The Neighborhood Leadership Fellows (NLF), is an advanced leadership program through Creating Whole Communities representing a partnership of UMSL, MU Extension, and St. Louis Promise Zone. NLF aims to increase North St. Louis City and County residents’ participation in civic decision-making tables in order to produce more equitable regional policies for neighborhoods.
By increasing and amplifying the voices of under-represented residents at the civic decision-making tables, they will produce more equitable regional policies for neighborhoods. To do this, NLF focuses on increasing North St. Louis resident participation on boards, commissions, in elected office, and at other decision-making tables. The baseline data on this issue demonstrates stark inequities, for example only 7% of seats on St. Louis City boards and commissions are filled by North St. Louis residents (2017). NLF creates a platform for Fellows to have amplified voice in the region, and the successes over the past 3 years have been robust. Two NLF Alumni are now State Representatives, five NLF alumni won local municipal aldermanic or council seats, two have been elected as committeemen. Fellows have joined commissions, grant selection committees, started organizations dedicated to conflict resolution, received national Fellowships, been featured on CNN, and in local media outlets such as the St. Louis Post Dispatch, STL Public Radio and the St. Louis American.