Rockwood’s Story

Since being founded in 2000, Rockwood Leadership Institute has grown and changed a lot. Here’s the story of how a small group of environmental activists became a 6,000-strong network of changemakers in many sectors, movements, and countries.

2000

Rockwood Leadership Program Created

Along with a dedicated group of environmental activists, Robert Gass and Andre Carothers co-founded Rockwood Leadership Program from a kitchen table in Berkeley, CA.

2003

First Cohort of the Leading From The Inside Out National Yearlong

Rockwood’s first cohort of the Leading From The Inside Out national yearlong fellowship included 20 leaders from environmental and social justice movements.

Since then, the fellowship has grown, averaging 24 fellows per every year, and led to the creation of other nationally-focused yearlong programs, like the Cross-Movement Fellowship.

2005

Rockwood Launches Sector-Based Fellowships

Created in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the Fellowship in Media, Communications and Information Policy was Rockwood’s first sector-based program. Since then, we’ve offered fellowships in the areas of LGBTQ advocacy, human rights and national security reform, death penalty abolition, and many others.

2008

Akaya Windwood Becomes President & CEO

After several years as a trainer and Director of Programs, Akaya is named President & CEO. Under her leadership, the organization changes its name to Rockwood Leadership Institute.

Social Transformation Project Founded

A strong partner to Rockwood, Social Transformation Project was founded by Robert Gass and Jodie Tonita to help leaders explore transformative ideas and practices, and apply them to their organizations and movements.

2015

15 Years & 5,000 Alums

Rockwood’s 15th birthday was also a celebration of a huge milestone: our network grew to over 5,000 alums! Of those 5,000, over 50% are people of color, and over 60% are women.

Happy Birthday, Rockwood!

Thank you to everyone who made last night amazing, including Mission Delirium! If you weren't able to make it (or just want to relive the moment), here's what happened when we brought in the cake. More soon! #rockwoodlove #happybirthday #cake

Posted by Rockwood Leadership Institute on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2016

Darlene Nipper Becomes CEO

Having joined the staff the previous year as Chief Impact Officer, Darlene now partner-leads Rockwood with President Akaya Windwood.

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