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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Leadership Initiatives

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, International, International Development, Leadership Development

Mission: Leadership Initiatives improves communities worldwide by empowering their university students to design creative, effective and sustainable development projects. Through our service initiatives, we prepare these students to utilize local resources, engage the community, and implement sustainable solutions to the problems of underdevelopment.

Results: Since 2008, Leadership Initiatives has developed 41 different businesses which employ 8 people on average. Other accomplishments of Leadership Initiatives include an expansion into Kogi State, Nigeria due to a $100,000 grant from the A3 Foundation. The Orphan Care Program, Fish Farming Centers, Autorepair shops, Skills Acquisition Initiatives, Computer Literacy programs have changed thousands of lives. These projects have allowed daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews to receive an education because a family member is now employed by a business created through Leadership Initiatives.

Geographic areas served: Developing Communities around the world with a current focus on Nigeria.

Programs: Leadership Initiatives has advanced through the many Microprojects, which serve to better the Nigerian community. These programs include developing businesses and creating jobs in Nigeria, consequently allowing families to have the means to send their children to school. Leadership Initiatives not only has volunteers on the ground in Nigeria, but also receives support from American high school students. The International Business Alliance Program selects a certain amount of students per year to participate in this program, which allows high school students to partake in the development of the many businesses in Nigeria. In exchange these students receive assistance in their college and scholarship application process as well as SAT and ACT tutoring. The programs led by Leadership Initiatives serve to provide a steady income for Nigerian families as well as to promote leadership and critical thinking skills among the youth in the United States.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

Leadership Initiatives is a great example of social entrepreneurship. The people behind the organization are driven -- their bottom line is social capital. The LI model is to provide just enough assistance and infrastructure that the people in the community can establish their own businesses -- which often beget more businesses. I have watched this organization grow from the inspired idea of a college student ten years ago to an engine for social change fueled by altruism, business savvy, and a sincere desire to help improve people's quality of life -- by showing folks how to do it themselves. I have taught in the university system for over 25 years and specialize in social entrepreneurship. Leadership Initiatives is an example of the best of the best.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My commitment to Leadership Initiatives (LI) grew exponentially when I realized that the businesses that LI had helped to create turned into engines of community development. The businesses are not only succeeding but are building infrastructure in their own communities, are creating orphanages to fill in for absent social services, and are faithful donors to LI as well as volunteers to one another. LI demonstrates the achievements that can be accomplished by committed volunteers working with dedicated international grass-roots entrepreneurs and local micro-financing from community middle-class sources. By partnering U.S. students with the local entrepreneurs to provide help as project managers and fund-raisers, LI is creating a learning opportunity that gives our next generation of Americans a powerful understanding of grass-roots business development and international exposure. Training for the local entrepreneurs includes skills, leadership, and financial classes to ensure not only success in the short-run, but sustainable growth in the future.