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Sunrise over Mountains


Activating transformational local leadership



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 global brain drain — migration from lower-income countries, underserved communities, and the social impact field — means that the places most in need are least likely to have the capacity to address their problems. For far too many people growing up around the world, the narrative of success has become one of leaving and never coming back. And with structural barriers hamstringing the development of their future leadership, many communities struggle to solve their challenges, especially in our world’s most vulnerable places.


Mountaintop is a 501(c)(3) 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 exceptional emerging leaders to stay in or return to their home communities and contribute to systems change in lower-income places around the world. Mountaintop matches Fellows with locally led NGOs, social ventures, and government agencies to lead high-impact projects, strengthens the capacity of Fellow hosts, and amplifies Fellows’ potential through mentorship, grants, a lifelong community of inspiring peers, and a two week leadership institute hosted at Harvard University's Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics.


Strengthening Local Leadership


Value for Hosts

Mountaintop adds capacity for hosts to 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 only pay for the cost of the Fellow’s stipend, 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.


"Mountaintop might just be the best thing that has ever happened for young entrepreneurs, changemakers, and startups in the world. This is certainly the gateway to visible impact, concrete actions, and global transformation. And this is the game-changer for fellowships, taking the master plan from the playbooks and transforming them into action. We are definitely not too young to lead."

John T. Sarboah Jr., Obama Foundation Africa Leader, (Monrovia, Liberia)

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