Community Foundation and Partners Form Leadership Institute of NCW

The Community Foundation of NCW — in collaboration with the Parent Leadership Training Institute, Our Valley Our Future, and Thriving Together NCW — has formed the Leadership Institute of NCW, a free 20-week bilingual training program to teach personal leadership, public policy, and advocacy skills. Each leader will develop a community project to benefit their schools, neighborhoods, community, and families. Childcare and meals will be provided to attendees, along with a cash stipend upon successful completion of the program.

The curriculum was developed by the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), a Connecticut-based family civics initiative. For the past 30 years, PLTI has partnered with parents and community leaders to improve child outcomes, advance democracy, and increase racial equity through the civic engagement of families and community. More than 10,000 people from throughout the United States have graduated from the PLTI program.

The Leadership Institute of NCW is being guided by a Civic Design Team, which is made up of representatives from the Wenatchee Valley Dispute Resolution Center, Wenatchee Valley College, North Central ESD, NCW Equity Alliance, Hispanic Business Council, the Community for the Advancement of Family Education (CAFÉ), Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council, The Wenatchee World, Wenatchee Pride, Parque Padrinos, Coalition for Health Improvement, Communities in Schools NCW, Rural People’s Voice, and Catholic Charities. Eight community members attended PLTI training sessions at Everett Community College in July 2023 and are now certified facilitators of the PLTI curriculum.

As a strategy to combat a decline in civic engagement over the last 50 years, the goal of the program is to educate and empower community members for civic leadership positions in the region.

“Everywhere you look in our communities, post pandemic, there is a decline in civic life and participation” said Beth Stipe, the Foundation’s executive director. Whether it is membership in a service club or someone volunteering for a nonprofit or local government role, it’s becoming more challenging to find members of the community who are willing to take on leadership roles which are critical to a civil society. By providing an opportunity to build leadership skills and understand how civic systems work, we want to empower more residents to get involved in their communities.”

The Leadership Institute of NCW is a direct result of the Our Valley Our Future Action Plan’s ‘Diverse Leadership’ game changer, which was identified as a community priority. The game changer was crafted from input received from more than 2,000 residents, who saw the need for future leaders that better reflect the region’s demographics. Among the community benefits: deeper community participation, more robust ideas and perspectives, strengthening of democratic institutions, improved problem solving in local governments, and greater community resiliency.

In August 2022, a ‘Diverse Leadership’ working group, made up of representatives from organizations that agreed to serve as lead partners, began holding meetings to advance the initiative. In advancing its own strategic goals and in consultation with OVOF, the Community Foundation hired Summer Hess to facilitate and coordinate the working group meetings. The working group met once or twice a month through December 2023, before transitioning into the Leadership Institute of NCW’s Civic Design Team.

“This effort began by listening to residents, creating with them an initiative to achieve the change they sought, moving collaboratively with stakeholders toward that shared goal, and then having the Community Foundation step up as the backbone organization,” said Steve Maher, OVOF coordinator. “The Community Foundation’s investment in this process and in the Leadership Institute of NCW is remarkable and sets a standard for the region.”

The PLTI curriculum is evidence-based and has been proven to lead to profound changes in people’s civic, personal, and family lives. These changes are the result of intentional efforts to develop relationships across differences, to treat each person with dignity, and to empower community members to lead through developing their civic knowledge and skills.

Classes will be held at the Wenatchee Valley College campus. Applications to participate in the program will open in April.

For questions, email Claire Oatey at

PLTI is a family civics initiative of the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity & Opportunity.

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Xitlali Cruz


I am currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at Stanford. Since the beginning of my freshman year I have been involved with clubs such as Stanford’s Space Initiative (SSI) and the Society of Latinx Engineers (SOLE). In SSI I built a rocket and launched it.


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Chelan Douglas Volunteer Attorney Services


The grant provided funds to hire a Housing Justice and Outreach Coordinator to visit rural and underserved areas. Rosie’s bilingual and bicultural skills and experience have increased equity of service. Rosie is building partnerships with local organizations through events such as the Columbia Valley Community Health’s Back to School Drive, as well as posting yard signs.

Tenoch Mandujano

Tenoch Mandujano

Scholarship Recipient

My father was a migrant agricultural worker who eventually started his own cherry and apple orchard. He told me if I wanted to live a better life, I had to get an education. I plan on starting a career with the Chelan PUD with a passion for renewable energy and in turn give back to my parents and community for supporting my dreams.

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