The program is addressed to active participants of projects financed under various programs of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, especially “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’ particular needs and priorities. It focuses first of all on interpersonal development planning, team building, managing an organization, communication, community involvement and building a local partnership. The skills acquired in the program shall help leaders in taking up activities benefiting their local communities.
An essential component of the program is the offer for program graduates – the Alumni Initiative, which involves cooperation and experience sharing by the PAFF program alumni. Among other things, it provides them with an opportunity to participate in meetings with well-known figures of public life and workshops adapted to alumni needs, as well as receive a grant from the alumni initiative fund for carrying out leader’s projects. Thanks to subscription to the electronic newsletter, the alumni regularly receive information about current initiatives carried our under the program. A special group of program participants and alumni are those who are active in local governments. In 2018 local government elections there were 184 of them, and 83 were elected mayors or members of the commune, municipality or town councils.
Since 2008, study visits to the United States have been organized for leaders under the International Visitor Leadership Program implemented in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Poland. In 2019, another group of ten leaders and tutors participated in such a visit.
As a result of the program’s fourteen editions 660 local leaders from all over Poland improved their qualifications, and they established an active nationwide network. Also, 67 tutoring experts have been trained. In the present 15th round, which began in 2019, 46 leaders and 14 tutors are participating.
The Foundation has disbursed $5,169,032, including $277,166 for the current edition of the program.