Coro trains ethical, diverse civic leaders nationwide. Coro leaders develop skills; master tools needed to engage and empower communities; gain experience in government, business, labor and not-for-profit community organizations; and participate in special community and political problem solving processes.

Over 10,000 Coro alumni are currently serving as leaders in local, regional and national/global businesses, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and elected public office. These civic entrepreneurs and innovators use their Coro training to develop individual civic leadership skills, experience and confidence; solve tough community problems; and network with leaders across geographical and political jurisdictions to build civic coalitions, consensus and solutions.

Coro was founded in San Francisco in 1942 by W. Donald Fletcher, an attorney, and Van Duyn Dodge, an investment counselor, 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.

Since 1947, when the first program was delivered, Coro has grown to include Coro Centers in six cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles (1957), St. Louis (1972), Kansas City (1975), New York (1980), and Pittsburgh (1999).

300-400 participants a year go through Coro programs nationwide. At least 10,000 program alumni are currently serving as leaders in local, regional and national/global businesses, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and elected public office.

The four Centers, Programs and licensees, and an alumni service organization, are connected, supported and leveraged as a system by Coro National, a 501(c) 3 governing body that serves as the national voice and partner for the regional centers and alumni participants, and works to build capacity for the system and enhance program quality standards and innovation.

Coro is a non-profit, non-partisan educational institute supported by foundations, corporations and individuals.


Most of today’s serious problems are too complicated to be solved within a single organizational entity. Significant “systems” problems such as health care, transportation, urban security, or environmental degradation can often only be successfully addressed working with many key stakeholders across sectors, identifying and negotiating around individual and organizational interests in pursuit of the public interest. Coro specializes in developing and deepening individuals’ skills and capabilities to lead in this kind of complex problem-solving process.

Coro uses an experiential approach to leadership development. After intense, competitive, community-based selection processes, each individual’s community learning is supplemented by group seminars; rigorous skills training and individual and group project work assignments.

While many other internship programs focus primarily on enhancing individuals’ knowledge, networks and personal resumes, Coro’s methodology and group process require individuals to identify and deal with personal strengths and weaknesses, and become skilled team players. The program’s readings and focus on personal reflection also encourage participants to clarify their personal ethical standards and to define their aspirations in a larger context than mere personal success. Over the course of programs, the Coro toolbox develops advanced analytic and problem solving skills and abilities which deepen participants’ leadership training and abilities to address civic and social problems.


Coro contributes a group of trained individuals whose personal skills and civic involvement promote broader civic engagement and expand the social capital of the community. By developing a network of local and regional organizations willing to create internship and project opportunities for program participants, Coro creates a safe space in which diverse organizations and leaders enter into dialogue with program participants and with each other. This extended network of relationships helps communities and regions address social, community, economic development and governance challenges. Some cities or regions who are trying to grow and retain local leaders offer additional incentives for Coro program participants to remain in the area after they finish the program.