The program is addressed to active participants of projects financed by various programs of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation: “Act Locally”, “Equal Opportunities”, “English Teaching”, “Region in Transition” (RITA), “PAFF Local Partnerships” and the Library Development Program.
The core part of the program is a twelve-month cooperation between a leader and a tutor coupled with a series of training sessions adapted to the participants’ needs and priorities, which primarily focuses on interpersonal development planning, team building, managing an organization, communication, community involvement and building local partnerships. The skills acquired in the program help leaders undertake activities benefiting their local communities.
An essential component of the program is the offer for program graduates – the “Alumni Initiative”, which serves cooperation and experience sharing. It provides an opportunity to participate in meetings with well-known figures of public life and in workshops adapted to alumni needs. Also, within the alumni initiative fund, the participants may obtain grants for carrying out projects. Through the electronic newsletter alumni regularly receive information about current undertakings carried our within the program. Leaders may also exchange experiences during annual meetings of participants as well as via civic portals.
Since 2008, study visits of selected leaders to the United States have been organized as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program in cooperation with the American Embassy in Poland. In 2017, another group of leaders and tutors participated in such a visit. To date, a total of over 100 PAFF Leaders have visited the USA.
As a result of the program’s twelve editions the qualifications of 580 local leaders from all over Poland have been improved, and an active nationwide network has emerged. In addition, more than 70 tutoring experts have been trained. In the 13th (current) edition, which began in 2017, 41 leaders and 12 tutors are participating.
The Foundation has disbursed $4,189,221, including $327,061 for the current edition of the program.