Application for REAL Council


The Race, Equity And Leadership (REAL) initiative is NLC's effort to equip its membership with the capacity to respond to racial tensions in their communities and address the historical, systemic and structural barriers that further inequity and racism in our nation's cities.

The program does this through several intervention channels and support systems, and with the understanding that local elected officials may not know where or how to start. Through structured trainings and learning opportunities, REAL will equip members with the skills needed to examine their local systems, identify issues and craft policy and practice solutions, and navigate and lead challenging discussions on race and equity.

The REAL Council provides guidance and oversight to efforts and initiatives that strengthen the leadership of NLC’s membership to address the impact of race and equity issues in their communities. The Council will ensure REAL is integrated across the organization and the membership.

More About REAL

More Ways to Lead

REAL's Vision

A nation in which every local official is equipped to effectively lead and serve an inclusive, thriving and healthy community.

Inclusive, Thriving and Healthy Communities are safe places where people from all racial, ethnic a cultural backgrounds thrive socially, economically, academically and physically.

REAL's Mission

To strengthen local elected officials knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions and build more equitable communities

Priority 1:

Provide Training & Technical Assistance that builds the capacity of local elected officials to identify racial disparities and effectively challenge and address issues through policy and practice.

Priority 2:

Provide Network Building opportunities that promote peer-to-peer learning and showcase local elected officials who are advancing efforts through REAL.

Priority 3:

Establish a Field of Practice that leverages new and existing partnerships, and shares knowledge and resources across cities that promote innovative solutions to racial equity challenges in city government.


Priority 4:

Support NLC Change by strengthening REAL’s impact and alignment with all programs across NLC, including drawing on local elected officials to influence federal policy related to issues involving racial equity.

Priority 5:

Invest in Organizational Development efforts to build REAL.

As REAL builds its programming, the team will seek further evidence of its strategies producing the outcomes outlined in the Program Theory of Change. This commitment to establishing a sound evidence base for REAL’s work will include the review of external research and internal research, looking at programs across NLC. The REAL team will also put into place a process for capturing its own observations of successes and challenges, and these learnings will inform the team’s continued work to improve, sustain, and scale REAL’s work.

Apply Here

Applications open Monday, August 10, 2018, and close on Monday, October 8, 2018. For questions, contact Kiera White at