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

Advocacy Institute invites you to apply for the Advocacy Leadership Accelerator, a 10-month program that expands advocacy skills, capacity, and leadership for up to 20 emerging organizers and advocates across New York State. This program will be held from September 2024 through June 2025, designed to prepare advocates for the legislative session and provide support throughout. We will build on Advocacy Institute’s proven Legislative Campaign Assessment and Tracking Tool (LCATT) curriculum while digging deeper into campaign strategy.

This program centers 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 is grounded  in the work of participants and our sessions will allow advocates to reflect on challenges they are facing while brainstorming strategies to address those challenges with their peers.

Applications for this program are now open, please click the button below to learn more about the program and apply. 

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 2025 session in Albany.

Participating Individuals

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

  • Have some prior experience with advocacy work and are committed to grow
  • Have a leadership 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 and semi-monthly virtual half-day sessions.

Participating Organizations

The Advocacy Leadership Accelerator might be a good fit for organizations that…

  • 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 2025 legislative session
  • Are committed to growing organizational capacity for advocacy work
  • Are doing community organizing (Preference will be given to BIPOC-led organizations) 

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.


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 80% of all session dates (allowed to miss 3 sessions) to meet program graduation requirements. 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 2024

  • Opening Retreat: Thu, Sep 5 (evening arrival) – Sun, Sep 8 (afternoon departure)
  • Virtual Session 1: Fri, Sep 27 from 10am-1pm

October 2024

  • Virtual Session 1: Fri, Oct 18 from 10am-1pm
  • Virtual Session 2: Fri, Oct 25 from 10am-1pm
  • Executive Director Orientation: Thu, Oct 24 from 9am-11am

November 2024

  • Virtual Session 3: Fri, Nov 1 from 10am-1pm 
  • Virtual Session 4: Fri, Nov 15 from 10am-1pm

December 2024

  • Virtual Session 5: Fri, Dec 13 from 10am-1pm

January 2025

  • Virtual Session 7: Fri, Jan 24 from 10am-1pm

February 2025

  • Virtual Session 8: Fri, Feb 7 from 10am-1pm
  • Virtual Session 9: Fri, Feb 21 from 10am-1pm

March 2025

  • Virtual Session 10: Fri, Mar 7 from 10am-1pm
  • Virtual Session 11: Fri, Mar 21 from 10am-1pm

April 2025

  • Virtual Session 12: Fri, Apr 4 from 10am-1pm
  • Virtual Session 13: Fri, Apr 18 from 10am-1pm

May 2025

  • Virtual Session 14: Fri, May 9 from 10am-1pm
  • Virtual Session 15: Fri, May 23 from 10am-1pm

June 2025

  • Closing Retreat: Fri, Jun 27 – Sat, Jun 28

How to Apply

Deadline for applications is Friday, June 14.

  • Confirm that you and your organization will be able to commit to program requirements. 
    • Check that you can make the dates of the program. We understand that conflicts come up, and ask for advance notice of your absence when possible. 
    • Check with your supervisor and organization to make sure you will have time to participate and the organization is prepared to join if you’re not already Advocacy Institute members. More info on membership benefits and fees can be found here.
  • Complete the participant application form.
  • If you are accepted to this program, we will be contacting your organization’s Executive Director, or the person who makes final decisions about the organization’s advocacy and campaign work. This may not be your direct supervisor. Calls will be 30 minutes and will take place between July 8 through July 24.

Please contact hello@advocacy-institute with any questions.

Apply Now

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no charge to participate in the program this year. However, participants’ organizations will need to be Advocacy Institute members or join before the program starts.

Your organization does not need to be an Advocacy Institute member at the time of your application. However, once accepted, your organization must join as an Advocacy Institute member for you to participate in the program. 

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 2024-2025 legislative cycle.

While some program materials are available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and French for use in your organization, interpretation during retreats and virtual sessions will not be provided.

We understand that conflicts come up, and you will be allowed to miss a maximum of 3 virtual sessions to meet program graduation requirements. In-person retreat attendance is required, and your Executive Director’s attendance at the ED orientation is required.

We are currently narrowing down locations in the Hudson Valley and New Jersey. The finalized location will be shared with participants as soon as it is confirmed. The retreat has previously been held at the Stony Point Center. Participants will arrive for the retreat on Thursday, September 5 in the evening and depart on Sunday, September 8, 2024.

The closing retreat will be held in New York City on Friday, June 27 and Saturday June 28, 2024.

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.

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 do not have the resources yet to provide childcare or subsidize child care costs for participants for ALA. We are looking into childcare options. Please let us know if childcare is a barrier to your participation.

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

We prioritize gender neutral bathrooms at all retreat locations.

We will provide captions and recordings 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 take daily rapid tests during in-person retreats (tests will be provided by the Advocacy Institute).

Information Session

This information session was recorded on May 22nd, 2024. Watch below and hear from current cohort members about how the program has impacted them.