We are excited to announce major innovations to our popular Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI) course, which was launched nine years ago to inspire and provide training for women wishing to run for office or become more civically engaged.
In a groundbreaking partnership, LIPPI 2.0 will be taught by faculty from the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy and the Civic Engagement and Service Learning program on the UMass flagship campus in Amherst, making it more accessible to women throughout the four counties served by the Women’s Fund. The new course, LIPPI 2.0: Strategies for Social Change, will give women who wish to be champions of their communities the tools to do so. While still a Women’s Fund program, LIPPI 2.0 curriculum will be designed by UMass Amherst in partnership with the Women’s Fund and align with our goal to see more women leaders. With only 1/3 of elected positions in Western Massachusetts held by women, Western Massachusetts needs more women championing for its residents.
“We’re excited to bring the resources of UMass Amherst to bear on this new course,” said Deborah Keisch of UMass Civic Engagement and Service Learning, who will teach the class. “We look forward to helping students gain the skills they’ll need to make positive social change and supporting the Women’s Fund in developing the next generation of social-change agents.”
Students in LIPPI 2.0 will explore pathways for achieving social change, with a focus on developing knowledge to take action. Students will consider the foundations of U.S. government, as well as current political, economic, and social structures, and examine issues facing western Massachusetts communities. The course is grounded in experiential learning, with students engaging in work in their community. Students will identify a social issue of interest to them, research it, and then report on how it is in being addressed through policy or advocacy.
LIPPI 2.0: Strategies for Social Change will be a 500-level course, allowing students to receive credit that can be used towards an undergraduate or graduate level degree. The course will generally take place one Saturday a month between September and May and culminate in a June graduation. Two classes will take place during the workweek to allow participants to journey to Beacon Hill and Springfield to meet with lawmakers and local leaders.
Applications for the course will be online at mywomensfund.org in early June. The first session is scheduled for September 7, 2019. Financial aid is available for those who cannot afford the full tuition cost of $2100 (a drop from the previous $2500 tuition cost.) Women and those who identify as women are encouraged to apply as soon as applications open, as the course will be limited to no more than 25 participants.