Show/Hide more photosBingham Fellows offers leadership development and professional development for community leaders

Putting Leadership into Action, Solutions into Place.

About the Program

The Bingham Fellows program annually brings together about 40 experienced Louisville leaders to address one of the region’s most critical issues. A diverse class of participants is selected following a competitive application process to ensure the class has content expertise and unique voices representing all parts of the community. As part of the program, this cohort of professional peers meets with local stakeholders and receives training in social innovation. As their program year progresses, they put into practice skills that credential them as a leader of leaders.

Outcomes from over 25 years of Bingham Fellows projects demonstrate both imagination and practical gathering of critical resources to address obvious social needs. Learn about the outcomes of the 2019 class, whose topic was “It Takes a Village: Mobilizing Community for Student Success.

Recent Bingham Fellows projects include the West Louisville community development organization OneWest, regular Café Louie conversations with elected officials at Louisville Free Public Library locations, a sustainable model for neighborhood ‘Little Free Libraries,’ and City Champs, a talent attraction and retention program now managed by Greater Louisville Inc. The impact of the Fellows goes back to the 1990s with the creation of The Housing Partnership, construction of the Presbyterian Community Center, growth of local farmers’ markets, and numerous other positive outcomes.

See highlights of the Bingham Fellows outcomes since 1989.

Bingham Fellows was created in 1988 through a $500,000 endowment from Mary and Barry Bingham Sr.

About the 2021 Bingham Fellows topic

The Bingham Fellows topic for 2021 is: “Belonging: Building a Culture of Inclusivity

  • “Bingham Fellows was an amazing opportunity to meet, learn from, and network with Louisville’s top leaders in every industry.  Additionally, I’m proud of the impact we were able to have on an important community issue, and look forward to seeing the results for many years to come.”
    Matthew Ayers (BF ’15), Chief Administrative Officer, Norton Hospital

  • “Bingham Fellows provided me an opportunity to collaborate with other community leaders who are passionate about making Louisville a world class city. As a Fellow, you learn a lot about the topic and the city in general, but the most rewarding aspect of the experience is the camaraderie with your classmates. When you have that much energy and interest together in one room, the sense of the possible is empowering.”
    Mary Ellen Wiederwohl (BF ’11), Chief, Louisville Forward, Louisville Metro Government

  • “To be a graduate of the Bingham Fellows means a lot to me, especially with the significant legacy of the program’s namesake.  I especially appreciate the opportunity to meet and work with so many of the new generation of leaders from our region.  We came together around one common goal, and with their energy and enthusiasm, I know that together we are able to help create a better Louisville and a better Kentucky!”
    Skipper Martin (BF ’15), Strategic Partner, McCarthy Strategic Solutions

  • “The Bingham Fellows experience has been terrific. I’ve really enjoyed working with such a talented and high energy group of people. The passion for improving Louisville and preparing our community for the future has been contagious. This experience has opened my eyes to the tremendous need for a vision, tools and a roadmap to enable our community to thrive in the future.”
    Wendy Brown (BF ’11), GM – Digital and ECommerce, GE Appliances, a Haier company

  • “Bingham Fellows provided an opportunity like no other to connect with top leadership around a community issue. My organization was able to contribute to a larger movement and have access to expertise and additional partners that will increase our impact in the community.”
    Steve Tarver (BF ’12), President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Louisville

How Individuals Benefit

• You’ll have the rare opportunity to make a significant difference while putting your leadership skills to the test.
• Gain recognition as a community leader providing solutions for tough civic challenges.
• Take a deep dive into the issue and gain a greater understanding of your community by hearing from subject matter experts.
• Grow your network by collaborating with a diverse group of professionals to solve complex problems.

How Organizations Benefit

By sending a representative from your organization to participate in the Bingham Fellows, your company will:

• Grow its reach and collaborate with a unique cross-section of organizations in our city.
• Benefit from the opportunity to meet and work with the area’s top experts and key players.
• Gain access to advanced leadership techniques in thinking big and effecting change through participation.

Who Should Apply

The Bingham Fellows program is considered our most advanced leadership course. Community leaders who have expertise or have a strong interest in the Bingham Fellows topic along with a commitment toward positive change should apply. Bingham Fellows participants can be graduates of other Leadership Louisville Center programs including Focus Louisville, Ignite Louisville, and Leadership Louisville, but non-graduates are also encouraged to apply. Graduates of other community and state leadership prorams are also encouraged to participate. If the tuition of this program is a barrier, tuition support can be requested as part of the application process. Requests for tuition support do not diminish your chance of being accepted into the cohort.

See the list of Bingham Fellows graduates since 1991.

Time Commitment

Bingham Fellows participants must attend the mandatory orientation in January and a mandatory two-day retreat in May. Class members are expected to attend each of the program days, which typically take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(see 2021 Bingham Fellows program calendar)

Additionally, a considerable amount of time is spent outside of the program day in small groups to further explore the topic and implement solutions. Groups are formed and begin meeting outside of program days beginning in April.


Tuition for the Bingham Fellows program is $4,500 and includes overnight retreat lodging, meals, and materials.

Tuition support is available if the cost is a barrier. You can request support through the Bingham Fellows application form. A typical award would not exceed half of the tuition cost.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2021 Bingham Fellows class will be open September 24 – November 6, 2020. Learn about the application process

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See Frequently Asked Questions about Bingham Fellows or contact Aimee Jewell at (502) 561-0458 or via email.