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Since 2012, The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) has partnered with Furman University’s Riley Institute to nominate arts leaders in our state to participate in the Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI).

At least 2 arts leaders will be vetted through SCAC to continue with the Riley Institute’s rigorous application and interview process. The Riley Institute has the final say in the participant selection.

The award-winning DLI equips leaders with the tools and perspectives needed to leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina.

Since 2003, more than 2,300 leaders across the state have graduated from the DLI program and become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful cross-sector of South Carolinians that includes corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.

Participants (also known as Leo Twiggs Leadership Scholars) will be selected to join the DLI class based on their capacity to create impact within their organizations and communities through the arts.

Time Commitment:

One day a month for five months. Participants are expected attend all program sessions.


The Diversity Leadership in Action is a highly interactive curriculum that includes case studies, scenario analyses, and other experiential learning tools that maximize interaction and discussion among participants and facilitate productive relationships. The course is designed and facilitated by Juan Johnson.

Module details: https://www.furman.edu/riley/diversity-strategies/diversity-leaders-initiative/frequently-asked-questions/


DLI classes take place in three regions: Upstate (spring, fall), Midlands (spring), and Lowcountry (fall).

All sessions will be hosted in-person (subject to change and adapt to support health and safety) in the specific region and will feature expert speakers, engagement activities and networking opportunities.


Tuition will be paid for selected Leo Twiggs Scholars through the SCAC/DLI partnership.

Application Deadline: Thursday, November 30th, 2023

Application must be complete and submitted online through Submittable.

Who is eligible to apply?

· The applicant must be a resident of South Carolina

· The applicant must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application


· A passion for Arts and Culture

· A commitment to civic engagement and leadership

Who Should Apply?

· Artists

· Arts administrators

· Arts & culture professionals interested in community engagement

· Professionals in community development

Application Requirements:

· Personal Statement (Tell us why attending this training is important to you and/or your community).

· Impact Statement (Tell us what leadership skills or knowledge you hope to acquire, and how will these allow you to further or improve your work).

· Resume (Resume should showcase leadership and/or volunteer experience in arts & culture and community development).

· Letter of Support (A professional letter of recommendation stating support of the applicant’s participation in this grant program (from former instructors, professional artists, etc.). Letter(s) must have been
 written within the past 1-2 years).

Application Short Answer Questions:

1. SCAC’s values are accountability, courage, creativity, learning, relationships, and social justice. Select one of these values and describe why it’s important to you.

2. What unique or diverse arts perspectives would you bring to the cohort? How would your past professional and personal skills contribute to the cohort?

3. Name one leadership quality you possess that will benefit your community.

4. Describe how your participation in the program will impact your personal/professional goals? How will your participation impact your community?


Upon completion of the program participants will become a Leo Twigs Leadership Scholars’ Alumni, they will participate in program evaluation, and submit a story or video about their experience to be share on the SCAC website and/or social media channels.

Diversity Leaders Initiative Evaluation Rubric

Personal Statement (40 points)

Evaluate the candidate’s written responses. Look for evidence of insight, vision, or goals in terms of what the applicant hopes to achieve as a leader. The responses should demonstrate a significant degree of thought and should outline the applicant’s goals for participation in the program.

0 points: No real demonstration of insight, vision, or goals in the responses

10 points: Minimal insight, vision, or goals evident in the responses

20 points: Demonstrates a significant degree of insight and vision, with some reasonable goals

30 points: Demonstrates an exceptional degree of at least one of the following: insight, vision, or goals

40 points: Demonstrates outstanding insight and vision along with clear, impactful goals for participation

Impact Statement & Resume (40 points)

Evaluate the candidate’s leadership skills, their personal commitment to leadership development, and overall potential as a future/continued leader in the community.

0 points: No demonstration of leadership skills or commitment to leadership development

10 points: Minimal demonstration of leadership skills or personal development

20 points: Leadership skills and development align with career stage and setting

30 points: Has demonstrated leadership skills and development beyond what is expected for career stage and setting; high potential for transformative leadership

40 Points: Has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, commitment and growth for career stage and setting; outstanding potential for transformative leadership

Letter of Support (Points 20)

Evaluate the strength of the letter of recommendation. Please consider the degree to which the author of the letter is familiar with the candidate and whether the letter truly provides insight into the unique character and qualities or the candidate, or whether it is simply a narrative version of the candidate’s resume.

0 points: Letter does not add any insight into the candidate’s character or qualifications

5 points: The author has minimal experience with the candidate or letter provides little additional insight

10 points: The author is familiar with the candidate and recommends the candidate

15 points: The author is familiar with the candidate and provides meaningful additional insight into the candidate’s qualifications

20 points: The author is familiar with the candidate and provides additional insight of outstanding character and qualifications specifically regarding leadership

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.