Since 1995, our Lead for Diversity Institute has enhanced the leadership & social skills of 3,200 students across NJ. Be part of the transformative experience on Corporate Volunteer Day!


For the past two decades, the American Conference on Diversity’s Lead for Diversity (LFD) Institute has worked with thousands of high-school students and more than 120 educational institutions throughout New Jersey to open the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s leaders. Formerly known as Anytown, LFD has been a cornerstone program that prepares youth to create inclusive workplaces, schools, and communities.

LFD kicks off with a summer residential learning experience that includes small group discussions, workshops, and experiential learning activities on ability status, sexual orientation, body image, race, religion, gender, and other diversity-focused topics. Designed to build social-awareness, leadership, conflict-resolution, and human-relations skills, the six-day kickoff session equips delegates to recognize and challenge bias and oppression within their communities. During the week, students are joined by their school advisors to create diversity Action Plans that address challenges specific to their schools and/or school districts. Their Action Plans are then implemented throughout the upcoming school year to make positive social change. The successful implementation of these plans has the potential to reach more than 20,000 New Jersey students, educators, and community members annually.


“This year marks 20 years of our organization developing future leaders with open minds who have helped others become more accountable for their actions and behaviors,” says American Conference on Diversity President and CEO Elizabeth Williams-Riley.

Over the past few years, LFD delegates from the following schools have implemented initiatives:


Freehold Township High School (Freehold Township): Embraced differences by writing what makes them unique and special on paper snowflakes, which were then posted on the cafeteria wall with the words “just like snowflakes, we’re all special and unique.” Says Sophia Blanc, “It definitely was effective and caused the students to really think about their differences.”

Lakewood High School (Lakewood Township): Made an educational video and lesson guide about bias reduction and anti-bullying that was shared with all teachers across the district. View the video here:

St. Benedict’s Preparatory School (Newark): Presented “Verbal Dehumanization Toward Women,” a series of workshops and discussions on gender language to raise awareness of the impact of derogatory words.

University Academy Charter High School (Jersey City): Using iPads to video record their peers’ experiences with diversity and stereotyping, the students incorporated the interviews into a video presentation.

Watch what other student delegates who participated in LFD have to say:


Want to be part of our 20th Anniversary LFD summer session? Join us on Thursday, July 16 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), during “Corporate Volunteer Day” at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA. Volunteers will work with student teams and their advisors to brainstorm, develop Action Plans, and experience the transformative experience LFD has on communities. In addition to this important social-justice work, volunteers will also participate in our fun community rituals of “song fest,” interact with staff and students, and eat lunch with the LFD community. Space is limited and a $75 registration fee will cover round-trip transportation of volunteers and meals for the day. Please RSVP by June 15 to or 732-745-9330.

In a survey of past program participants, nearly 80 percent of former delegates said that attending the program impacted their career choice, leading them to education, social work, nonprofit work, healthcare, government, and law. For more on the impact of Lead for Diversity, download the LFD Survey Report ( and Advisors’ Evaluation Report (


Participating institutions for the Lead for Diversity 2014/15 school year included: Absegami High School (Galloway), Bayonne High School (Bayonne), Bergen Academies (Hackensack), Cedar Creek High School (Egg Harbor City), Christ The King Preparatory High School (Newark), Franklin High School (Somerset), Freehold High School (Freehold Township), Gill St. Bernard’s School (Gladstone), Howell High School (Farmingdale), Lakewood High School (Lakewood Township), Princeton Day School (Princeton), Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School (Newark), Saint Vincent Academy (Newark), Secaucus High School (Secaucus), Spotswood High School (Spotswood), University Academy Charter High School (Jersey City), William Dickinson High School (Jersey City).


Many of the schools that participate in LFD are provided LFD scholarships made possible by our Partners in Education. Each year we award more than $65,000 in scholarships to students and schools. You can demonstrate your support for the American Conference on Diversity’s Lead for Diversity Institute by making a donation here:

About the American Conference on Diversity

The American Conference on Diversity was founded in 1948 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Today, the programs, services, and initiatives of the American Conference on Diversity are among the most important work focused on creating a more inclusive society. It is the unfinished business of living in a highly diverse nation: educating and empowering our next generation of leaders; enhancing our workplaces; and helping to create inclusive communities. The American Conference on Diversity builds on an historic mission and creates programs and activities relevant and vital to 21st Century life. It is a journey we can all take together. The American Conference on Diversity operates Regional Community Networks covering all of New Jersey. Visit to learn more.



Gail Zoppo

Media Relations Consultant

109 Church Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901