In an effort to reweave what John Gardner calls the "unraveling social fabric," Joseph Jaworski founded ALF in Houston in 1980. ALF is a national organization with active chapters in Houston, Hartford, the State of Oregon, Silicon Valley, Mountain Valley (Sacramento), Tacoma, Charlotte NC, Myrtle Beach NC, Michigan, and California's Northern San Joaquin Valley. The Mountain Valley Chapter, serving Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, and Northern Solano counties, was founded in 1997 by four Senior Fellows who had moved to Sacramento from other chapters and wanted to start a program here.
ALF-MVC annually invites a class of 25-30 established leaders from diverse backgrounds - professional, ethnic and cultural, political, and geographic - to participate in a yearlong Fellows program. The yearlong Fellows Program is a rigorous engaging process of action and reflection with dialogues most relevant to the current leadership challenges resulting in civic engagement by action teams of passionate concerned leaders. Individual leadership is also transformed through rigorous reflection on strengths and challenges, intentions, and outcomes. Fellows are invited and expected to bring their wealth of experience, thinking, and their hearts to this dynamic adventure. Each class is carefully balanced for diversity of all kinds. The goal is to represent as much as possible the diversity of the region. Each class engages in the practice of collaborative leadership skills they have been exploring throughout the program by serving the community in some fashion.
For example, Class I held a Forum on Race and Diversity, created a video and discussion guide to stimulate dialogue on the diversity issues. More recently, Class XI initiated a public awareness campaign to strengthen the quality of civil discourse calling on candidates to lead issue-based campaigns and to not engage in the politics of personal destruction. After graduation, each class joins the ranks of Senior Fellows gathering regularly for issue forums, social events, and community service. Senior Fellows carry out the mission of working collaboratively for the public good. The cost per Fellow is $13,500. Most Fellows are supported, at least in part, by the corporation or organization for which they work. Scholarship funds are raised to support the need for geographic, professional, and/or cultural diversity in the class.