Coro (non-profit organization)

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Coro is an American non-partisan, non-profit organization best known for its fellowship program dedicated to teaching skills useful in leadership in public affairs to young adults.

The organization was founded in San Francisco in 1942 by W. Donald Fletcher, an attorney, and Van Duyn Dodge, an investment counselor. Their premise was based on the realization that, unlike law, business or medicine, post graduate training in the area of leadership was non existent, and they wanted to train young veterans in the leadership skills necessary to assure that our democratic system of government could more effectively meet the needs of its citizens.[1]

Contrary to popular assumption that the name refers to a person or the word "core," the name is contrived and refers only to itself. It was created to represent "both discovery and exploration."[2]

Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs[edit]

The Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, the organization's premier fellowship, is a full-time, nine month, graduate-level experiential leadership training program that prepares diverse, talented and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena.[3] Unconventional by traditional academic standards, the Fellows Program is rigorous and demanding, aiming toward personal and professional growth. The Fellows Program is offered in Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and St. Louis. Coro introduces program participants to all aspects of the public affairs arena, preparing them to translate their ideals into action for improving their own communities and beyond. The fellowship comprises field placements, group interviews, seminars, focus weeks, and individual and group projects.

Sixty-four Fellows are chosen nationally each year through a highly competitive selection process, including a day-long assessment at each center’s city. The Fellows represent a broad range of academic, work, cultural, racial and economic backgrounds, ages and interests. What they share is an unwavering commitment to civic engagement. Recent participants have ranged from 21 to 53 years of age.

Coro Exploring Leadership Program[edit]

The Coro Exploring Leadership Program is offered in multiple cities, including Oakland, New York, and San Francisco.[4] Launched in 1998, Exploring Leadership (EL) is a full-time summer and part-time academic year program that prepares high school juniors for opportunities in the 21st century workforce and higher education by engaging them to become active citizens and to improve their communities. EL participants are thirty-six entering 11th graders – eighteen in the East Bay and eighteen in San Francisco – who reflect the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the Bay Area and demonstrate the desire to both expand their leadership skills and make a difference in their school and neighborhood communities.

Community & Regional Programs[edit]

Each Coro location has developed a variety of full and part-time, community and regionally based programs aimed at leadership training.[5]

The Neighborhood Leadership Programs at Coro Southern California, the Coro Leadership Center – St Louis, and Coro Pittsburgh works with emerging and established leaders in specific geographic neighborhood. Program participants identify local issues in their community and then work with Coro trainers to develop and carry out innovative and proactive solutions.

The Public Allies program at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership advances the skills, networks and experience of diverse young leaders as they strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. Program participants complete a 10 month apprenticeship at a nonprofit organization while also undergoing leadership training and completing a team service project.

The Women in Leadership program at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership Pittsburgh and at FOCUS St. Louis provides an opportunity for women to refine their personal and professional management leadership skills in order to increase their effectiveness as leaders in the Pittsburgh and St. Louis metropolitan areas.

Cleveland Executive Fellowship - A Coro Program funded by the Cleveland Foundation is a full-time one-year, immersion fellowship to develop individuals who can serve as Northeast Ohio's future leaders. Coro National and the Cleveland Foundation launched the fellowship with the ultimate goal of creating a pipeline of civic leaders who can problem solve across traditional boundaries, work with diverse communities and make the civic arena work through networks and collaboration.

Leadership New York at the Coro New York Leadership Center and Leadership Southern California at Coro Southern California are executive-level programs conducted in partnership with local organizations in each city. These mid-career professionals come together to examine and address the most pressing regional issues in their communities.

Coro New York Leadership Center also conducts Immigrant Civic Leadership Program which strengthens the ability of leaders in immigrant communities to mobilize immigrant participation in key decision-making processes.

The Coro Community Leadership Program offers working professionals and active retirees the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills, network with a diverse group of Bay Area leaders, and learn about and contribute to community and civic leadership in the Bay Area.

The Emerging Leaders in Public Affairs (ELPA) program at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership is aimed at positioning participants for increased involvement in the electoral process as ethical and effective candidates, campaign staffers, board members, appointees and/or community advocates.

Coro Southern California’s Health Leadership Program “HLP” is a premier leadership training experience that uses collaborative approaches to prepare a multi-cultural, professionally diverse group of professionals dedicated to improving the quality and accessibility of healthcare in Los Angeles County.

Coro Center for Civic Leadership’s Regional Internship Center strives to increase the number of organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania offering internships by actively working with employers to develop programs and connect them with potential interns.


In addition to San Francisco, centers under the Coro umbrella exist in Los Angeles (1957), St. Louis (1972), Kansas City (1975), New York (1980), and Pittsburgh (1999). In 2005, Coro partnered with the Cleveland Foundation to establish a new Executive Fellows program in Cleveland. Although each location is independently-run, they are connected by Coro National, a 501(c)(3) governing body. The Coro National Alumni Association is also a freestanding non-profit (incorporated 1990) that supports nearly 10,000 alumni worldwide.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Approximately 1,000-1,200 people participate in Coro's various programs each year, many of whom work in non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies. Some notable alumni who currently hold or have held public office include:[6]

Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.
Film critic Gene Siskel.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein.


  • Hon. Dianne Feinstein, Member, U.S. Senate, California (SF '56)
  • Hon. Michael Bennet, Member, U.S. Senate, Colorado[7] (NY '88)
  • Hon. Tim Kaine, Member, U.S. Senate and Former Governor, Virginia (KC '78)
  • Hon. Anna Eshoo, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (SF '79)
  • Hon. Jerry Lewis, Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (SF '57)
  • Hon. Vic Fazio, Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (LA '66)
  • Dr. Stephanie (Lee-Miller) Myers, Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (LA '73)
  • Hon. Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, State of California (LA '89)
  • Hon. Phil Angelides, Former Treasurer, State of California (LA '75)
  • Ben Cannon, Education Adviser, Governor's Office, Oregon and Former Member, Oregon House of Representatives (StL '00)
  • Hon. Carol Liu, Member, California State Senate and Former Assemblymember (LA '89)
  • Hon. Alex Padilla, Member, California State Senate and Former President, Los Angeles City Council (LA '95)
  • Hon. Holly Mitchell, Member, California State Assembly (LA '87)
  • Hon. Adrin Nazarian, Member, California State Assembly
  • Hon. Marvin R. Baxter, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California (SF '63)
  • Hon. Heidi Brieger, Judge, Massachusetts Supreme Court (LA '80)
  • Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Judge, District of Columbia Court of Appeals (SF '84)
  • Hon. Jean Quan, Mayor, City of Oakland, California (SF '87)
  • Hon. Natalia Rudiak, Member, Pittsburgh City Council (PGH '02)
  • Hon. Caprice Young, Former President, Los Angeles Board of Education (LA '93)
  • Hon. John Greenwood, Former President, Los Angeles Board of Education (LA '68)
  • Robin Kramer, Former Chief of Staff, Mayor of Los Angeles (LA '76)
  • Linda Gibbs, Deputy Mayor, Health and Human Services, NYC Office of the Mayor (NY '92)
  • Jeffrey Bleich, U.S. Ambassador to Australia (StL '84)
  • Don Gips, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa (NY '85)


  • William L. Blais, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (NY '94)
  • Jud Clark, Founder, President & CEO, State Net, a LexisNexis Company (SF '63)
  • Bruce Corwin, Chairman and CEO, Metropolitan Theatres Corporation (LA '63)
  • Michael Davis, Vice President, J.P. Morgan (StL '90)
  • David Friedman, Senior Manager, Deloitte LLP, (StL '88)
  • Craig Fuller, Former President and CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores (LA '74)
  • Michael Holmes, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Express Scripts (StL '80)
  • Don Kornblet, President, ADK Information Services (LA '67)
  • Rob Lapsley, President & CEO, California Business Roundtable (SF '86)
  • Thomas R. McMorrow, Chair, California Policy Practice, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP (NY '86)
  • David Moskovitz, Managing Director, Accenture (StL '81)
  • Jeffrey Plaut, Founding Partner, Global Strategy Group (NY '88)
  • Frances Resheske, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Consolidated Edison Co. (NY '95)
  • David Sibbet, President and Founder, The Grove Consultants International (LA '66)
  • Diana Tasaka, Director of Corporate Communications, Farmers Group, Inc. (LA '84)
  • Frederick O. Terrell, Managing Partner and CEO, Provender Capital Group LLC (LA '77)


  • Steve Strauss, Senior Small Business Columnist, USA TODAY (SF '82)
  • William Connelly, Strategic Analyst (ret.), The New York Times (NY '95)
  • Helen Dewar, Former Staff Writer, The Washington Post (SF'58)
  • Ava Ehrlich, Executive Producer, KSDK, Channel 5 (NBC Affiliate) (StL '76)
  • Diane McNulty, Executive Director of Media Relations, The New York Times (NY '94)
  • Gene Siskel, Former Film Critic, Siskel & Ebert At the Movies (LA '68)


  • Lisa Carlson, Executive Director,The Centers at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center (StL '84)
  • Iris Chen, President and CEO, I Have a Dream Foundation (NY '94)
  • Robert Fruend, Chief Executive Officer, St. Louis Regional Health Commission (StL '90)
  • James Gilson, Vice President and General Counsel, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (LA '75)
  • Billie Greer, President, Southern California Leadership Council (LA '77)
  • Susan Herrera, Chief Executive Officer, Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (LA '77)
  • Bill Jackson, President, (SF '91)
  • Fatima Kassam, Chief of Government Affairs and Policy, African Risk Capacity - a project of the African Union (SF '02)
  • Andrew Kimball, President and CEO, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation(NY '90)
  • John E. Kobara, Executive Vice President and COO, California Community Foundation (LA '79)
  • Eliza Leighton, Cofounder, Stand for Children (NY '96)
  • Jill Nishi, Deputy Director, U.S. Libraries Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (LA '91)
  • Sharon Rohrbach, Founder and CEO, Nurses for Newborns (StL '00)
  • Beatriz Stotzer, President & Founder, New Economics for Women (LA '84)
  • Scott Syphax, President and CEO, Nehemiah Corporation of America (SF '92)
  • Tim Tompkins, President, Times Square Alliance (NY '87)
  • Caprice Young, Vice President, Education, Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LA '93)
  • James Weinberg, Founder and CEO, Commongood Careers (PGH ’01)


  • Barbara Edmonds, Director of Field Operations, New York, District Council 37 (NY '94)
  • Alice Fialkin, President, Transportation Worker's Union/ SF MUNI (SF '94)
  • Jon Hartough, Senior Analyst, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (NY '03)
  • Josie Mooney, President, San Francisco Labor Council (SF '75)


  • Ray La Raja, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst (SF '88)
  • Robin A. Lenhardt, Associate Professor, Fordham University School of Law, (NY '90)
  • Marlene Linares Garcia, Vice Chancellor for Government Relations, California Community Colleges (LA '82)
  • Meredith Michaels, Vice Chancellor, Planning & Budget, University of California Irvine (LA '80)
  • Melissa Nobles, Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (NY '86)
  • John Sarvey, Executive Director, School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University (StL '91)
  • Peter Taylor, Chief Financial Officer, University of California (LA '81)
  • Christina Valentino, Vice Chancellor, Business & Administrative Services, University of California Santa Cruz (NY '85)
  • Alford A. Young Jr., Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Department Chair, Department of African and Afro-American Studies, University of Michigan (NY '89)


  1. ^ "The Organization-CORO". Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  2. ^ "Name & Logo-CORO". Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  3. ^ "Coro Fellows Program-CORO". Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  4. ^ "The Exploring Leadership Program-San Francisco". Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  5. ^ "Community & Regional Programs-CORO". Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  6. ^ "Notable Alumni-CORO". Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  7. ^ "Executive Director's Report-San Francisco". 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 

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