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Sunrise over Mountains

Mountaintop International

Activating transformational local leadership worldwide



From war to poverty to climate change, the challenges facing our world are immense. The leadership that this moment requires is born into every community. But structural barriers hamstring the development of local leaders in our world's most vulnerable communities, meaning the places most in need are least likely to be able to address their own problems. These barriers prevent our highest potential leaders from getting the support and resources they need, causing many leaders to abandon the social impact and public service fields, migrate away from their communities, or struggle to grow their impact and make a large scale difference. Far too many people growing up around the world have given up on their dream of strengthening their communities, and have resigned themselves to finding a lucrative but non-impactful job or leaving their home community altogether.


Mountaintop International is a nonprofit that works toward a future where every community can solve its own problems in order to build a just, loving, and peaceful world for all. In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose "Mountaintop" speech called for a locally led movement to stir our global consciousness, Mountaintop cultivates transformational local leadership and strengthens communities in places worldwide where success too often means leaving and not coming back.


Mountaintop’s flagship program is a paid, one-year, full-time fellowship for the most promising local leaders to stay in or return to their home communities and contribute to systems change in lower-income places around the world. Mountaintop’s Fellows receive a full-time stipend, two week leadership institute hosted at Harvard University's Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics, 1:1 mentorship, grants, and a lifelong community of inspiring peers to accelerate their local leadership journeys and prepare them for large-scale impact to transform their communities and countries.


Strengthening Local Leadership


Value for Hosts

Mountaintop helps hosts deliver impact by attracting exceptional locally rooted talent drawn to the benefits of a fellowship program. Simultaneously, hosts support the next generation of sustainable, locally-rooted leaders to strengthen their communities’ ability to address its own problems. In addition, Mountaintop provides customized professional development programs, including mentorship, relevant peer networks, and global training opportunities for all hosts to deepen and scale their work. Hosts pay for the cost of the Fellow’s stipend plus a small service fee, while philanthropy covers the cost of training, enrichment, and administration.


Value for Fellows

Mountaintop provides a meaningful, high-impact full-time position in one’s home community or country along with a stipend, a community of inspiring like-minded peers from around the world, a free world class leadership training at Harvard University, monthly mentorship sessions with extraordinary leaders worldwide, a chance to invest up to $2,500 in one’s own community, and ongoing alumni support including career advocacy and additional grant opportunities.


Value for Communities

Mountaintop supports community members’ professional, socio-emotional, and leadership development to strengthen self-efficacy, build a pipeline of local leaders, and support sustainable community development. In essence, Fellows multiply their impact by strengthening the leadership of their fellow community members.

"I am inspired by the belief that to grow with our community, we must deepen our roots and expand our wings. Joining the Mountaintop Fellowship will give me a wing to fly so I can broaden my skills, expand my network, and gain valuable knowledge, ultimately enabling me to strengthen my roots and contribute to the development of my homeland."

Sumarni Laman, 2024 Mountaintop Fellow and Founder of The Heartland Project (Palangka Raya, Indonesia)

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