Leadership Institute Retreat


Who Should Apply?

The Leadership Institute seeks emerging leaders with disabilities who meet the following criteria:

  • 5 -10 years of management and/or leadership experience demonstrated in one or a combination of professional, civic or community service contexts.
  • Self-identifies as a person with a disability (both apparent and non-apparent disabilities, defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities).
  • Is a resident of the Chicago region (this includes seven counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Will and McHenry Counties).
  • Is committed to becoming engaged, or expand current engagement, in the civic life of metropolitan Chicago, and is seeking the possibility of voluntary participation on a board, commission, or other leadership position in public, private or non-profit sectors.

With personal leadership characteristics such as:

  • Has a vision for leveraging participation in the Leadership Institute for longer term leadership in the Chicago region
  • Is comfortable engaging with people across cultures and across disabilities
  • Willing to self-disclose and be a visible and vulnerable learner/leader in an intensive group learning setting
  • Strategic thinking
  • Gets results
  • Brings different groups together and has a commitment to collaboration
  • Wants to listen to and learn from others
  • Has a vision for leveraging participation in the Leadership Institute for longer term leadership in the Chicago region

2018 Fellows Commitment

Eligible candidates will commit to a year-long program including a Leadership Institute retreat in two sessions and additional programming, as outlined below:

  • Retreat Session One: March 8th-10th, 2018, Thursday-Saturday
  • Retreat Session Two: April 19th-20th, 2018, Thursday-Friday

Additional program requirements include:

  • Orientation session in February 7th, 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Exelon
  • Participation in On The Table on May 8th
  • Summer event week of July 23rd, date TBA, 4:00 - 6:00 PM
  • Fall Symposium event, September 22nd, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Graduation of 2018 Fellows and 2019 class announcement, December 6th, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Mentoring Program - schedule mutually determined by mentor and mentee
  • Autonomous Fellows meetings - schedule determined by small groups

More details available, but a basic commitment to this timeline is essential to eligibility.

2018 Leadership Institute Tuition

  • : Corporate
  • $1,500:Non-profit organization, government, small business or self-employed

Employer sponsorship is strongly encouraged. Financial resources should not be a barrier to participation. Please contact us to discuss scholarship assistance if required.


Only complete applications will be reviewed. A complete application includes:

  • Pre-Application
  • Full Application & Essay Questions
  • Resume
  • 2 Nomination Forms.

For assistance with any of the steps, contact Robin Burnett, rburnett@cct.org.


For Nominators

Nominators will receive Nomination Forms directly via email, once an applicant has completed their Pre-Application Form.

Application: Guide and Instruction

The 2018 application has three steps:

  1. 1. Pre-Application Form
  2. 2. Application/Essay Question
  3. 3. Nominator Forms

Pre-Application Form

The Pre-Application form is the first step for all applicants. This section requires Nominator names and contact information, so before completing this section please be sure to identify and contact your Nominators in advance and inform them of your target deadline.

Completion of the entire Pre-Application form will trigger an email to the applicant confirming receipt of the profile information and contain a link to the the full Application and Essay Questions. Nominators will receive an email notifying them that they have been identified as the applicant’s Nominator, and a link to the Nominator Form and a reminder of the deadlines. Please make sure your Nominator is aware of which deadline you are targeting in order to submit their form in time.

Application Form

To prepare for this section, applicants may go here to review the questions in this section and prepare answers. Our program seeks applicants who identify as having a disability and are passionate about increasing current civic engagement or in becoming civically engaged. Appropriate answers include information that illustrates this and how participating in this program at this time will help with your goals.

The Application/Essay Questions form allows applicants to save and continue. We encourage applicants save work in a separate Word document in case, for any reason, the information is lost due to a technical issue andwe are unable to retrieve your application. Once this form is complete and submitted applicants will receive an email confirmation from program staff within 1-2 business days (note: you will not receive an automatic email)..

The Nominator Form

Two Nominators are required for full consideration, and one must be from an employer. A Nominator should be someone familiar with your talent, experience and passion for civic engagement and can speak to that. Nominators may be supervisors, managers, or a leader of a volunteer position to which you devote a significant degree of your time and talent.

In order for applications to be complete, the Nominator form must be received by the deadline, either September 19th or October 31st. Once this form has been submitted the applicant and Nominator will receive an automatic notice and confirmation. If all other sections have been completed, both the applicant and the Nominator will receive emails notifying them the application is complete and when the applicant can expect to hear back regarding next steps from program staff.

Alternate Formats

All three steps of this application are available as Word document downloads and can be accessed here: Nominator Form | Application. You may also access for preparation purposes; access to these documents is unrestricted and unlimited.

If using this format please return by one of the two following methods:

Email: Complete, scan, and email each section to
Robin Burnett, rburnett@cct.org,
Subject heading: 2018 Leadership Institute Application
by the deadline by which you intend to apply. All three forms must be received by that date for full consideration.

USPS: Complete (suggest using word processing program instead of by hand) and mail completed forms to:
Robin Burnett, Program Manager
c/o Chicago Community Trust
225 N. Michigan Avenue, 2200
Chicago, IL 60601
ATTN: 2018 Leadership Institute Application

2018 Leadership Institute Application

Please contact Robin Burnett, Program Manager, rburnett@cct.org, for assistance, questions or to request for an alternate format.