2021 Emerging Community Leaders Program Application

Thank you for considering United Way's Emerging Community Leaders program! We believe this is the best program for young professionals looking to get involved in our community's nonprofit sector and meet other community-minded people.

The ECL program is offered FREE OF CHARGE thanks to our sponsors, Barham Benefit Group and U of I Community Credit Union.


Calendar and Program Overview

Before submitting your application, take some time to get to know our ECL program and make sure it's a good fit for you. 

2021 In-Person Program Calendar, Virtual Program Calendar, and COVID-19 Protocols

Application Deadlines

We encourage everyone interested in ECL to apply early! The ECL class is limited in size each year - the application form will close when we reach 35 applicants.

The 2021 ECL Application Deadline is May 14, 2020, at 12 pm. 

ECL Candidate Information

  1. We are looking for highly motivated young professionals who would like to CONNECT with other young professionals, SERVE our community through volunteerism, and LEAD by learning about and tackling our community's challenges. We are building future leaders in Champaign County!

  2. All applicants must provide one letter of recommendation. Recommendations may be from a professional, volunteer, or personal source.

  3. We are looking for applicants who plan to live and/or work in Champaign County for the foreseeable future.

  4. The ECL program is coordinated for young professionals between 21 and 40 years of age. Our program is unable to accept full-time undergraduate students.

  5. We will limit the size of the class to ensure everyone participating has a meaningful experience and to comply with COVID-19 protocols.

A Note on Letters of Recommendation

All ECL candidates must provide one letter of recommendation. The letter should share what the ECL candidate may gain from our program, and provide insight into the candidate’s interest in serving the community. Recommendations may be from a professional, volunteer, or personal source.

We cannot admit anyone to the ECL program without a letter of recommendation.  You can upload your letter of recommendation with the online application - OR - you may email it separately to the ECL Committee, c/o Mary Noel Stefan. Letters of recommendation are due by May 14, 2021, at 12 pmApplications without letters of recommendation or applications otherwise deemed incomplete will not be considered.  It is not necessary to provide multiple letters.

2021 ECL Application

Before filling out the application, be sure to take a look at the Class Calendar and COVID19 protocols.

2021 Calendar and COVID Protocols

ECL Format

The ECL program is best experienced in person. We have enacted COVID protocols to keep everyone safe, masks are mandatory, and the class size is limited to 35.

We also recognize this is a unique year. United Way will offer a virtual ECL option in 2021 if a minimum of 10 people apply.  The virtual program is separate from the in-person program, held on a different date and time. It will feature similar, but not identical, content.
Indicate your ECL Program Choice

My Contact Information

Your personal information is protected under United Way of Champaign County's Privacy Policy. Our promise to you: your information will never be shared or sold.

Personal Information
Workplace Information
How did you hear about the ECL program?
How did you hear about the ECL program?

Short Answers

Concise, informational answers will help our selection committee get to know you well. Responses are limited to 150 words. We recommend typing your answers into a word processing program and pasting the responses here. These fields do not accept text formatting (bold, italics, bulleted lists, etc).
Please list any volunteer activities you are currently involved with or have been involved with over the past
five years (i.e. committees, organizations, special events, board seats, etc.)

Letter of Recommendation

You can upload your letter of recommendation today (preferred!).

You may also email it separately to the ECL Committee, c/o Mary Noel StefanLetters of recommendation are due by the final application deadline, May 14, 2021 at 12 pm. Applications without letters of recommendation or applications otherwise deemed incomplete will not be considered.

File Guidelines:
Acceptable formats: .pdf, .doc, .docx
5MB limit

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.