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Organizing for this Moment 

As we make sense of our lives during the challenges posed by this global pandemic, it’s natural to feel paralyzed by fear and isolation. Yet, within this time of great uncertainty—not only concerning public health, but also an upcoming election where Wisconsinites could decide the next President of the United States—there are opportunities to come together and inspire leadership.

Since knocking on doors and holding public gatherings are not options right now, the WiLD Project is re-imagining a way forward. We are proud to announce the WiLD Academy, a new online opportunity for ongoing learning, developing ourselves as organizers, and building the foundation for effective campaigns that can rise to the challenges of the moment.

What You Will Learn

This 8-week online course on Leadership, Organizing, and Action, presented by the Wisconsin Leadership Development Project (WiLD Project), offers participants the opportunity to learn five basic leadership practices:

  1. How to articulate a story of why you were called to lead, a story of those whom you hope to mobilize, and a story of action: self, us, and now.
  2. How to build intentional relationships as the foundation of purposeful collective action.
  3. How to structure your team with shared purpose, ground rules, and roles for effective leadership.  
  4. How to strategize turning your resources into the power to achieve clear goals.
  5. How to translate strategy into measurable, motivational, and effective action.

WiLD Academy Overview

Modeled after celebrated civil rights organizer Marshall Ganz’s Leadership, Organizing, and Action course offered at Harvard University, here’s what you need to know about the WiLD Academy:

  • Time Commitment: This is an 8-week course, with two 90-minute meetings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00-5:30 p.m. CST) and homework assigned in between
  • Online Learning: The course will be conducted on an engaging online platform and will feature live trainings, readings, small group discussions, reflection exercises, and a personalized organizing project
  • Training Team: Top trainers Nneka Akubeze, Jake Waxman, Dan Grandone, and others will lead sessions and provide small group coaching (click here for trainer bios)
  • Cost: While the actual cost of the workshop is over $600 per person, we are committed to price not being a barrier for participation and are offering it on a sliding scale based on need starting at $600-$100 per person (scholarships also available)
  • Application Deadline: Friday, April 24th at 5:00 p.m. CST (spots are limited and priority will be given to groups of 3-8 people with an organizing project)


If you are organizing members of your community to create change and prepare for the 2020 elections, this course is for you. All experience levels are welcome, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been at it a lifetime. Those already familiar with topics covered will have a chance to bring more intentionality to the work they’re already doing—both for their own craft and as they consider how to pass it along to others.

Participants will be intentionally recruited in small groups of 3-8 people, and will develop organizing campaigns within their own organization, community, or cause. In some cases, groups will use the training to launch a new organizing effort and, in others, deepen their work on an existing campaign.

We are excited to have four of the WiLD Project’s top trainers available to serve as trainers and small group coaches for the WiLD Academy: Nneka Akubeze, Jake Waxman, Dan Grandone, and others. Together, these trainers bring extensive experience in organizing and leading workshops, and are committed to creating transformational learning spaces. This team has worked closely together as the primary trainers for the WiLD Project’s multi-day workshops these past 4+ years. Click here for trainer bios.

Each participant will be assigned a trainer they will be in a coaching relationship with throughout the 8-week course.

This framework has been adapted in diverse cultures and contexts with people launching grassroots efforts around the world—and right here in Wisconsin! In the past 4 years, over 1,600 participants from across the state have attended WiLD workshops and applied their learning to many inspiring campaigns addressing: public education funding, health care access, mass incarceration, voter rights and engagement, and racial and economic justice. Many have gone on to successfully run for elected office at the local and statewide level.

For those just getting a start, the training can be a way to lay the foundation for your team through the story telling and relationship building work, and to take the next steps in launching your team through clarifying your team’s structure, strategy and capacity to take action.

For those who have already been engaging in campaign work, this is an opportunity to re-engage from a new perspective. There have been many examples of existing teams who are feeling stuck with the same small group of leaders shouldering all the work or struggling with how to strategically move forward with the problem they’re trying to address. This training can be a way to reignite the fire within and create a transformative space for for developing new leaders who may have expressed interest, but haven’t been invited to make a deeper investment in their own growth.

This course will be an opportunity to learn from many groups across the state at different phases of the organizing process–and a place to find sources of strength in relationship with a diverse community of organizers. In this way, the whole can be more than sum of our parts.