What is CCL?

The Center for Community Leadership (CCL) trains grassroots leaders and supports community organizations with the skills, resources, and networking opportunities needed to strengthen their potential to affect sustainable community change.

Why This Matters

Effective organizing requires organizers to refine their skills and capacities continuously. The consequences of consistently failing to support the growth of entry through senior-level organizers are staff burnout and ineffective campaign strategies. Most troubling, it contributes to the underrepresentation of marginalized people in leadership positions within the community development and social justice movement overall by making success and advancement more difficult to obtain. The Center for Community Leadership helps organizers build their abilities and resilience so they can stay engaged in social justice work for the long term.

What We're Doing

In 2009, The Center for Community Leadership (CCL) began as an effort to develop “infrastructure for recruiting, training, and supporting organizing that could dramatically build the power and capacity of the city’s community groups to tackle our most pressing issues, neighborhood by neighborhood and citywide.”

Today, CCL provides sustained training and support for organizers and leaders committed to Building Community Power in New York City. It offers courses, training, and peer-support spaces allowing participants to deepen their skills and engage with applicable concepts across issue areas. CCL engages program alums, organizers, and others committed to movement-building to generate opportunities for strategizing and practicing solidarity.

What You Can Expect

Theory & Practice: While engaging in conceptual learning about the elements of community organizing, participants in CCL programs also practice what they’re learning on the ground and with the communities they’re organizing with. CCL instructors craft learning spaces where organizers can delve into community organizing history, theory, concepts, and key tools and resources to build up, apply, and reflect on their organizing skills.

Cohort-Based Learning: CCL courses bring together cohorts of organizers, providing opportunities for collaborative learning, digging into key questions, reflecting, and sharing about the work of organizing and their development in it. Our courses are spaces where organizers can build and deepen supportive relationships they can lean on in the ongoing movement-building work.

Expertise: CCL instructors are deeply committed to organizing and movement-building, having honed their expertise and craft over years of on-the-ground experience and organizational leadership. Grounded in their in-depth knowledge of organizing and a broader commitment to supporting the learning and development of individual organizers, their organizations, and the communities they work, CCL instructors facilitate a thorough curriculum and offer mentorship, coaching, and feedback to help participants improve their skills and practice.

Organizational Capacity Building: CCL programs are a valuable resource and investment in the onboarding, training, and ongoing development of organizers and organizational leaders, contributing to the overall capacity of ANHD member organizations and other partners and allies.

Networking and Peer Learning Opportunities: CCL courses, workshops, and trainings provide opportunities to gather and connect with a vast network of practitioners and organizations.

The Organizing Academy

CCL programs are designed around a guiding framework for community organizing as a power-building practice and strategy that works to win concrete changes in people's lives and communities.

Our three cohort-based programs are:

  • The Introductory Course
  • The Organizing Apprenticeship
  • The Advanced Seminar and Intensive

Introductory Course

The CCL Introductory Course is a 10-month cohort-based training and support program designed for newer staff organizers seeking to develop foundational principles and skills.

Session topics include:

  • Base Building
  • Leadership Development
  • Work Planning/Time Management
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Campaigns Strategy

The course meets from 10 AM to 1 PM, at least two Fridays each month, starting in September and running through the end of June of the following year.

202-2025 Tuition

  • $2,000 ANHD Members
  • $2,500 Non-Member Organizations


  • Applications for the 2024-2025 Intro Course are open! Apply here by August 2nd..


  1. Fill out the written application
  2. Selected applicants will be invited to a group interview with the course instructor
  3. Accepted applicants will be notified over the summer
  4. Course begins in September

Organizing Apprenticeship

In 2024, the CCL Organizing Apprenticeship is a 6-month training and support program for community members interested in learning about community organizing.


Community members seeking to work with a Host Organization in a 6-month paid position are either nominated by an ANHD member organization or apply independently to be matched with a group.

Participants in the Organizing Apprenticeship are trained as community organizers in a cohort-based model, form relationships with fellow organizers across issues areas, and deepen their knowledge of organizing and advocacy in New York City.

During the program, Apprentices:

  • learn and work for 20 hours a week for 6 months (January-June) with a $12,000 stipend
  • gain on-the-ground community organizing experience with an ANHD member organization
  • attend the CCL Introductory Course and other trainings and workshops to learn foundational organizing skills and principles
  • get career development support and resources through the ANHD and CCL networks
  • For more information, see our one-pager!


  • Applications for 2025 are opening soon! Sign up for updates on the program and when applications open here.


  1. Fill out the written application
  2. Interviews: 
    • Info Session and Group Interview
    • Finalists are invited to Matching Fair (*if applying independently) 
    • OR individual interviews (*if nominated by an organization)
  3. Accepted applicants will be notified in December
  4. Course begins in January

Host Organizations

The Organizing Apprenticeship is a capacity-building opportunity for groups committed to training, supporting, and developing emerging leaders.

Organizations apply and either nominate a member leader in their organization to host as an Apprentice or go through a matching process to be matched with an interested applicant. Host organizations gain increased staff capacity to further local campaigns while receiving targeted support throughout the program. Apprentices work with them in a 6-month paid position.

2024 Host Fee: $5,000 for 6-month part-time cycle (this goes towards part of the Apprentice stipend and program fees)

During the program, Hosts:

  • Develop a 6-month part-time organizing position for 20 hours a week, including class time
  • Nominate a member leader with an existing relationship with the organization or apply to go through a matching process with someone who has applies independently
  • Attend a Host Orientation in December or early January
  • Host an organizing apprentice, providing regular supervision to support their learning and work


  • Applications for 2025 are opening soon! Sign up for updates on the program and when applications open here.

Advanced Organizing Seminar & Intensive

The CCL Organizing Academy's Advanced Organizing Seminar & Intensive is a course for experienced organizers to read, reflect, and explore ways to deepen their analysis and practice of community organizing. It is designed to help experienced organizers get to the next level and dig deep into institutional and individual opportunities for growth.

The Advanced Organizing Seminar will run from January to June 2025 and consist of monthly group sessions. Participants will meet in person from 10am-1pm on selected Fridays. 

We will also offer the Intensive, which offers 1-1 personal sessions for Seminar participants who want additional support.

The course is structured by topic, which currently are: 

  • Political and Popular Education
  • Base Building
  • Campaigns
  • Institutional Growth, Supervision, and Structure

For each topic, the class will:

  • explore theoretical frameworks
  • reflect on current practices for their strengths and challenges
  • identify new practices to try and then reflect on implementing them.

The class is participatory and discussion-oriented, rather than lecture-style. Participants, the instructor, and additional advisers all contribute to the on-going development of the course.

The Intensive

The Intensive is a supplemental track consisting of 1:1 support sessions once a month in addition to the once a month group seminar sessions.

This is an opportunity to meet with the instructor, Susanna Blankley, to talk more in depth about the questions and practices you are personally working on and get individualized support.


  • ANHD Member
    • $500 for the Seminar (no 1:1 support) 
    • $750 for the Intensive (w/ 1:1 support) 
  • Non-ANHD Member: 
    • $650 for the Seminar (no 1:1 support) 
    • $900 for the Intensive (w/ 1:1 support)


  • Applications for 2025 are opening soon! Sign up for updates on the program and when applications open here.

Meet our Instructors

Krystal Portalatin-Gauthier is a Queer Femme Nuyorican. As a youth she co-founded FIERCE, an LGBTQ youth of color community based organization, to fight against the impacts of gentrification and policing in the West Village. At 19 she left New York and lived for several years in Oahu, Hawaii and San Diego, California where she worked in the areas of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS prevention and youth development. Longing for her political home, she returned to NYC in 2008 to work at FIERCE. After transitioning out of her role as Co-Director in 2015 she continued to support the movement as a consultant. She has also had the great privilege of working at Communities United for Police Reform as the Operations Coordinator and served as the Interim Deputy Director at CAAAV Summer 2017 – Spring 2019. There she supported the organizers professional development, assessed programs, created infrastructure to make critical shifts, and supported the onboarding of the new Executive Director. As a consultant, she brings her knowledge of organizational development, leadership development, fundraising, and facilitation to support grassroots organizations to build their capacity and functionality. Her approach to consulting draws from the skills she cultivated while working for social justice organizations that are rooted in an anti-oppression and intersectional lens. Krystal also sits on the North Star Fund’s Community Funding Committee. Outside of her commitment to social justice and work life, Krystal enjoys reading, cooking, family time, and perfecting her winged eyeliner!


Susanna Blankley has over 15 years of tenant and labor organizing experience and project management.

She worked as the Director of Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), a project of New Settlement Apartments, in the Southwest Bronx, for over 7 years. CASA is made up of community members working together to improve the living conditions in the South Bronx and maintain affordable housing through collective action. Under Susanna's leadership CASA grew from a small base of members to over 4,000, the organizing team grew from 3 to 13, the organization's capacity grew from working on only tenants' association issues to developing and leading local and citywide campaigns, guaranteeing concrete changes for tenants across the city and she developed a strong leadership development program for members, a political education and organizing training program for staff as well as a vibrant grassroots fundraising model.

As the Coordinator of the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition for 10 years, she helped form the coalition and launch a campaign to pass legislation making it a right for tenants to have an attorney when facing eviction. She worked to document the win by creating a Campaign toolkit and documentary, supported campaigns across the country and worked to implement the legislation in NYC in a way that builds the movement by developing political education to ground the work like the NYC tenant movement history timeline,  training and supporting dozens of organizers throughout the city, targeting the worst evictors, launching new campaigns to expand RTC and helping to guide the work during COVID to cancel rent and supporting citywide rent strikes. 

Susanna has taught community organizing at the City College of New York and the Center for Worker Education. She currently teaches the Advanced Organizing Seminar and Intensive with the Center for Community Leadership. She has also taught courses on the theory and practice of eviction resistance and theories of change.

Susanna began her work as a Labor Organizer in Puerto Rico and has worked to advance Women’s Rights in Ecuador, New York City and Kenya. She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University and her Masters in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the SIT Graduate Institute.

Alumni Network and Other CCL Programming

Workshops & Trainings

CCL offers organizing trainings and workshops open to the broader ANHD community by CCL instructors and other guest facilitators. Past trainings have included: Building Community Power - Organizing 101; Supervision for Organizers; Making Memorable Meetings.

Check out upcoming trainings from CCL and other ANHD programs, including the Affordable Housing Institute, on our ANHD Training Series page.

All participants in the Organizing Academy courses have free access to all ANHD trainings for the duration of their classes.


Our Alumni

We continue supporting CCLers and the organizing movement post-graduation with ongoing educational and networking opportunities. Alums of our cohorts stay connected through our Organizing Update newsletter, Google Group, LinkedIn page, and Facebook Group. If you’d like to be added, please contact Jennifer Lopez (Jennifer.L@anhd.org).

If you'd like to update your contact information or are open to chatting with our Program Coordinator about your experience with CCL and any ideas you have about offerings for organizers, let us know here.

Our Impact

Since 2009, over 250 participants have gone through a CCL training program, and over 100 community organizations have been involved in this opportunity.

Examples of campaigns participants have worked on include:

  • #HomelessCantStayHome
  • NYS Rent Law Reform
  • Right to Counsel in Housing Court
  • Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone Campaign (BASE)
  • Policing Reform Campaigns & Ending Solitary Confinement
  • Stand For Tenant Safety, Department of Buildings Reform Campaign
  • Certificate of No Harassment (CONH)
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform
  • Lift the Caps Street Vendor Campaign
  • NYC Rent Freeze/Roll Back Campaign
  • Predatory Equity Campaigns
  • Climate Justice

And so much more! Click here for the full list of community organizations we have worked with through CCL.

Stay in Touch

If you'd llike to get updates about CCL, including when program applications open, registration for upcoming workshops and trainings, fill out this form to let us know.

If you have questions about the Center for Community Leadership or its programs, please contact Program Coordinator Jennifer Lopez (Jennifer.L@anhd.org).