An Announcement from our Board of Directors

April 24, 2023

To our alumni, donors, sponsors, volunteers, partners and friends,

There comes a time in every story when a chapter must end. It provides a natural pause or break in the narrative, allowing the reader to take a moment to reflect on what has just happened or anticipate what is about to happen. 

Leadership Waterloo Region’s story began in 2001 when a group of dedicated and passionate leaders identified a need to support up-and-coming leaders as they navigate their professional lives while imparting the knowledge they needed to become community leaders. Since that first Class of 2001, LWR has proudly graduated over 515 changemakers. These leaders have stepped up to sit on boards and committees, started new initiatives and some have chosen to serve in local government. 

In 2019, LWR re-launched the Core Program with renewed purpose and impact, to empower and equip participants with the leadership skills needed to address our community’s most pressing issues. We were just finding our footing when COVID hit, and unfortunately, much of the available funding was redirected to immediate needs. Combining this struggle with revenue lost due to our inability to gather in person for events, COVID hit LWR in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

With sustainable funding continuing to be an insurmountable issue, 2023 has found our organization at a crossroads. The Board has made the difficult decision to end this chapter of Leadership Waterloo Region. It is with deep sadness that we announce the closure of current operations for LWR effective June 30, 2023.  

While shutting the doors is of course heart-breaking, there is also much to honour and celebrate. LWR’s legacy will live on in the over 515 alumni who will continue to do amazing work in our community. Core Program alumni continue to come together to celebrate each other’s triumphs and support each other in times of need. We’ve always said that an LWR grad is only an e-mail away, and this is truer today than ever. Over 450 alumni are volunteering out in our community, giving of themselves, their talents and their time, making impacts that will be felt for generations to come. 

We are proud of the impact we have made in our community and beyond. But we couldn’t have made those impacts without the support of our long-time funders, employee sponsors, donors, community sponsors as well as our alumni supporters and volunteers. In particular, we’d like to acknowledge the tremendous generosity of the Region of Waterloo, Enbridge, Waterloo Regional Police Services, the Cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, BMW Grand River, Cook Homes, WalterFedy, and Extend-A-Family. 

We are especially grateful to the staff and volunteers that have been a part of the Leadership Waterloo Region journey. Your passion and dedication are woven into the legacy we are honoured to leave behind. 

What’s next? We don’t have all the answers yet about what the next few months will look like, but we do know that the contributions and legacy LWR has had on our community needs to be honoured. We will be in touch with details soon. In the meantime, we’ve developed an FAQ attached to this letter that will hopefully answer your initial questions. Should you still have questions, we invite you to reach out via e-mail to

Though Leadership Waterloo Region’s chapter is coming to a close, we are comforted by the idea that ours is one of so many that make up the story of our amazing community, supported by our passionate and talented network of alumni. We look forward to continuing to read and participate in that story along with you in the future! 

Yours in leadership,

Jackie Lauer, Board Chair
On behalf of the LWR Board of Directors



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