Who We Are

Since 1964, IEL has equipped leaders to work together across boundaries to build effective systems that prepare children and youth for postsecondary education, careers, and citizenship.


A society that uses all of its resources effectively to provide an equal opportunity for all children and youth to learn, develop, and become active participants of our democracy.


To partner with under-resourced communities to equip leaders to better prepare children, youth, adults, and families for postsecondary education and training, rewarding careers, and civic and community engagement.

Our big idea

Our 57-year journey and experiences have resulted in approaches, tools and practices that reflect the needs of leaders no matter where they sit in communities. The authentic relationships that we build in the process shape the way we engage community leaders, do our work, and provide the foundation for deeper impact as we continue to address systemic challenges in the 400+ communities that trust us as partners, especially during this unprecedented time in history. If we invest in community leaders of all ages, stages, and sectors, we can change the odds.

IEL's Theory of Change

IEL's Theory of Change

IEL's Policy By the People Vision

IEL's Policy By The People Vision

Meet our team

IEL’s staff are skilled doers who believe in the power of leadership to transform systems.

View our 2018-23 strategic plan

Our values


We support community and institutional leaders as they build systems around racial justice, disability inclusion, and economic equity.


We prioritize inclusive decision-making along with systems and practices that ensure that all voices, particularly those of marginalized groups, are elevated.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

We foster partnerships and coordination wherever people learn, work, and advocate.

Community-driven solutions

We leverage community knowledge and resources for positive change.