The Young Adult Friends Leadership Institute seeks to encourage and lift up existing inter-generational learning, leadership and service within the Religious Society of Friends by affirming the gifts and wisdom that Friends of diverse backgrounds have to contribute in the present. This Institute will actively involve Young Adult Friends in governance and leadership positions within Quaker organizations and provide a supportive container for these experiences with opportunities for mentorship and leadership development. We see this Institute as a way not only to enrich our Quaker organizations and the individual participants in the Institute, but also as an investment in the leadership skills of the rising generation of Quakers and the overall vitality of the Religious Society of Friends.

YAF Leadership Institute Board:

The Board will provide oversight, vision, leadership and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Leadership Institute. The intergenerational Board is a model of what the Leadership Institute advocates in terms of leadership development.

Partner Organizations:


  1. A “Quaker organization” must either: a) consider itself a Quaker organization with substantial involvement of Quakers in its governance structures; or b) be founded by Friends and have a continuing attention to Quaker presence in its governance structures.
  2. A governance body appropriate for Young Adult Friend service should be the body that establishes policy and provides guidance and direction for the organization. This function can be carried out by any number of entities, including, but not limited to: Boards of Managers, Corporations, Steering Committees, Trustees, Councils, etc.

Institutional Responsibilities

  1. Each partner organization will be encouraged to be listed publicly on all Leadership Institute publications. Partner organizations are welcome to include their involvement in any of their own publications or online communications.
  2. Each partner organization is encouraged to reserve at least two seats on their relevant governance body for Young Adult Friends. (For those organizations whose governance body is comprised of fewer than 10 members, we encourage one slot to be reserved).
  3. No change to the organization’s bylaws is required.
  4. When feasible, partner institutions are encouraged to financially support and/or enable their YAFs travel to and participate in the annual Leadership Institute gathering.
  5. Partner organizations can identify YAF candidates for their governance bodies in one of two ways:
    1. The Leadership Institute can provide names of possible YAF nominees if a partner organization does not have any names to bring forward;
    2. Partner organizations can select YAFs who are not yet part of the Leadership Institute through their internal, autonomous nominations process. The partner organization is then responsible for informing the YAF of the Leadership Institute and its opportunities
  6. Partner organizations must consider and expect any YAF serving on their governance body to be a full and participating member of that body.
  7. Each partner organization should actively seek opportunities to engage their YAFs in professional and personal development and mentorship.
  8. Each partner organization is encouraged to share their materials related to governance structures and orientations for new members with the Institute to further collaborative learning between partner organizations and benefit all involved institutions.
  9. This program is intended to facilitate opportunities for participating organizations and YAFs to realize their full potential and grow both corporately and individually. Both the partner organizations and the YAFs must have a willingness to engage in conversations and explorations of their preparedness for the Leadership Institute and their commitment to this vision.

Young Adult Friend Individual Membership:


  1. While the traditional age range of Young Adult Friends is ages 18-35, the Leadership Institute will be primarily focused on YAFs ages 18-30, in an effort to maximize the impact of professional and personal mentorship afforded by the Institute and the network of partner organizations. Priority will be given to individuals just embarking on their own career path and/or leadership exploration.
  2. Membership in the Religious Society of Friends is not required for participation in the YAF Leadership Institute (though some partner organizations may have monthly meeting membership requirements for eligible board members). YAFs should have some experience with the Religious Society of Friends and clearly demonstrate their interest in and commitment to learning about Quaker governance. This could include, but is not limited to, graduates of Friends schools, camps and other programs, who have had some exposure to Quaker faith and practice.
  3. YAFs of all backgrounds will be encouraged to participate, in keeping with the Institute’s focus on the importance of diversity in leadership and governance. The YAF Leadership Institute will seek to reach out creatively within our Friends’ community to ensure we are not continually drawing from the same homogenous networks.
  4. YAFs can become involved in the Institute via one of two channels:
    1. Partner organizations can select YAFs who are not yet part of the Leadership Institute and select them through their internal, autonomous nominations process. The partner organization is then responsible for informing the YAF of the Leadership Institute and its opportunities should they be interested in becoming involved.
    2. The Board of the Leadership Institute can invite interested YAFs who are not yet serving on a governance body into the Institute with the intention of facilitating a connection with a partner organization’s nominating committee when a well-suited service opportunity is available.


  1. YAFs are expected to commit to one full term of service as defined by the organization they serve, with the same level of investment and commitment as other members of that organization’s board.
  2. Attendance at the Leadership Institute’s annual gathering is required, and participation in other Leadership Institute events (e.g. speakers, workshops, networking, etc.) is strongly encouraged.
  3. YAFs will reflect annually on their experiences with the Institute and their partner organization.

Leadership Institute Program:

  1. The Leadership Institute will host one or two day-long leadership development retreat per year in Philadelphia. Attendance at this retreat is expected from both the YAF participants and at least one other representative from each partner organization.
  2. The Institute may hold events throughout the year with the intention of fostering community among the individual YAF members and encouraging leadership development.
  3. These programs will help organizations and YAFs deepen their understanding of the role of a board member and boards as a whole, with a focus on governance and the idea of governance as leadership, the Quaker organizational context, and Quaker process.