To amplify the voices of the people it serves, the Capital Area Food Bank convenes a Client Leadership Council (CLC) on an annual basis. The CLC brings together individuals with an array of perspectives and experiences from across the region, and it seeks to empower members through a ten-month advocacy training program.
Each year, up to 24 people who live in the food bank’s service area and are currently experiencing food insecurity receive advocacy training through the CLC. This training supports their growth as advocates for themselves and their communities, and it enables them to effectively serve as agents of change.
The purpose of the CLC
Simply put, decision-making with the greatest consequences for our clients and historically underrepresented communities frequently exclude their own voices. The CLC is an opportunity for our clients to use the power of their lived experiences to change that, shaping public policy and the food bank’s programs.
What’s going on today doesn’t have to go on tomorrow. Sometimes you have to get people to look outside of the box to understand that opportunity is available.
Throughout the training cycle, CLC members take classes designed to:
- Provide information about hunger across the region, how the food bank operates, and the programs that run in their communities.
- Contribute to an understanding of policy and power structures;
- Build proficiency in the areas of public speaking, coalition building, and harnessing the power of sharing lived experience;
- Empower members to utilize their advocacy skills to create change
The composition of the CLC aims to reflect the diversity of the food bank’s service area. Participants live across the region in all four quadrants of the nation’s capital, northern Virginia, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland. Classes also reflect the varied ethnicities, races, genders, ages, lived experiences, and needs of our clients throughout greater Washington.
We provide each member with a monthly living wage stipend for the time invested in the program, including any transportation costs. CLC members are asked to attend monthly calls and at least three in-person convenings.
Applications & Nominations for the Client Leadership Council
Applications and nominations for the 3rd Annual CLC Class (2022-2023) are now closed. Submissions for the 4th Annual CLC Class (2023-2024) will be accepted in summer 2023. Please check back then!
Interested in establishing a client leadership program at your organization?
Explore the CLC curriculum and learn how your organization can institute a client leadership model by clicking the button below. You will receive our Member Workbook and How-To Guide on building a client leader program.
Meet the CLC
Lee Van Orden
Bernadette (Renee) Warren
Andra Powell Henderson
In the news: The Miles to the Grocery Store Got Longer This Year, Slate.
In the news: The Future of SNAP: Moving Past the Pandemic, House Agriculture Committee.
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In the news: Biden Administration to Increase Food Aid, PEW
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In the news: Families Fighting to Feed Children as Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Impact Jobs, Good Morning America.