Forward Leadership Program

Thank you for your interest in API Forward Foundation’s Forward Leadership Program for college students. The program aims to inspire, motivate and empower undergraduate college students to develop their leadership potential.

Through three and half months of mentorship, collaboration and leadership training, we hope to instill confidence, integrity, knowledge, experience, connection and greater understanding of the importance of equity practice. Our program seeks to inspire participants to lead change for Asians, Pacific Islanders and others.

Please submit completed application by October 18, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST to application@APIForward.org

Apply Today (PDF)

Program Overview

This program contains five components:

1. Leadership training

2. Pairing with mentors

3. Research and field work

4. Project presentation

5. “Pay it forward” volunteer work with a nonprofit organization

Participants of the API Forward Foundation’s Forward Leadership Program must participate in all five components.

Learning Outcomes

  • Navigating power relationships and dynamics
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Leading across cultures
  • Planning and delivering effective presentations
  • Identifying and mitigating unconscious bias
  • Fostering an inclusive climate at work or school
  • Becoming a strong and compassionate leader
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Time management skills


Applicants who are selected are expected to participate in all components of the program, including monthly leadership trainings. They will also work in teams on a project arranged by API Forward in partnership with a government agency, community organization or organization. The project will focus on issues related to diversity, inclusion and/or equity.

The final presentations will be judged by a team of community leaders. Upon completion, Forward Leadership Program scholars will be financially rewarded for their work and join a growing network of API change-makers in the Pacific Northwest. Graduates of this program will be required to volunteer for at least 20 hours of services at a nonprofit within 18 months after completion of this program. API Forward will assist in matching Forward Leadership Program scholars with a nonprofit organization.

All applicants will be required to

  • Attend the half-day orientation and leadership training
  • Agree to participate in a mentorship program
  • Dedicate time to research, planning and implementing the assigned project
  • Be available for the final presentation in late April
  • Attend the API Forward fundraising event in May
  • Commit to a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work at a local nonprofit organization

Ideal Candidate

  • Self identifies as an API community member
  • Willing and open to learn about diversity, inclusion and equity in API community
  • Strong desire to become a leader in the API community
  • Currently enrolled at least part time (with six credits or more) in a higher education institution in Oregon or southwest Washington
  • Be at least 18 years old by January 10, 2020

Benefits of this program

  • Opportunity to engage in diversity, inclusion and equity work in the Oregon and Washington
  • Opportunity to participate in leadership training
  • Opportunity to build relationship with local government, private industries, and/or communities that are not offered in regular classes
  • Opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge
  • Award scholarship ($500 – $1,500 per applicant) toward educational cost


  • October 18, 2019 – Application Due
  • October 28 – November 14, 2019 – Interviews
  • Late November – Final Applicants Notified
  • January 2020 – April 2020 – Leadership Program
  • April 25, 2020 – Final Presentation
  • May 6, 2020 – Award Ceremony

*Disclosure: Applicants must disclose any personal relationships with an active board member.

Apply Today (PDF)

Please submit completed application by October 18, 2019, 11:59 p.m. PST to application@APIForward.org