The RISE Urban Leadership Fellows Program is a partnership of RISE San Diego and the Leadership Institute at the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). RISE’s unique goal and commitment is to help identify and empower a generation of leaders who will not only bring our urban communities up, but also bring them together. 

The application period for the 2021-22 class will open June 1, 2021 and close July 14, 2021. To receive announcements about the program, please sign up for our Leadership Development mailing list.


RISE Fellows are selected through a competitive process open to any resident of San Diego County ages 18 and older. Particular invitation is extended to applicants who represent and have a deep history in urban centers of the region.

Potential RISE Fellows are expected to reflect the character, strengths, and hopes of San Diego’s urban communities.

To be considered, applicants must:

  • Provide clear and convincing evidence of strong roots and enduring commitment to an urban community of San Diego.

  • Demonstrate experience designing, dreaming, or delivering leadership to local community efforts. This experience, which may be aspirational as well as actual, can be in the public, private, nonprofit, academic, entrepreneurial, artistic, and/or technological sectors.

  • Hold an emergent capacity to converse and traverse the diversity of the region effectively with impact.

  • Commit to the entire 12-month program, especially attendance and participation in the four mandatory leadership forums (each forum is three full days, Thursday to Saturday), three 2-hour technical sessions, one-on-one coaching sessions and coaching circles, and in the completion of an individual Personal & Professional Excellence Plan and Community Action Project.

  • Agree to act as RISE Leadership Mentors upon completion of the program for future RISE Fellows and for high school students in our On the RISE youth leadership program.

  • Hold a high school diploma or GED, though preference will be given to those who have some college experience, including current enrollment. Preference is also given to those with at least five years of experience working in the community.

Download additional program overview information and answers to frequently asked questions.


Carefully review each of the dates below in our 2021-22 RISE Urban Leadership Fellows Program schedule. Our expectation is that RISE Fellows will attend all four forums and as many of the additional sessions/activities identified, as well as other key events of the RISE San Diego organization. Please take this into consideration as you apply.



Application period opens

June 1, 2021

Information sessions

June 16 & 30 and July 7, 2021

*Please note that the info session scheduled for June 23, 2021 has been cancelled

Application deadline

EXTENDED: July 14, 2021 (5:00 pm PDT)

Admission notifications

August 9, 2021

Program orientation

August 27, 2021

Forum I

September 10-12, 2021

Technical session I

October 23, 2021

Forum II

December 3-5, 2021

Holiday party

December 10, 2021

Technical session II

January 22, 2022

Forum III

March 11-13, 2022

Technical session III

May 7, 2022

Forum IV

June 17-19, 2022


The application period for the 2021 RISE Urban Leadership Fellows program will open Tuesday, June 1, 2021 and close Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at 5:00 pm PDT.

  • We strongly encourage our applicants to download and review the prep application document. Please note that this preparation document is not a substitute for completing the online application and will not be accepted in its place.

  • Thoroughly review this program page along with the downloadable program overview and frequently asked questions.

  • Reach out to the people who will be providing your required two (2) letters of recommendation and ask them to email their letters directly to prior to the application deadline.

  • Sign up for our Leadership Development mailing list to receive updates on how to register for the upcoming program information sessions on June 16 & 30 and July 7, 2021.

  • Prepare your responses to the application questions and collect your resume or curriculum vitae, bio, and photo for upload.

  • Contact our team at well before the deadline with any questions about the program or application process.

  • When you have prepared your responses, requested your letters of recommendation, collected your documents to upload, and gotten your questions answered, fill out and submit the online application.

Each of the following documents are required to complete your application and are to be uploaded as part of the online application process.

  1. A recent copy of your résumé or curriculum vitae in PDF or Word (.doc or .docx) format.

  2. A professional biography (300 words maximum) in PDF or Word (.doc or .docx) format.

  3. A quality, high resolution headshot. The photo does not need to be taken by a professional photographer, but should be professional in appearance. Please submit in .jpg, .jpeg, or .png file format, with a minimum resolution of 300dpi and a maximum file size of 1MB.

Additionally, two (2) letters of recommendation from people familiar with your leadership capacity and efforts in the urban community are required. Request the required letters of recommendation right away as these can take some time to collect. Please ask the people writing your recommendations to email their letters directly to before the application deadline.


We look forward to hearing from you. Our team can be reached at with any questions.