Flagship Program Information

LA Class 37

The primary aim of the Leadership Asheville Program is to strengthen participants’ knowledge of, commitment to, and involvement in collaborative community leadership. The program is designed to develop, connect, and engage citizens from cross-sectors of the community, including business, nonprofit, education, and government.

Participants complete the program with:

  • increased capacity to contribute as effective leaders,
  • a strong connection to the network of Leadership Asheville Program graduates and supporters, and
  • a greater knowledge of the area in which they live.

To learn more, click on the LA 38 program overview below.

LA 38 Program Overview

LA 38 Application and Financial Aid Information

We will begin accepting applications for LA 38 on Friday, March 1, 2019. The application period will close on Sunday, May 12 at 10pm.

LA 38 Financial Aid Information:

Selection to the Leadership Asheville Program is made without regard to financial circumstances. Requests for financial assistance are confidential and have no bearing on the selection process. A request is considered only after the Leadership Asheville participant selection process is complete and will not influence consideration of your application.
Financial assistance is provided to those candidates who are accepted into the program and demonstrate financial need that would otherwise prevent participation. If you work for a company or an organization that employs 25 or more people and they are contributing money to your tuition, you are not eligible for financial assistance.
When granted, assistance award amounts are based on need, the number of requests received, and the amount of funds available each year. The average assistance given is $750. However, Leadership Asheville is working with alumni, friends and supporters to provide three full scholarships to LA 38. These scholarships will be awarded to participants of color from underrepresented communities. Priority for financial assistance is given to participants who are from underrepresented communities, those employed by small nonprofit organizations or are self-employed.

To be considered for financial assistance, you must complete a financial assistance request form and submit it in addition to your LA 38 Program Application and Commitment Statement. Requests are confidential and have no bearing on the selection process.

LA 38 Program Information

Leadership Asheville Equity & Inclusion Statement

We recognize the value to learning and growth that comes with a diverse and inclusive class. We strive to increase the diversity of participants including: race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religion, work experience and gender. Our goal is to create classes that are representative of the diversity in our community, and to co-create with each class an environment that is equitable, respectful and appreciative of difference.

Click here for program brochure.

2019 - 2020 LA 38 Program Dates

**September 11, 2019 - Orientation
**September 19-21, 2019 - Opening Retreat 
October 2, 2019
October 23, 2019
November 13, 2019
December 11, 2019
January 15, 2020
February 12, 2020
March 11, 2020
April 1, 2020
April 22, 2020 - Hold as inclement weather make-up day
May 1-2, 2020 - Closing Retreat
May 13, 2020 - Graduation

** Mandatory Attendance


Candidate Qualifications

Approximately 50 participants are chosen from the pool of applicants to create a diverse class with respect to several factors, including occupation, leadership experience, ethnicity, gender, age, geography, cultural perspective, and time in the community. 

Applicants must meet the minimum qualifications:

  • At least mid-to-late 20s with work experience
  • Cannot be a candidate for public office at the time of application
  • Willing and able to commit the time and resources to fully participate in the program
  • Upon graduating, willing and able to volunteer 20 hours of service to leadership Asheville, or the UNC Asheville programs over the span of 2 years

LA seeks individuals who are:

  • Passionate about strengthening community and civic awareness, commitment, and involvement
  • Curious and comfortable communicating their ideas
  • Interested in their community and committed to making a difference
  • Open-minded
  • Willing to take risks
  • Clearly able to work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Prepared to mobilize other community members
  • Motivated and interested in new learning, self-discovery, community exposure, and networking
  • Ready to use their LA Program experience in serving the community

In order to complete the LA 38 Program, participants are required to:

  • Attend an orientation session on September 11, 2019 (mandatory attendance)
  • Attend a two-day, two-night opening retreat from September 19- September 21, 2019 (mandatory attendance)
  • Attend program days from October 2019 to May 2020 
  • Engage in pre- and post-class reflections, exercises, and reading assignments
  • Participate in and contribute to a small team project and other activities that may take at least 20 additional hours outside of scheduled meeting times

Program Expectations

Attendance Policy

  • Participants are expected to attend every program day. The commitment of each class member is critical to the success of the program. Attendance is mandatory for orientation and the opening overnight retreat. There are also attendance requirements for the remaining program days, allowing participants up to 8 hours of excused absence for unexpected emergencies. Missing between 8 and 16 hours of class meeting time will require a participant to attend an appropriate number of meetings or events the following year in order to officially graduate. If a participant misses more than 16 hours, he or she may be asked to withdraw from the program.

    We understand that from time to time last minute childcare, transportation, or other family issues may make it difficult to meet our attendance requirements. We are committed to working within our own organization and with other local organizations to provide solutions to those issues for our class members when they arise.

Other Commitments

  • Participants contribute time and effort to a team project and participate in additional activities outside the monthly program days to enrich and complete the experience. The schedule and time commitment outside of class time requires at least 20 hours over the 9-month period.


Participants must bring an open mind, a commitment to community service, and a willingness to listen to and seek to understand other perspectives.  Participants are asked to contribute to discussions as well as give others an opportunity to contribute.  The LA Program is a unique experience; many graduates emphasize that “you get out of it what you put into it.”  Participants should be ready to engage fully, build trust with classmates, and embrace new experiences/perspectives.


Graduation Policy

Ultimately, Leadership Asheville reserves the right to make graduation decisions contingent upon a participant’s fulfilling all program requirements.  This includes, but is not limited to, attendance, team project assignments, readings, exercises, and out-of class activities.


After completing the program, graduates are expected to volunteer for 20 hours of service to the Leadership Asheville or to UNC Asheville over the course of 2 years.


The tuition is two-tiered. For companies and organizations with 25 or more full and part-time employees, the tuition is $2,800. In order to maintain the desired diversity in the class make-up, we do offer a discounted tuition of $2,500 for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who are employed in organizations with fewer than 25 full and part-time employees.  With over 140 hours of time invested in the Program, this amounts to a cost of approximately $20 per training hour.

Employee Sponsorships

All applicants are eligible regardless of their own, or their employers,’ abilities to financially support their participation.  Program participant sponsors are expected to support their employees to the best of their ability by giving them time to participate and contributing to tuition.  For-profit, private sector sponsors are encouraged to contribute additional funds to provide financial assistance to those participants who are employed by small nonprofit organizations, public sector entities, or self-employed.

Internal Process

Some corporations/organizations have an internal application process for selecting applicants from their organizations.  Applicants should check with their employers before submitting an application.

Financial Assistance

Partial financial assistance may be available based on need, the number of requests received, and the funds available. Those seeking financial assistance should complete the Financial Assistance Request Form.  Requests are confidential and have no bearing on the selection process. The average amount of financial assistance is $750. Priority for financial assistance is given to participants who are from underrepresented communities, employed by small nonprofit organizations, public sector entities, or are self-employed.  Participants employed by large, private-sector companies are not eligible for assistance.

Leadership Asheville is committed to equity and diversity and to making its program available to all members of our community. Full scholarships may be available for a limited number of individuals from underrepresented communities who might otherwise be unable to participate in the program. Please contact us directly for more information.

LA Candidate Nomination

The 38th year of the Leadership Asheville program will begin this fall. Applications will be accepted from March 1 - May 12, 2019. If you are you a proud LA Graduate and know a friend, colleague, or employee who would benefit from the program - Nominate them for the Leadership Asheville program today!