FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Leadership Fort Wayne (LFW), a program of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., has received a $7,600 grant from AWS Foundation to provide two full scholarships in the 2018-19 Leadership Fort Wayne class. The grant will support two individuals with disabilities participating in the nine-month program.
LFW is committed to diversity and seeks to bring individuals together representing the rich tapestry that makes up the greater Fort Wayne community. AWS Foundation’s grant further strengthens the program’s commitment to convening a broad and diverse group of leaders to learn and develop leadership skills while gaining a deeper awareness and understanding of community needs and opportunities.
This is the third year LFW has received a grant funding the inclusion of two individuals with disabilities.
“Leadership should reflect the diversity of the community and ensure that decision-making is inclusive of people of all abilities,” says Patti Hays, AWS Foundation’s CEO. “We are excited to continue to provide individuals with disabilities more opportunities to participate in leadership roles and to help provide for future leaders the opportunity to work with people of differing abilities.”
“I relocated to Fort Wayne in 2006 from western Kentucky. I knew that Fort Wayne was a wonderful place to live, but until I experienced LFW, I really had no idea the important history and great assets that surround our community,” said James Ezell, a 2018 LFW graduate and recipient of last year’s AWS Foundation grant. “I can certainly say that this experience has made me even more excited about my future in Fort Wayne.”
“Leadership Fort Wayne has a long-standing commitment to diversity and strives to bring people together with different backgrounds and experiences,” said Cheri Becker, vice president of investor services and programs at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “AWS Foundation’s grant provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate tuition-free and allows us to better prepare and engage them in our civic conversations.”
LFW started in 1983 as a means to engage community leaders for the benefit of the greater community and community serving organizations. Since its inception, nearly 1,300 individuals have participated in the program. Leadership Fort Wayne consists of nine full-day program days over nine months. All individuals work on a Community Action Team project during the course of the program. Following program completion, individuals are encouraged to serve a 12-month internship on a non-profit board.
Individuals interested in participating in the Leadership Fort Wayne Class of 2019 can apply online at LFWApp.GFWInc.com. Applicants for the LFW program are evaluated on the merits of their application. All applications are due June 30. Late applications will not be considered.
About Leadership Fort Wayne
Since 1983, LFW has been building better leaders, developing skills that prepare them to support the growth and economic goals of the community and be better employees. They learn and grow together for eight months, going ‘behind the headlines’ for the real story behind Fort Wayne’s most valued treasures. Participants work in Community Action Teams, raising funds and creating partnerships to implement projects. In 2015, Operation: Riverfront spread awareness about possibilities for the rivers, the Giving Back Fort Wayne volunteer expo introduced citizens to nonprofits, and the city’s first Bike Share program launched in April 2016 with the City of Fort Wayne.
About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc., focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement.
About AWS Foundation
Founded in 2007, AWS Foundation supports a wide range of organizations and service agencies in Northeast Indiana working to develop a community in which people with enduring intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities are engaged fully and meaningfully in all aspects of community life. For more information, visit www.awsfoundation.org.