The next cohort of Ridgeway begins in 2019.  Many participants have already been confirmed and applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the cohort is full.  More about the who, when, where and other details are offered below and here's the online application.   

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Who is Ridgeway for?

The common thread between Ridgeway participants is that they all share a commitment to Appalachia and surrounding areas and each person is playing an important role in the region’s transition to a brighter future.  The program is designed for people who have leadership experience within their organization, business, agency or community across any sector including arts & culture, community & economic development, education, government, health, media, non-profit, philanthropy, service, tourism or any other sector active in the region.

Participants are chosen with the intent that each cohort reflects Central Appalachia along multiple dimensions of diversity and experience inherent in the region.  The cohort as a whole will ideally span a range of political, cultural, social and economic perspectives in order to build understanding and a sense of unity across differences that often divide us.  Applicants should be willing to do deep personal and interpersonal work together with other participants that will tie into exploring regional challenges and differences that extend beyond individuals and communities.  

While most participants thus far have lived and worked within East Kentucky where the program is based, equal consideration is also given to participants who live elsewhere in Central Appalachia or in proximity to the region who make the case for being included based on their work and commitment to the area.


What are the Dates?

Applications for the fourth cohort of the Ridgeway Transformative Leadership Experience are being accepted on a rolling basis.  Most of the 2019 cohort was selected during the early consideration period which ended on Monday, October 1, 2018 so if you are interested in applying for one of the remaining cohort openings, it is a good idea to submit your application as soon as possible.

Light preparatory work for the program will begin in the winter of 2019 and the cohort in-person sessions will happen:


April 3-5, 2019
May 16-17, 2019
June 27-28, 2019
Aug 1-2, 2019
Sept 12-13, 2019
Oct 24-25, 2019
Dec 4-6, 2019

Each multi-day retreat begins with dinner the evening prior to the first day at a locally-owned restaurant near our retreat site or prepared on site by a caterer. If you are participating, please reserve these dates in your calendar and plan for travel the Tuesday or Wednesday after prior to each retreat date.

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Where does it happen?

Cohort sessions rotate between the meeting centers of Kentucky state parks and occasionally private venues throughout the eastern region. Past cohort retreat locations have included:

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park 
Carter Caves State Resort Park
Hindman Settlement School
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Pine Mountain Settlement School
Pine Mountain State Resort Park

Each of our retreat sites offer beautiful natural settings as well as meeting and overnight accommodation facilities.  Varying the site also provides an opportunity to experience different parts of the region over the course of the program and shifts the travel distances for participants so travel time is somewhat balanced among the group over the course of the program.


What does it cost?

The fee for the 2019 program is $2,500. When considering this fee, you might think of the program as getting an advanced degree in your own personal, organizational and network development — similar to going for a one-year master’s degree at a university and applying that learning and experience into all areas of life for your own benefit as well as the benefit of your work, your community and the broader region. In that context, the participant fee for this program is small relative to the significant amount of tailored and personal support participants will receive. The fee also includes overnight stays in shared accommodation and all meals throughout the program.

Are there scholarships or subsidies?

This program is valued at $15,000 or more per participant based on comparative programs nationally and inclusive of all accommodation and meals throughout the program. At the $2,500 rate, it is being subsidized by at least $12,500 per participant by philanthropic fundraising, sponsorships and donations. Even with this significant subsidy for every participant, the $2,500 fee may be an obstacle to some people’s participation. A fee reduction may be available and has been offered to numerous participants in past cohorts. Requests for a fee reduction can be made through the online application.

You are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible for early consideration.  If you have other questions or would like additional information, please be in touch.