The program is addressed to active participants of projects funded from various programs carried out by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation: “Act Locally”, “Equal Opportunities”, “English Teaching”, “Region in Transition” (RITA), “PAFF Local Partnerships”, and the Library Development Program.
The main part of the program is the 12-month leader-tutor cooperation and the training cycle adjusted to user needs and priorities consisting of planning their own development, team building, organization management, communication, engaging the community, and building a local partnership. Skills acquired during the program help leaders act for the benefit of local communities.
An important part of the program is the offer addressed to the graduates – the “Alumni” initiative – which provides an opportunity for cooperation and experience exchange. It enables the participants to meet with well-known public figures, take part in workshops that respond to their needs, and access funds from graduate initiatives to carry out leader projects. Thanks to the e-newsletter subscription, the alumni regularly receive news about current program actions. The experience exchange between leaders is also possible during annual meetings and through the social media. A special group of program participants and alumni are those who are active in local governments. In the local government elections of the autumn of 2018, 184 of the alumni ran; 83 were elected mayors or members of a commune, municipality, or town council.
Since 2008 the PAFF Leaders study tours to the United States have been organized in cooperation with the US Embassy in Poland. Each year a group of ten leaders and tutors participates in the program. Due to pandemic, a tour planned for 2021 was carried out in hybrid form.
As a result of pandemic restrictions most of the meetings in 2020/2021 were held online. In 2021 PAFF Leaders participated in meetings with public figures on such themes as running social activities at the time of pandemic and isolation. The meetings were attended by 400 people.
The program’s 17 editions held to date have resulted in raising the qualifications of almost 800 local leaders from across Poland as well as creating their active nation-wide network, and educating 67 experts in employing the tutoring method.
The Foundation has disbursed $6,073,341, including $405,457 for the current edition of the program.