Howard Rye Institute

The Howard Rye Institute

Building Tomorrow’s Skilled Leaders

Apply to the 2018 Howard Rye Institute!

Who was Howard Rye? 

Howard Rye, a Philadelphia activist, thinker and strategist, dedicated his short life to the concerns and rights of minorities on many issues such as: prison re-entry programs, youth education, gun control, economic and political engagement. He is one of the unsung heroes of the African-American community who devoted his life to breaking down the barriers minorities face and making systems more equitable.

What is the Howard Rye Institute (HRI)?

A Nine Month intensive training initiative building tomorrow’s leaders of African descent. HRI teaches young people of African descent to be community leaders, activists and organizers to advocate for themselves and their community. HRI fellows learn the importance of history and how it relates to issues communities face today; develop an understanding of how institutions work and the politics behind them; develop the political and economic thinking that goes into issues and system impacting our community. In developing the next generation of civic and political leaders, HRI uses experts and prominent leaders from universities, unions, government, business and nonprofits as trainers, speakers, and mentors.

How does HRI work?

Beginning in January through September, there are both required and elective activities:


  • Attending both four-hour training sessions on the third and fourth Saturday of each month (Important).
  • Working on 1 of the 4 work groups.
  • Attending weekly work group meeting.
  • Choosing an issue to focus on. Past issues have included health disparities, philanthropy, managing a nonprofit and economics of arts, youth violence


  • Attending a UMN activities, i.e., workshops, community forums and meetings with elected officials.

Is HRI right for you?

  •  Are you of African descent, between the ages of 20 and 35?
  • Do you have at least a high school degree?
  • Are you disturbed by conditions in your community and do you want to do something about it?
  • Are you disciplined enough to do the work required to prepare yourself for community leadership, including attendance at all sessions
  • Are you determined to learn all that you can to help make lasting change in your community?

“HRI made me aware of the concept of ‘white saviors’ and the irony that they manage to keep people of color in their place while attempting to ‘save’ us. These nonprofits are disproportionally funded by foundations that cherry pick which issues they think are important for us, while we are relegated to window-dressing.”- Antionetta Kelley, 2013 HRI Fellow

What is the focus?

  • Critical thinking, analysis and effective oral and written communication are crucial skills to being a leader.
  • Lectures and workshops will be held on non-profit management and fundraising, community organizing, advocacy, public speaking, negotiation, planning, political analysis and practice.
  • The City of Boston is the classroom.
  • Understand how local city government works from Boston city councilors.

What does it cost?

  • HRI is free to those who are committed to doing the work.
  • You must contribute $10 to the class chest for each class you miss.
  • The group will decide how the money is used.

Contact the Howard Rye Institute

Questions about the Howard Rye Institute?

Email the Howard Rye Institute Coordinator, Lum-Bih Tashi, at