Wye River

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Wye River is a group of 21 leaders of progressive organizations across different movements that has been meeting since 2009. The group has served different roles since it first started meeting, but it's current focus is to develop a long-term, values-based, intersectional agenda that builds power and demonstrates unity.

The question these leaders are currently exploring is: What does the progressive movement need and want?

Wye River Design Team

Current Participants


Since 2003, the Rockwood Leadership Institute has run a year-long leadership development for leaders of progressive organizations across different movements called, Leading from the Inside Out (LIO), which many of the participants have described as "life-changing." This foundational work has led to deep, authentic relationships and a shared commitment to collaboration.

Social Transformation Project has coordinated the now over 350 alumni of this program since 2009. It supports this network by maintaining a rhythm and flow of ongoing connection, sustaining collaborative leadership development, and creating a space for strategy, learning, and experimentation. This space serves as a home in which they can connect, share what they’re learning, and deepen their bonds.

When artful leaders have space and support to connect deeply and are challenged to strategize and work together in new ways, possibilities light up at the intersections. Working together reduces isolation and increases inspiration. Our differences spur creativity and competition subsides. Leaders relax, get creative, and take risks.

About 25 of these leaders have been meeting regularly since 2011 to deepen their relationships with each other, experiment together, and share what they’re learning. They call themselves “Wye River” after the location of their first gathering, a retreat center off of the Wye River in Maryland. These leaders contribute a significant portion of the funds for this the ongoing dialogue, both in resources and time.

Past Collaboration

  • #WeAreBetterThanThis campaign in December 2015. Full page New York Times ad and MoveOn.org campaign came together in 10 days with over 90,000 signatures, $126,000 raised, and thousands of Twitter hashtag mentions, including during the 2016 State of the Union address and by celebrities such as Susan Sarandon.
  • UAW and Sierra Club came together around the Clean Power Plan to ensure climate action produces good jobs and racial justice. Union leaders also made tough choices to stand with environmental leaders opposing pipelines
  • NAACP supporting marriage equality as a civil right, and in turn, LGBTQ movement speaking out for voting rights
  • LGBT, environmental, and other leaders standing with the Movement for Black Lives
  • A broad progressive coalition coming together to advocate for campaign finance reform, voting rights, and passing the "nuclear option"