Developing Future Leaders

Our country urgently needs more leaders who share our vision of a world with a healthy environment and healthy communities, protected by a just and equitable democracy. To empower more people in our movement to become leaders, LCV and our state affiliates offer robust leadership development opportunities.

Young person standing in front of a wall of sticky notes at a leadership training.

Pro-environment leadership requires special skills and knowledge.

LCV and our state affiliates provide pro-environment prospective candidates with training that centers equity and racial justice.
We have trained 80 potential candidates across 15 states through our Candidate Academies, and several hundred more through our monthly training webinars.
Our programs continue to bolster the next generation of environmental leadership.

Building Environmental Leadership

We need leaders who lead with an equity lens, and understand that the changes we need to transform our economy will impact every community differently.

LCV and our state affiliates do many kinds of leadership development with the volunteers we work with. Investing in our volunteers – some of whom go on to become staff – is one way we build a stronger environmental movement. We develop more skilled and capable leaders who lead powerful change in their communities to advance strong environmental policy. In order to transition to a clean energy economy and shift our country and our planet to a sustainable way of life, we need courageous leaders to take on the greatest challenge of our generation.

Read our Spring 2023 Program Update (PDF).

  • The Candidate Academy prepares potential candidates to run for a government office on an pro-environment, pro-equity platform.

    LCV launched its first-ever Candidate Academy for our state affiliate leaders in the Conservation Voter Movement in 2020 to fill a need for environment-focused training. There was a lot of training available for potential candidates thinking about running for office, but none with a pro-environment, equity and racial justice focus. 

    Because the Candidate Academy is part of our strategy to advance our racial justice and equity work, it was important to work with re:power as our training partner. re:power’s framework is focused on inclusive politics, and seeks to increase representation of underrepresented groups in elected office and the progressive movement. This partnership has allowed us to create a training that is welcoming and inclusive for a diverse group of leaders, and also to talk specifically about the issues that women candidates and candidates of color frequently experience on the campaign trail, and how to prepare for them. 

    In addition to all the typical content of a prospective candidate training, our nonpartisan academy focuses on relationship-building and listening as critical skills for candidates to develop. It builds skills in thinking about environmental issues in an intersectional way, and in thinking critically about what it means to be an ally to marginalized groups in a non-transactional way. 

    We plan to continue LCV’s Candidate Academy at least once per year, and to work with state affiliates and allied organizations to identify other opportunities for prospective candidate training as needed. Please let us know if you are holding a prospective candidate training and would like to include content or a trainer or speaker from LCV. 

    Are you a pro-environment leader with an interest in running for office? Tell us about yourself here. We’ll try to connect you with candidate training in your area or with our next Candidate Academy in your area.

    For more information about this work, please contact us at

  • We support newly-elected officials from across the Conservation Voters Movement to become the strongest and most effective leaders they can be.

    Serving in elected office is challenging, especially when you are coming in with the ambition to change the status quo, whether on a School Board or serving in Congress. And we need leaders who are willing to work against the status quo when it comes to our democracy and our planet!

    In 2020, we began offering governance training to newly-elected officials from across the Conservation Voters Movement, with the goal of supporting them to become the strongest and most effective leaders they can be. We do this through direct training in partnership with our state leagues as well as through trainings in partnership with other organizations, like re:power’s Progressive Governance Academy and Climate Cabinet Education.

    Below are some partners that provide support to newly-elected officials, and we encourage elected leaders to take advantage of the programs that these organizations offer, as well as the training that LCV offers directly.

    Progressive Governance Academy with re:power

    Climate Cabinet Education provides climate policy and data to support elected officials pursuing strong climate policy in their districts

    The Lawmaker Network has a policy library and a fellowship to support newly-elected officials

    New American Leaders has an Elected Official Network that supports newly-elected leaders

    Elected Officials to Protect America is a network of current and former elected officials focused on addressing the climate crisis

    Local Progress is a network of progressive elected officials, though their policy focus is not on the environment

  • We share opportunities to participate in partner organizations’ candidate trainings as well.

    In addition to our own Candidate Academy, we often share opportunities with our members to participate in other organizations’ prospective candidate training efforts, and sometimes co-sponsor and co-train with these partners as well. We encourage you to check out what they have to offer.

    Arena focuses on first-time candidates, and trains both candidates and campaign staff.

    Blue Horizon Texas works to recruit, prepare, and support Democratic and progressive candidates running in rural, exurban, and traditionally Republican districts in Texas by improving the support infrastructure, knowledge base, and resources available for non-traditional candidates in underinvested races across the state.

    The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) works with both Asian candidates and elected officials.

    Climate Cabinet Action helps local leaders run, win and legislate on the climate crisis. They deliver local climate talking points, messaging, policy solutions and voting records for free for climate candidates across the country.

    Collective PAC works to increase Black representation at the state and national levels and has a Black Campaign School for training Black candidates.

    Dirtroad Organizing provides concrete tools and strategies to support organizers, staff, legislators, and aspiring leaders who are working towards an equitable and just democracy in rural America.

    Disability Victory is dedicated to training and connecting disabled leaders who fight for progressive change. Their candidate training program is called the Disability Victory Academy.

    Emily’s List focuses their training on Democratic self-identified women.

    Emerge America’s training is focused on Democratic women.

    Higher Heights for America provides training to Black women candidates.

    Indian American Impact empowers South Asian and Indian American communities — some of the fastest growing voter populations — through community engagement, civic partnerships, candidate support, and data & research in order to encourage a pro-democracy government that uplifts all people.

    Latino Victory focuses on Latinx candidates in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada.

    LGBTQ Victory Institute focuses on training for openly LGBTQ candidates.

    Movement School provides campaign training skills to progressive candidates and activists.

    The National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) trains both campaign staff and candidates in campaign skills.

    New American Leaders’ candidate training is for first and second generation immigrants interested in running for office.

    New Politics Academy focuses on candidate training for veterans and folks who have done national service.

    Progressive Change Campaign Committee focuses their candidate training on progressive candidates.

    re:power provides training to candidates, campaign staff and movement folks more broadly, with a focus on inclusive politics.

    Run for Something is focused on young, diverse progressives running in down-ballot races.

    VoteRunLead provides candidate training for women and offers many resources free online to anyone.

    If there is an organization that should be listed here, let us know at!

LCV governance training participants pose in front of the Vermont State House in Montpelier. Newly-elected members of the Vermont State Legislature, shown here at the at the Vermont State House in Montpelier, participated in an LCV governance training.
Priya Sundareshan standing outside posing for a photo.
Priya Sundareshan

Arizona State Senator and 2022 LCV Candidate Academy Alum

“The Candidate Academy helped me to deliver and test my environmental messaging with a group of other environmental candidates. It really helped to have other people to workshop ideas with.”

Priya Sundareshan

Arizona State Senator and 2022 LCV Candidate Academy Alum

Spring 2023 Program Update

Recorded Webinars

Watch the Candidate Academy webinar “Candidate Recruitment Basics.”

Watch the Candidate Academy webinar “Engaging Constituents on Controversial Issues.”

Watch the Candidate Academy webinar “Staffing Your Campaign: New Models and Developing Local Talent.”

Watch the Candidate Academy webinar “How to Use Transportation to Win and Fight Climate Change in Your Community.”

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