… it is a great vehicle for building networks with other leaders in the region and an educating tool to recharge people on leadership, the importance of community, and giving back to the community in a time when strong leadership is needed in rural areas more than ever."
To learn more, check out our program history.
There are many opportunities for individuals, groups and businesses to support the Emerging Leadership Program.
Each year, several alumni and friends of the ELP volunteer their time to help the program. There are opportunities to support educational programming and public relations, as well as other areas of the program. For information on how you can help, contact Program Coordinator, Jan Jackola.
Emerging Leadership Program is coordinated by University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality and endowment funds are set up within two different foundations to provide you with options for contributing to the Program.
Give through University of Minnesota Foundation
This fund was established in 2018 to provide scholarships for participants and funds to support the ongoing operations of the Program. It provides donors with an option to give to this long-standing University of Minnesota Extension program, established in 1985, for young leaders in northwest Minnesota.
Within this foundation, you have two options for giving:
- Option A: Make a gift online using this University of Minnesota Foundation page. A variety of gift options (one time, ongoing, etc.) are available.
- Option B: Mail a gift (via check) using this gift form. You may complete, print and mail it.
Give through Northwest Minnesota Foundation
This fund was established in 1999 when Extension and Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) developed a partnership agreement to create a solid financial base to assure the sustainability of the program. In this arrangement, Extension retained their responsibility for programming and NMF took on the role of a fiscal agent.
Within this foundation, you have two options for giving:
- Option A: Make a gift online using this NMF page. A variety of gift options (one time, ongoing, etc.) are available.
- Option B: Mail a gift (via check). Contact Jody Horntvedt (email@example.com) to request a donor card to include when you mail your check.
Learn more about other opportunities to contribute to the program, including planned giving options.