About the Advocacy Institute

The Advocacy Institute supports social justice organizations to build the advocacy skills, knowledge and power they need to shape government policy for a more just and equitable New York. We envision governments at all levels that are accessible, transparent, and accountable to those directly impacted by injustice, especially communities of color.


The Advocacy Leadership Accelerator

The Advocacy Institute is excited to host the second year of the  Advocacy Leadership Accelerator that seeks to create skills, capacity, networks, and support for advocates working across New York State. This 10-month program, held from September through June, is an opportunity for 20 advocates with some experience in legislative and budget advocacy to deepen their skills and build their leadership. This program will build on Advocacy Institute’s proven Legislative Campaign Assessment and Tracking Tool (LCATT) curriculum while digging deeper into campaign strategy.

This program will center an intersectional and racial equity lens to examine how multiple forms of oppression combine to impact advocates’ ability to affect policy change. The Advocacy Leadership Accelerator will be grounded in the work of participants, and our sessions will allow advocates to reflect on the challenges they are facing and strategies to address those challenges, in community with their peers.

Applications for the next Advocacy Leadership Accelerator are now closed.

Apply Now

What you’ll get out of the Advocacy Leadership Accelerator

Participating in the Advocacy Leadership Accelerator is an exciting leadership opportunity to:

    • Increase organizational capacity to run effective advocacy campaigns
    • Strengthen individual advocacy leadership and knowledge, and develop stronger peer networks with advocates across the state
    • Strengthen strategies and tactics to build leadership and ensure those directly impacted by injustice increase their influence on state policy-making
    • Strengthen relationship-building skills for working with elected officials and coalition partners
    • Learn practices and support for sustainability
    • Learn additional advocacy strategies and tactics on topics such as: Honing your ask, developing leadership and decision making structures, conducting a campaign power analysis, planning for implementation, and other advanced campaign strategies.

Who is this program for?

This program is designed for advocates and organizers with some experience doing state-level advocacy campaigns, from organizations that will have a state-level campaign in the 2024 session in Albany.

Participating Organizations

    • Serve communities in NY State (we are seeking regional diversity including Lower Hudson Valley, Mid-Hudson Valley, Capitol Region, North Country, Central NY, NYC, Western NY, Fingerlakes, and Long Island)
    • Are committed to conducting a state-focused campaign (to pass a bill or influence the budget) during the 2024 legislative session
    • Are committed to growing organizational capacity for advocacy work
    • Preference will be given to BIPOC-led organizations doing community organizing

Participating Individuals

The Advocacy Leadership Accelerator might be a good fit for you if you…

    • Have some prior experience with advocacy work and are committed to grow
    • Have a key role in your organization’s advocacy campaign(s)
    • Have organizational support & consent for participating in this program and applying what you learn to your campaign
    • Are committed to and grounded in advancing racial equity through your work
    • Can commit to full participation in the program (see program dates below), including two in-person retreats, semi-monthly virtual half-day sessions, and monthly strategic consulting sessions

The Advocacy Leadership Accelerator will accept one person per organization. Two people from the same organization may apply if they are based in different regions, and one will be placed on a waiting list, to be admitted if space is available. We are explicitly looking to recruit people of color, queer folks, people of varying abilities, and gender nonconforming people to deepen their skills and leadership in legislative advocacy.

Testimonials from the 2022-23 ALA Cohort

Lukee Forbes, Civil Rights Coordinator, Hudson Catskills Housing Coalition. As a participant in the Advocacy Institute, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from seasoned activists and share space with other passionate individuals. Through the Institute, I have gained invaluable tools, resources, and concepts that have helped me approach social issues in a more effective manner, and I have built meaningful relationships with people across the state.

Lauren GallowayLauren Galloway, Advocacy Coordinator, Coalition for Homeless Youth. My time with the Advocacy Leadership Accelerator Fellowship has been pivotal and impactful to the advocacy work I do for runaway & homeless youth. The ALA programing is a helpful contributor to how we create, contribute, implement, and uphold all forms of advocacy from campaign coordination to legislative relationships and everything in between. This opportunity gave me monumental education, tools, opportunities, and relationships that helped form the campaign I am currently working on. Advocacy Institute sets up ALA to reflect the needs of the cohort and ensures that adjustments will be implemented based on collective needs. With the multiple approaches to facilitation and learning styles it truly is an engagement that will allow all learning types and experiences to engage with. I encourage anyone and everyone to partake in ALA because it helps connect the intersecting issues, lowers the organizer silos, and builds upon our advocacy foundations to create sustainable solutions to outcomes.

Meet the amazing advocates who are part of the 23-24 ALA program.

Bella Cockerell, Mothers Out Front, is one of the participants in the 2023-24 ALA program. You can meet all the participants here!

Program Dates and Logistics

You will be expected to attend all the program dates below. Please let us know in your application form if there’s anything that would support you to be able to fully participate. We will cover meals, travel and lodging for the in-person retreats.

September 2023

  • Opening Retreat: Fri, Sep 8 – Sun, Sep 10 (arriving Thu evening)
  • Virtual Session – Campaign Presentations: Fri, Sep 22 at 10am-2pm

October 2023

  • ED Orientation Breakfast: Thu, Oct 12 at 9-11am
  • Virtual Session 1: Fri, Oct 6 at 10am-2pm
  • Virtual Session 2: Fri, Oct 20 at 10am-2pm

November 2023

  • Virtual Session 3: Fri, Nov 3 at 10am-2pm 
  • Virtual Session 4: Fri, Nov 17 at 10am-2pm

December 2023

  • Virtual Session 5: Fri, Dec 8 at 10am-2pm

January 2024

  • Virtual Session 6: Fri, Jan 26 at 10am-2pm

February 2024

  • Virtual Session 7: Fri, Feb 23 at 10am-2pm

March 2024

  • Virtual Session 8: Fri, Mar 15 at 10am-2pm

April 2024

  • Virtual Session 9: Fri, Apr 12 at 10am-2pm

May 2024

  • Virtual Session 10: Fri, May 10 at 10am-2pm

June 2024

  • Closing Retreat: Fri, June 28 and Sat, June 29  (arriving Thu afternoon, in NYC)


  • Strategic Consulting Office Hours (these sessions are held as open office hours monthly and participation is optional but highly encouraged. Organizations can send additional staff to participate in these consulting sessions)

How to Apply

Applications for the Advocacy Leadership Accelerator are now closed.

Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no charge to participate in the program for this first pilot year of the Accelerator. However, participants’ organizations will need to be AI members or join before the program starts.

Your organization does not need to be an AI member at the time of your application. However, once accepted, your organization must join AI for you to attend the program.

We are asking participants to commit to attending all of the programming that is part of the Accelerator including the opening and closing in-person retreats, the bi-monthly virtual sessions, the Executive Director breakfast, and consultation sessions with AI team members and experts.

The opening retreat will be held at the Stony Point Center located at 17 Cricketown Rd, Stony Point, NY 10980. Participants will arrive at the retreat center on Thursday, September 7th, 2023 and depart on Sunday, September 10th 2023.

The opening retreat will be held at the Stony Point Center located at 17 Cricketown Rd, Stony Point, NY 10980. Participants will arrive at the retreat center on Thursday, September 7th, 2023 and depart on Sunday, September 10th 2023.

Advocacy Institute staff will arrange and pay for your travel to the retreat unless you plan on driving yourself there, in which case you will be reimbursed for mileage.

We encourage you to pack comfortably for a long weekend with a casual dress code. All meals and some snacks will be provided at the retreat center but we encourage you to bring snacks you like. The retreat itself will primarily be held indoors but there is a possibility of shifting outdoors if the weather permits – pack warm layers.

Because the goals of the program are both individual leadership development, and organizational capacity building, we’re asking your Executive Director to attend the orientation breakfast. This will be a chance to think through how to support organizational growth and to network with peers. If there is someone else in your organization who has final say over your advocacy work that’s not your Executive Director, please have that person attend.

We will prioritize one person per organization, and will place additional people from the same organization on a waiting list. If there is space, we will accept two people from the same organization, especially if they work in different regions.

Yes. The Accelerator is designed for participants actively engaged in or planning a state-government-focused advocacy campaign in New York State in the 2023-2024 legislative cycle.

As this is the first year of the program, we do not have the resources yet to provide childcare or subsidize child care costs for participants.

While some program materials will be available in English and Spanish, interpretation will not be provided.

Participants with disabilities may bring an aide to in-person retreats.

The retreat location at Stony Point offers gender neutral bathrooms.

We will provide captions for all virtual sessions. 

Please ask if there’s something specific you need that you don’t see addressed here by contacting ALA@advocacy-institute.org.

Unfortunately, AI is unable to provide accommodations for family members at the retreat locations, even at the participant’s expense. If you would like your family member to be nearby, you will need to arrange for their travel and lodging.

For the safety of all participants in the Accelerator program, we are requiring participants to be  fully vaccinated before the opening retreat. In addition, participants will be asked to self-administer a rapid test every day during retreats (tests will be provided by the Advocacy Institute).

Advocacy Leadership Accelerator: Information Session Recording