Courageous Leaders for Collective Liberation

Our Level Two program for spiritual activists, social service professionals, community organizers, and all who care about our world.

Program Overview

In these trying times, we are being called to lead together--ever more urgently--with courage and compassion.

We believe that courageous, compassionate leadership embodies many forms, and that it is most effective when grounded in deep, loving contemplative practice and an unwavering commitment to liberation for all.  We teach who we are, and if we are not doing our own personal work, that will reflect in our service efforts. And if we are doing deep contemplative work, but aren’t aware of the ways in which our capacity for care is limited by social and cultural conditioning, we may not realize our full potential. We also may end up perpetuating the very systems of oppression from which we aim to free ourselves and others.

Our Courageous Leaders for Collective Liberation Program is therefore designed to support both all those who wish to both grow and strengthen a healing and restorative contemplative practice as well learn to lead trauma-informed anti-oppressive trainings in their communities and places of work. The training is open to all educators, health professionals, social workers, activists, organizers, spiritual teachers, community leaders and caring professionals who wish to:

  • expand their vision for a more compassionate, just society;
  • strengthen their contemplative practice in ways that are sustaining and generative;
  • develop systemic and structural competency and fluency in anti-oppressive pedagogies;
  • learn tools for healing and transforming privilege and oppression; 
  • join a growing professional learning community of spiritual activists committed to critical self-discovery and collective liberation; and
  • integrate their healing and systems learning with their developing philosophy around organizing to workshop and implement their own personal and social leadership project.

Statement on Inclusion

We are dedicated to recruiting a cohort that is representative inclusive of people of various ages, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, spiritual or religious traditions, and of professional and education experience. We believe this work will succeed inasmuch as it is reflective of and responsive to the needs of our diverse human family.

Who Takes This Program?

Participants in our current cohort are: Educators, Diversity and Inclusion Directors and Trainers, School Counselors, Social Workers, Community Service Workers, Professors of Social Psychology, Social Science Researchers, Health Equity Researchers, Anti-Oppression Trainers, Environmental Activists, Contemplative Practitioners, College and Graduate Students in Health Education, Urban Planning and Psychology, Artists, Contemplative Teachers, Dancers and Directors of University Centers for Compassion.

What Folks Say About This Program

Courage of Care has been an essential support system and guiding force as I practice leadership in my work and organizing communities. Through participation in the Courageous Leaders program I was able to tap into a rich expanse of resources, coming both from the people in the course and also the course material itself. This access to resources immediately started transforming the ways I was able to show up in community and at work, and it prepared me to become one of the facilitators of the Courageous Leaders course.
My more recent role as a member of the Courage team has allowed me access to a safe place and a brilliant and diverse community of experts in which I can practice and be supported in my journey towards becoming and leader and facilitator. I am deeply thankful for the mentorship and support I am able to find in the Courage team, and on a tangible level, I am grateful for the visibility and connections that being involved with Courage has brought me as it has allowed me to start expanding my work to other states and professional fields.
--Juliana, Director of Equity and Inclusion, Teacher and Current Courage Faculty

"Courage of Care has been a grounding part of my life as I seek to further interweave contemplative practice and social engagement.  I am grateful for conversation partners and learning opportunities to explore how personal transformation and systemic change are bound up; these trainings have given me new understandings of the dismantling and rebuilding to be done on all levels and how I can commit to a stance of love and liberation on a daily basis.  What does it look like when we bring our full selves, all areas of our lives, every relationship into this work? In a world in which I can easily feel increasingly fragmented and disconnected, it has been profound to practice deepening in wholeness, integrity, and connection with this community."

--Cara, Community Service Worker and Contemplative Practitioner

Courage of care has provided a practice community through which I’ve been able to deepen the foundation of my work as an organizer. I’m grateful for the vulnerability, intentionality, and courage of our community. Working with courage continues to invite me to me to the edges of my own capacity to live my values sustainably. 

--Claire, Anti-Oppression Trainer and Activist

"Courage of Care's Advanced training programs have offered me a space for internal and communal healing and growth. They have provided me with the tools to deeply extend compassion and care to myself, and in doing so, allowed me to hold others in deeper compassion and care. The advanced training programs have given me the courage, through practices of deep care, to acknowledge and address systemic oppression. I love these programs because they are addressing issues of systems based trauma and oppression, both in ourselves and those around us, in a way that I feel is so important for the transformation if the world. The advanced training programs have given me tools, the courage, and the community, to step into spaces of trauma and oppression in a stance of fierce compassion. These programs have helped a great deal in the work I do, providing me with the best tools and understanding to continue on a path of bringing healing and love into ourselves and the systems we have created. I feel that Courage of Cares modality is unique, and one that is beneficial to anyone interested in developing the sustainable courage and compassion necessary to address the deep suffering of ourselves and our world.”

--Dan, Environmental Activist and Contemplative Practitioner

"The Courage of Care Coalition has been for me a source of both inspiration and encouragement to engage in the world from a space of love and compassion. The team is committed to not only share with us all they know but to make it alive through their very being. The Courageous Leadership Program has allowed me to deepen my spiritual practice and develop a stronger conviction on the importance of bringing compassion into action. Highly recommend it!"

--Gail, Director of a Buddhist Organization

Program Structure

The program is designed as a year-long course to offer time, space and community building necessary for deep, meaningful and actionable work to unfold. The 2019-2020 training includes the following in-person and online learning components:

  • LOVE | Courageous Compassion Retreat |*August 6th-11th in Portland, OR (*updated location!)
  • SEE | Healing Power of Love and Compassion Seminar | Fall 2019
  • HEAL | Compassionate, Just Systems Seminar | Winter 2020
  • ENVISION | Compassion­ and Love­-Based Leadership Seminar | Spring 2020
  • ACT | Courageous Leadership in Action Project | Spring/Summer 2020
  • INTEGRATION | Capstone Retreat | July 10-12, 2020 

Download our "Courageous Leaders for Collective Liberation" Program Overview

Contributing Program Faculty

Juliana Santoyo, MEd




Ana Hristic, MSW




Brooke D. Lavelle, PhD




Veta Goler, PhD




Kelly Conroy Moore, PhD




Ed Porter, MS, MA




Abra Vigna, PhD

Application and Program Fees

All tuition costs listed in the application linked below include retreat and online course tuition, as well as coaching, supervision and certificate fees. *These costs do not include travel to/from and room and board at the in-person workshops in Portland, OR.  

We are offering 3-5 need-based, service-recognition and work-exchange scholarships per application pool.

We do believe it is important for every member of our cohort to invest in our learning community, so we do not offer full scholarships.

The full program fee is $4950; we do offer 25% and 50% reduced fee work-exchange scholarships and will work with all committed participants on other arrangements to make this training possible, such as support with raising funds from our community to attend the training.

We also offer discounts to organizations or community groups of two or more.

We will begin reviewing scholarship applications on January 7th, 2019. We will award scholarships on a rolling basis. 

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. Please apply early as there are a limited number of seats available in this year-long training. We will accept applications as space remains through June 15th, 2020. 

Please note that a non-refundable deposit of $500 will be due within two weeks of acceptance to hold your spot in the training. Full program payments must be completed by June 21st, 2020. Please note that no refunds will be granted after this date.


Please indicate your request for a need-based and/or work exchange scholarship in your application form. If you are requesting a work-exchange scholarship, please also send us your CV with a description of skills you can offer.


Q: Does this certify me to teach Courage’s Leadership Program?

A: No. This is not a standard “certification” program. The program is designed to help participants deepen their practice and teaching in a variety of ways.

Q: How does this relate to other leadership programs for activists and organizers?

A: We see complementarity with a number of programs. Our approach aims to integrate deep contemplative training with critical social analysis and inclusive, anti-oppressive pedagogies. Our team has a diverse range of experience in education, social work, health care, spiritual activism, organizing, contemplative studies, and LGBTQ+ issues. We collectively draw on these backgrounds to create a collaborative learning environment that fosters deep personal reflection and sustainable, committed service.

Q: Can I enroll in parts of the program without enrolling in the whole program?

A: Because community is essential to the success of this work, the program is open only to accepted applicants who are able to complete the entire training. We do offer public retreats and workshops. Visit our workshops listings for more information.