Founded in 1976 for the purpose of broadening & diversifying the leaders making decisions about the growth of Nashville, the LEADERSHIP NASHVILLE FOUNDATION provides proven leaders a three-dimensional view of this city. Since Metropolitan Nashville is a union of satellite cities and neighborhoods, participants live and work in communities that are near and yet worlds apart. Leadership Nashville plays a vital role in moving us forward as one city.

Founder Nelson Andrews, program designer Brent Poulton, PhD, and an impressive steering committee, determined that this educational program would have sustainable impact on Nashville’s long-term success. 45 years and 1,600+ alumni later, Nashville has been referred to as an “It City” for many years now…many elements of our growth can be linked to relationships formed among Leadership Nashville classmates that otherwise may not have occurred.

The vision continues today:

  • To build channels of communication between established leaders.
  • To connect these leaders with community issues.
  • To equip participants with insights, not solutions.

Each year 44 leaders are selected from hundreds of nominees and 250+ applications to experience an unbiased view of Metro Nashville Davidson County, opening their eyes to realities beyond the zip codes where they live and work. The men and women selected each year represent a diversity of races, religions, ages and political persuasions, as well as a geographical cross section of neighborhoods. The class includes native Nashvillians and people who have moved here in leadership positions. Participants are educators, doctors, bankers, artists, businesspeople, rabbis, ministers, lawyers, and representatives of labor, public service, international communities and the volunteer sector.

Classes are exposed to subjects such as government, criminal justice, education, social services, transportation, business, religion, race relations, urban planning, media, the arts and more. If it impacts Nashville our nearly 300 alumni program volunteers find a way to weave it into the seven 13-hour program days, bookended by two overnight retreats. When 44 very busy leaders invest this kind of time in getting to know our city and each other, the bond is strong enough to stand up to any challenge.