A new paradigm in American civic leadership development


Pathways is a program to help promising leaders discover their potential to make change and be independently, intellectually, and politically empowered to more deeply engage in civics, gain greater access to running for public office, and possess the tools, skills, and agency to govern and impact public policy effectively.


For people who are committed to large-scale systemic change, elected and public office represent some of the most effective possible ways to serve those goals, and to serve our communities and country. Pathways represents an exciting step because we're not only creating a bigger tent for future public leaders, but we're empowering their individual independence and capacity to make practical, deliberative and innovative decisions in government.

- Alex Torpey, Pathways Program Director



Embedded in both our recruitment and operational philosophy is an inter-disciplinary and experimental attitude toward how we create sustainable civic change.

To more effectively address specific roadblocks for individuals and communities, our program methodology pulls from decades of peer-reviewed programs in healthcare, academia and international and community development to inform how we facilitate internal motivation and capacity for independent change.

At a time when American civic and political spaces are intensely divided and exclusionary, our spaces are intentionally nonpartisan and inclusive to a broader and deeper diversity of Americans.

We believe our success is directly based on the ability of our participants to identify, define, plan and operationalize their own actions toward their own definition of greater civic impact.

Our values

Our vision at Pathways - which is to see Americans become more civically empowered to help create better government - is built on a number of values important to us. The values listed below don’t just underscore our organization and program, but also help us identify and bring together people who show the greatest potential for positive, long-term, and innovative public impact.

1. Able to mobilize, sustain, and develop: people, resources, and ideas
2. Innovative, entrepreneurial and willing to take risks
3. Courageous
4. Systems-level thinker
5. Commitment to strong ethical frameworks
6. Pragmatic approach to leadership
7. Adaptable across roles, disciplines, and environments
8. Internally motivated
9. Proactively seeks critical feedback
10. Inclusive, empathetic, compassionate
11. Civic leadership as a public service rather than a career