Leadership Clinton is a unique community leadership opportunity designed to enhance the development of existing & future leaders for Clinton County. Participants explore critical issues & opportunities with knowledgeable speakers, existing community leaders & effective facilitators, & participate in a variety of experimental activities including a community enhancement team project.  

Mission: To develop, inspire, and connect people today to shape our tomorrow.

Purpose: To offer existing and emerging leaders an understanding of issues and opportunities facing Clinton County and the region and an opportunity to become more involved for the benefit of all.


Our History

The Clinton County Leadership was founded by a group of community leaders in 1986 committed to finding a way to mentor and grow business leaders. Under the leadership of Robert Lucas, President of Wilmington College, and assistance of community leaders, James Powell, Elmer Williams, Campbell Graff, Harry McKinley, and Linden Damshrchrider planning and implementation occurred. From that beginning LC has graduated over 600 adults, expanded their programing to graduate over 500 youth with graduates contributing to countless boards, startup businesses, and projects.


Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative

Begun in 1994 by a group of Leadership Clinton alumni and county educators, the purpose of the Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative is for participating students to:
• Become aware of the challenging issues facing their community
• Network with current leaders and converse about issues with them
• Develop an interest in and passion for community involvement
Through a structured program, participants gain an understanding of various leadership skills including communication, critical thinking, goal setting, group dynamics, and conflict management. The students also gather current information about Clinton County and make experiential application through a community project.
Each county high school determines the method for participant selection. Applications and brochures are provided to principals and advisors in early May. Personal interviews and advisor/teacher recommendations usually determine selection. Students from all forms of secondary education, including public, private, and home-schooled, are eligible. Sophomore or junior standing is preferred. To be chosen, students must demonstrate good school attendance, must possess a good disciplinary record, and must display an interest in learning about the benefits and needs of Clinton County. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and actively participate in each class.
The Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative program is designed and implemented by the Clinton County Leadership Institute Board of Directors with assistance from the members of the Leadership Clinton Alumni. There are eight sessions: orientation/team building in the fall and seven class days through March. Each class day includes leadership skill training, a community focus topic, and leadership responsibility.
Each student actively participates with his/her school group and advisor, to host an assigned class day. The leadership responsibilities are assigned as homework between monthly class days. Each day involves discussion of community service needs in Clinton County. In October participants select a community project to work on with their fellow school teammates and present a visual and oral report to the community at graduation.
The Youth Collaborative program is funded through the Clinton County Leadership Institute, a 501 (c) (3) organization. The Institute receives financial and in-kind donations from foundation, community individuals, and corporations. Schools and student participants are not charged a fee.



Dorothy Moore, Wilmington Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors member and then vice president of National Bank & Trust Company, launched the idea of a “leadership program” at the April 16, 1986 chamber board meeting. She had noted a lot of enthusiasm expressed by bankers from Troy, OH during an Ohio Bankers’ Association meeting about such a program in the Troy community. The Wilmington Area Chamber of Commerce asked its Education and Training Committee, chaired by Campbell Graf and Dorothy Moore, to explore the idea.

Early in this investigation, it was found that the major cities around Wilmington, including Cincinnati, had a long and successful history of running leadership programs. Robert Lucas, President of Wilmington College, while superintendent of Princeton Schools, had been a participant in the Cincinnati program and attributed much of the Cincinnati Downtown Revitalization in the early 1960s to the leadership program and the bonds it built among key leaders.

In mid-May, 1986 a task force drawn from both the Wilmington Area Chamber and Downtown Wilmington, Inc. met with Robert Lucas, appointing him chair. On June 11, 1986, members visited the Troy program leaders. It was recommended Wilmington utilize the resources of the National Association of Community Leadership Organization (NACLO) in Alexandria, VA, which was at that time a part of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.

The task force determined the local program should be independent and countywide. In September 1986, CCLI added representatives Craig Beam of the Sabina Area Development Group, and Elmer Williams from the Blanchester Area of Commerce.

Financing of what was perceived to be a $15,000 per year concept was formalized in September 1986 with a bond drive. Purchase of $17,600 in bonds was achieved at a kick-off dinner held at Snow Hill Country Club with representatives from Troy as special guests. Over 80 Clinton county leaders from both the public and private sectors attended and elected the first Board of Trustees of the Clinton County Leadership Institute. The Hon. Herman Cartwright aided the task force in obtaining its non-profit corporation status. Officers elected November 18, 1986 were Elmer Williams, Chair; Herman Cartwright, Vice Chair; James Powell, Treasurer; Campbell Graf, Secretary. On January 12, 1987, Claudia Damschroder was selected by the Board to be the first Program Coordinator.

Lennis Perkins designed logos for the Institute, using LC for the Leadership Clinton program. Colors of green and gold were chosen because of the agricultural nature of Clinton County. The color green stands for growth while the gold color represents the importance of future leadership to the quality of life in Clinton County.
Members of the Institute’s Board of Directors have numbered 15 since March of 1988. They serve three-year terms with five elected each year at the CCLI Annual Meeting. Members are very active, participating with at least one of the Institute’s programs, working community events, and helping with presentations, fund-raising and office/committee production. The objective is to have two-thirds of the board members Leadership Clinton Alumni while the other one third from the community at large.