Gulf Coast Leadership Institute

Our leadership-development initiative trains and connects aspiring, emerging, and experienced community leaders from across the Gulf Coast region.

Gulf Coast Leadership Institute

At Gulf Coast Community Foundation, we believe that leadership is the foundation of community. Our Gulf Coast Leadership Institute taps, trains, and connects emerging and experienced community leaders—about 300 so far—from across the Gulf Coast region. The result is a growing network of skilled, action-oriented leaders who are committed to using their new skills to help transform their communities through service.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation continues to monitor developments related to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has on our region. Our top priority is the health and safety of our community and our Gulf Coast team.


All foundation events and programs are postponed: All Gulf Coast Community Foundation scheduled in-person events are postponed for the foreseeable future. This includes Invest in Incredible workshops, meetings, and events. 2020 Gulf Coast Leadership Institute has been canceled. The 2021 Gulf Coast Leadership Institute will occur in the Summer of 2021, applications will become available in April 2021.  

All completed 2020 applications will be held and considered for the 2021 program. 

Our leadership-development initiative kicked off in 2006 as the North Port Leadership Institute. At that time, North Port was a rapidly growing community with many residents new to the area, and it faced a host of challenges that come with such growth and demographic change.

Gulf Coast recognized an opportunity to build leadership within this dynamic community by providing high-quality training and resources to foster a network of skilled leaders who reflected the diversity of North Port’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

After two successful North Port Leadership Institute classes, aspiring leaders from other communities asked for similar training opportunities, so we expanded our leadership initiative to the wider region.

Class of 2015

Eleven classes of Gulf Coast Leadership Institute later, some 300 community members have participated in the annual program, and many continue to work together on projects to improve their communities.

Gulf Coast works with the nationally recognized Leadership Development Institute at Eckerd College. Since 1980, LDI at Eckerd College has delivered high-quality, assessment-based leadership programs to thousands of leaders. As a Network Associate of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) in Greensboro, North Carolina, LDI serves the needs of the national and international business community.

The application process is competitive, and Gulf Coast offers all training and resources at no cost to participants in exchange for their commitment to use their new skills through community service.

Gulf Coast also fosters continued development of this network of knowledgeable leaders by hosting biannual reunion training sessions open to all Leadership Institute alumni. These sessions are also led by faculty from the Fanning Institute. 

The annual application for Gulf Coast Leadership Institute is typically released in January or February and due in March.

Training sessions generally occur from April through June. Visit our website early in the year for the latest updates. 

Class of 2014