Leadership Programs

FOCUS Impact Fellows

Launched in 2016 as the next level of “hands-on” leadership development, the FOCUS Impact Fellows program is designed to do two things:

  1. Bring together experienced St. Louis leaders from across sectors for an immersive and innovative project-based change-making curriculum focused on crucial regional social and civic issues seen through a racial equity lens;
  2. Leverage the potential of participants’ unique skills, networks, and resources, in radical collaboration with community organizations and experts, to create a tangible impact in the St. Louis region.

The Impact Fellows program has distinguished itself among leadership programs by combining a project-based curriculum creating real-world impact with a core concentration on racial equity.

This Year’s Focus: 21st Century St. Louis, A Better Future

2020 and 2021 have underscored the need to examine our shared fate as a community, and the importance of thinking and working in new and equitable ways across old divisions to effect change. Given this new landscape, can we imagine a different St. Louis, one that is a national model for equitable community, and once again a top-tier U.S. city? If you can imagine this, FOCUS Impact Fellows can help make it a reality. The program is designed to help leaders collaborate effectively across sectors and outside the box to identify new solutions.

The 2021-22 FOCUS Impact Fellows will be a cohort of leaders engaging in project-based, high-intensity, cross-sector collaborations. These collaborative projects will apply a racial equity lens to engage our region’s most pressing issues, in the context of our new 21st century reality. With a crisis-hardened sense of clarity and collective purpose, we will apply the urgency of the short term to the long-term challenges our region must address, as well as to the many real opportunities our region has to break down barriers and build an inclusive city that works for everyone.

Impact Fellows work directly with community organizations on the front lines. Past  cohorts have tackled issues including health disparities, workforce access and re-entry for the justice-involved, food injustice, youth violence prevention, and local government reform, always keeping our region’s needs, evidence-based practices and racial equity at the forefront of their work. Community partners for this work have included St. Louis Integrated Health Network, BJC HealthCare, Affinia Healthcare, LaunchCode, MO Department of Corrections, the Violence Prevention Commission, St. Louis Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families, St. Louis County Department of Public Health, Mission: St. Louis, and more.

Who Should Apply

If you are an experienced leader looking for meaningful civic engagement on issues critical to our region, you may be a great fit for FOCUS Impact Fellows.

We seek:

  • Established leaders with an interest in changing the definition of “business as usual” in St. Louis
  • Energetic visionaries with a desire to bring about meaningful change in our region that positively affects ALL in our community.
  • Community partner organizations who are ready to tap the energy of the next cohort on a specific issue or project to make an Impact in St. Louis.

    What to Expect

    The FOCUS Impact Fellows experience is immersive, hands-on, challenging – and rewarding. You’ll spend the first half of the program taking a deep dive into the issue, with unparalleled access to regional experts, agencies and organizations. Then, you’ll work alongside your peers to design and implement a sustainable project to address the issue in collaboration with area partners and make a meaningful impact.

    FOCUS Impact Fellows is 10-month program, with sessions held 1-2 times a month from September-June. You’ll also spend time outside of program days for individual and group work on the project(s). 

    In addition to the knowledge gained, projects developed and networks built, you’ll gain considerable training and experience in change management, problem-solving, systems thinking, group dynamics and project management.

    Ready to Take the Next Step?

    Apply to be part of our 2021-22 cohort of FOCUS Impact Fellows!

    Sign Up

    How to Apply

    Applications are now open for our 2021-22 cohort of FOCUS Impact Fellows!

    You can also nominate someone you know for the program.


    Tuition for FOCUS Impact Fellows is $3,500 and includes a one-year FOCUS St. Louis membership.

    Tuition is often covered in part or full by the participant’s employer. Partial scholarship assistance is available to those with demonstrated financial need. Scholarship application details will be provided to those selected for the cohort.


    For More Information

    Wally Siewert, Ph.D.
    FOCUS Impact Fellows Director
    tel: (314) 657-4026
    Email Wally