Back in January, a new class of our Federation’s New Leaders Project (NLP) participants began their yearlong leadership training by learning about Los Angeles history, particularly the story of Jews in L.A.
And so it was only fitting that last Tuesday night, the graduating NLP Class of 2013 stood in the majestic Bradley Tower on the top floor of City Hall to reflect on the city’s future, and the role that Jews – and these new Jewish leaders – can play.
The 19 new graduates are set to join the next generation of Jewish civic leaders now that they’ve completed the New Leaders Project. Cheered on by friends, family, and NLP alumni, each graduate committed to a “Contract with L.A.” – a promise that they will use their leadership skills, policy understanding, contacts with key leaders, and Jewish morals to make change in Los Angeles where it’s needed most.
City Controller Ron Galperin, a Jewish leader himself, urged the graduates to “take risks, dream big, and believe in yourselves, even when other people say it can’t be done.” Indeed, many of the participants are already doing so through their civic projects which are a core component of the NLP curriculum. The graduates have taken on a range of challenges, working to implement their ideas for curbing hunger in the city, reducing recidivism, making public spaces and Metro stations more eclectic, helping at-risk youth find internships and gain work experience, educating new government staff about key issues, and getting more Angelenos involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The NLP graduation capped a year in which participants heard from top elected leaders, policy experts and community advocates, and honed their leadership skills. This diverse group of men and women came from different backgrounds and different professions. Some are businesspeople, non-profit heads, writers; others work as lawyers or City Hall staffers. But they were united in their passion for making L.A. a better place.
The Jewish Federation congratulates all of the graduates and will continue working with these New Leaders as they fight to improve our community.
NLP is currently recruiting for its class of 2014. Open to young, civic-minded Jewish leaders ages 27-40, the program is the premier Jewish civic leadership training program in the city. Candidates can apply at www.JewishLA.org/NLP. The application deadline is November 30, 2013.
Read an opinion piece on the importance of Jewish civic leadership by NLP Steering Committee member Shawn Landres in this week’s Jewish Journal.
The New Leaders Project is a program of The Jewish Federation’s Community Engagement Strategic Initiative, which mobilizes the Los Angeles Jewish community to pursue an inclusive society that reflects the best of American and Jewish values, a strong Jewish future and a safe and vibrant Israel. For more information on NLP, contact Dan Loeterman at DLoeterman@JewishLA.org or (323) 761-8163.