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Our Mission

Lead for North Carolina (LFNC) aims to recruit, train, and place the state’s most promising young leaders in paid local government fellowships as a means of strengthening our public institutions, supporting our local communities, and cultivating a new generation of public service leaders.

Together, we will strengthen our public institutions, transform our local communities, and cultivate the next generation of public service leaders.

The Burdens Of Local Government

Local governments are being asked to address increasingly complex issues with few resources. What’s more, they’re struggling to prepare for a large percentage of impending staff retirements. On top of that, they often lack of a talent pool that reflects the diversity of their communities.

At the same time, young people don’t have many opportunities to learn about local government and the many career options it represents. Now more than ever, North Carolina’s local governments need—and are calling for—renewed leadership.

Our Goal

We want to place up to twenty recent college graduates in local government fellowships across the state. Each fellow will be matched with a community that is facing considerable challenges and has a significant need for young talent and innovative thinking. LFNC fellows will serve the citizens of North Carolina by:

  • Gaining an understanding of and appreciation for local government
  • Learning to identify and resolve the most pressing community issues
  • Enacting systemic and equity-driven change

Quick Facts


LFNC is a state affiliate of Lead for America, a nonpartisan fellowship program across the United States. Lead for America was launched in 2018, and LFNC is its first state affiliate program. The School of Government has partnered with key organizations, including the NC County Managers Association (NCCCMA), NC League of Municipalities (NCLM), and NC Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) implement LFNC. We are in a pilot phase of this program.