William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, Wildacres Leadership Initiative

  • NC

About Us

The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations and Wildacres Leadership Initiative trains, supports and convenes a statewide network of leaders to take courageous action on North Carolina’s most pressing issues through civil dialogue and by engaging across differences to improve the lives of all North Carolinians.

We envision a North Carolina where leadership at all levels is collaborative, courageous and civil, equitable and just, respects and engages differences, and makes thoughtful and transparent decisions. 

Our state is grappling with complex, divisive issues that impact the trajectory of this great state and demand leadership marked by reflection, dialogue, and working across differences. Wildacres Leadership Initiative (WLI) is committed to addressing this challenge through its signature program - The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations.  

Dedicated to teaching and inspiring a new generation of courageous leaders for North Carolina, the Fellowship is both a two-year cohort experience that orients fellows and a life-long action network. Fellows model William C. Friday’s leadership style of civility, transparency, and collaboration across divergent ideas and identities. In approaching a leadership challenge, Friday Fellows practice rigorous discernment and create opportunities for dialogue that connect those in positions of influence with those most likely to be affected or marginalized. Through courageous action, vigorous, informed civil dialogue, and the ability to engage across differences, Friday Fellows are the change agents this state needs to address our most challenging issues and improve human conditions for its residents.

Wildacres Leadership Initiative is a program of Wildacres Retreat, located in Little Switzerland, NC, which was dedicated in 1946 to the betterment of human relations and interfaith dialogue. On its 50th anniversary, the retreat center established WLI to broaden the scope of Wildacres’ influence on North Carolina and its citizens for the next 50 years and beyond.