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2021 Vacant Property Leadership Institute (VPLI)

Frequently Asked Questions

Center for Community Progress (Community Progress) and National League of Cities (NLC) realize that questions are bound to arise as you consider submitting a letter for the 2021 Vacant Property Leadership Institute. For that reason, we have assembled this FAQ section to memorialize common questions posed about this new program.


This section will continue to be updated as new questions arise.


Don’t see a response to a question you have? Reach out to Justin Godard at jgodard@communityprogress.net or Lauren Lowery at lowery@nlc.org


Where will the 2021 Vacant Property Leadership Institute be held?

This is still to be announced. We will share this information as soon as it has been finalized.


Will the 2021 Vacant Property Leadership Institute be in-person or virtual?

This event will be in-person. We believe one of the most impactful elements of this program is the ability to meet in-person and have strategic, one-on-one conversations away from the everyday demands of work. With that said, it is our intention to host this program in-person once it is safe to do so. We will continue to monitor the situation with the pandemic and, if needed, will look to adjust the planned dates.


Are communities/states that previously participated in the Community Progress Leadership Institute eligible for Vacant Property Leadership Institute?

Yes! The Vacant Property Leadership Institute is a new program, so we welcome interest from communities who participated in the predecessor program, the Community Progress Leadership Institute (CPLI).


Is the focus still on three communities from one state?

Yes, we have found that this program is most successful when delegations consist of three cities from one state since it allows representatives to collaborate on both city and state level policy needs. However, exceptions have been made to this rule in the past. (As part of the CPLI predecessor program, we have accepted states with just two city delegations.)


It states that Community Progress/NLC will covers tuition fees and participants are responsible for travel costs. Does this mean that Community Progress/NLC will also cover lodging and food? What about per diem?

Community Progress and NLC are prepared to cover all costs delegation members may encounter once on-site for the Leadership Institute. This includes lodging, travel between the hotel and event site, and most meals for the duration of this event. Delegation members will be solely responsible for travel costs from their city to the event site and vice versa at the end of the week. We will not provide delegation members per diem as part of participation in the Leadership Institute.


How many state delegations will be selected?

We will admit up to three state delegations. Up to two representatives from each state (six total) will be admitted as state delegation members.


Who should be part of the city teams?

Community Progress and NLC will likely allow 6-8 representatives from each city and will look to see directors/leaders of the departments which play crucial roles in the everyday work of addressing vacant properties. We will also look to see that there is representation from a community-based organization which works in communities most impacted by VAD properties. Community Progress and NLC will share more details about the specific types of people we look to see in a delegation should you move on to the full application round.


It says a letter of support must be included from City executive leadership. Does that also mean that someone from the mayor or city manager’s office must be part of the delegation or lead the delegation?

Municipal Department/Agency Directors are eligible to represent city delegations as the team lead. However, while it is not necessary that the mayor or city manager’s office lead the delegation, Community Progress and NLC will expect to see representation from their office.


While I work very closely with my city/town/village’s government departments and agencies, I represent an outside organization. Can I still submit a letter of interest?

Unfortunately, non-governmental organizations (non-profits, community foundations, land banks, etc.) are not eligible to submit letters of interest for this program. However, non-governmental organizations are eligible to participate as a delegation representative should their city ultimately be selected to participate. We encourage non-governmental organizations to reach out to their contacts in the local government about submitting a letter of interest.