Home » SC Palmetto Leadership Academy

About the SC Palmetto Leadership Academy

The SC Palmetto Leadership Academy (SCPLA) is a program of the CVSC Education Fund that focuses on recruiting, training, growing, and supporting tomorrow’s conservation leaders.

We identify and educate aspiring public servants about critical conservation and environmental issues at the state and local level, the role local boards and commissions have in protecting our health and environment, how to successfully seek appointment to public boards and commissions, and how to navigate the complexities of public service as an effective member of a board or commission.


Develop Civic Leadership Skills

The SCPLA helps our fellows develop civic leadership skills by providing monthly trainings, pairing fellows with one-on-one coaching with mentors, and providing hands-on experience with parliamentary procedure, how decisions are made, and more. Fellows will leave the program with an in-depth understanding of how Boards & Commissions operate and how their decisions shape conservation and environmental policy in communities.

Provide Policy Training

While SCPLA participants are not required to have previous conservation and environmental policy experience, our fellows will gain critical policy knowledge during the program in order to give them the tools they need to successfully advance conservation and environmental policy while serving on a local board or commission. In addition, the program will explore the interconnections between environment, health, poverty, housing, transit, and more – highlighting how conservation and environmental policy is woven throughout nearly every local Board and Commission’s charge.

Increase representation

The SCPLA program is designed to increase the representative diversity on South Carolina boards and commissions by recruiting women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented groups to serve on appointed boards and commissions. Conservative-minded conservationists are also encouraged to apply as we believe that political and partisan diversity within the conservation movement is necessary to build durable and bipartisan solutions to environmental challenges facing South Carolina communities.

Who Should Apply

We are looking for individuals who deeply desire to drive change in their community and feel they are called to public service. We seek individuals who want to grow their network and expand their policy knowledge to help improve the health and environment in their community. 

Prior political, advocacy, and/or policy experience are NOT required to be considered for the SCPLA. This program aims to grow and develop aspiring leaders who want to serve but don’t know how to begin. If you match that description, then submit an application.

Program Curriculum

The Palmetto Leadership Academy is a six-month-long program with two meetings per month. The program will have sessions that cover each of the following topics:

  • Understanding the roles of State and Local Government in South Carolina
  • What are Boards and Commissions: What Do They Do? How Do I Serve? And Do I Qualify?
  • How to Draft and Pass  Policies & Programing on a Board or Commission
  • The ABCs of Securing a Board or Commission Appointment (including building a professional portfolio and running an appointment campaign)
  • You’ve Been Appointed—Now What? Being an Effective Board Member
  • Understand Public Budgets and Finances
  • Robert Rules of Order and Parliamentary Produces

How to Apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Interviews will be conducted for each SCPLA cohort. Applications for the inaugural cohort close on January 2, 2024 and the program will begin on January 25.

To stay up to date on future cohort and application deadlines, please subscribe to our email list.