(Will resume in 2022) The Organizing and Leadership Academy (TOLA)

Provides hands-on training for students pursuing a career in organizing

The Organizing & Leadership Academy (TOLA) is a unique, one-of-a-kind, rigorous, non-ideological, “hands-on” training program for individuals interested and motivated to pursue a career in organizing. TOLA recruits and trains people for careers as organizers. The TOLA program is demanding and effective. Many TOLA graduates continue their organizing careers in labor unions, non-profits, immigrant rights organizations, and political campaigns.

TOLA fellows do not pay for their training and all TOLA related expenses are paid for. Fellows also receive an $10,000 stipend during the program.

TOLA Fellows will gain an appreciation of the history of community organizing as well as understand their own motivations for doing this work. As they progress through this four-month academy, they will develop the fundamental skills necessary to become effective organizers including the use of a personal narrative to inspire others; an ability to listen and communicate persuasively; an ability to set goals and organize volunteers into action; and an ability to recruit and train volunteers in community outreach, door-to-door work, phone banking, and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Deadline Information


Each TOLA Fellow commits to a full-time organizer’s schedule (up to six-days a week) for four months, from mid-July to mid-November.

Eligibility Requirements

Anyone committed to learning the skills necessary in making a difference in their communities, regardless of documentation status, who are between the ages of 22 and 35. We do not accept individuals who are part-time students or have other part-time commitments.

Application Process

First, please provide the following contact information, along with a current resume.

  • Name
  • Phone
  • Email Address
  • Current Mailing Address

Secondly, please answer the questions below.

  1. How did you hear about TOLA? (100 words)
  2. What matters to you and why? (250 words)
  3. Why TOLA? (250 words)

Finally, please provide two letters of recommendation from professionals who are familiar with your work. Please ask these individuals to email their letters to apply@tolacademy.org with the applicant's name in the subject line.