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Hamilton’s Neighbourhood Leadership Institute is a leadership and skill building program for community residents of all ages in Hamilton.

Hamilton’s Neighbourhood Leadership Institute nurtures engaged, reflective people to transform their neighbourhoods and communities.

A vibrant, inclusive Hamilton enriched and sustained by engaged community leaders.

Commitment to act

For Everyone

Emerging resident leaders from Hamilton’s neighbourhoods receive leadership training while growing a local project idea into a neighbourhood-enhancing reality.

The program consists of 10 learning sessions, which focus on areas such as:

  • project management and team leadership,
  • conflict resolution and working with others,
  • communication and community awareness,
  • research and grant writing,
  • public speaking, and
  • self-advocacy and self-discovery

The city is the classroom for the NLI, as students engage in hands-on activities in neighbourhoods, learning from each other and from their wider community.

At its core, the NLI follows an evidence-based model that is continuously evaluated and informed by research.  Research tells us that strong local networks build resilient neighbourhoods, communities and cities. The NLI models this process through its two interconnected goals:

  • To enhance “self-knowledge” — the understanding of one’s talents, values and interests, specifically as they relate to the ability to provide effective leadership and to build leadership competence (i.e., the capacity to mobilize one self and others to serve and work collaboratively)
  • To facilitate positive social change at the neighbourhood, community and/or institutional level.

Leadership, to the NLI, is guided by the following key principles:

  • Leadership is collaborative, values-based, inclusive and accessible to all people.
  • It is a process not a position.
  • It is socially responsible, and affects change on behalf of others.
  • Community involvement and service is a powerful vehicle for leadership.

Community collaboration and support 

The NLI works in collaboration with several Hamilton organizations, agencies and educational institutions.

  • Mohawk College has certified the course, meaning NLI graduates can receive a college-level credit for their work.
  • Community partners lend their expertise during the leadership training sessions.
  • Through the Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF), projects may be eligible for a small grant to support implementation in neighbourhoods.
  • The City of Hamilton supports the work of the NLI and its participants.

Alumni’s projects 

Alumni support 

The NLI is invested in helping participants and their projects thrive. We support NLI Alumni in the development of their projects beyond the 10 learning sessions.

The NLI also offers additional workshops for NLI Alumni in the fall and winter months, and invites NLI Alumni back as co-facilitators of learning sessions. Research shows that continuous contact with graduates is also beneficial because it encourages participants to maintain and enhance the networks and relationships they have built, and it motivates alumni to continue being active members of their communities.


The NLI believes leadership development is a life-long learning process that is open to everyone. The NLI is currently conducting research exploring youth leadership. More details will be available here, so check back frequently to find out more.

*The NLI is funded in part through the Moffat Family Fund of The Winnipeg Foundation