The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute has faithfully worked with young women and girls since 2005, inspiring, mentoring and training them to become leaders in creating positive social and economic change. 

All of our programs are provided at no cost to our trainees.

The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute (BALI) is a not-for-profit 501 c 3 organization

BALI curricula is created to benefit young women and girls enrolled in middle school, high school and colleges throughout New York City around the country. BALI is founded on the principles and vision of Bella Abzug, a leading feminist and the first Jewish Congresswoman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As a lawyer, Congresswoman, and international feminist leader, Bella worked all her life for civil rights and equal rights for women both domestically and internationally. She believed in empowering women to become proactive activists and entrepreneurial leaders working toward full equality for women. 

Our mission embodies Bella's values as someone who had great principles, heart, passion, and commitment to creating positive social change. BALI's staff, is made up of highly skilled individuals from different professions and racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Our top professional women mentors from every field, work closely with BALI students to help them build the intellectual confidence and communication skills necessary to become powerful, ethical, dynamic leaders—both in their chosen professions and within civil society. Our programs focus on high-achieving disadvantaged students in underserved public schools as well as those who have had more access to resources and attend some of the most competitive New York City public middle and high schools as well as  private and charter schools. We also train students from community, public, and private colleges located throughout the United States, especially in the tri-state area. BALI provides the very best skills based leadership and policy and public forum debate training, which would be otherwise unavailable to our trainees if we did not provide it free of any tuition cost.  

As a result of our cutting edge training programs, our students report in our extensive post-program evaluations that their public speaking and listening abilities, debate skills, and willingness to take on specific leadership roles in community-based and social impact projects have all dramatically increased after participating in programs at our institute. Many BALI graduates have referred to their experience in our training program as “life-altering,” one of the most meaningful educational and self-growth experiences that they have had. All of our BALI graduates have expressed an interest to continue participating in BALI programs throughout the school year. In fact, many of our current interns are former high school and college BALI trainees. They have committed themselves to help BALI expand in the coming years.

BALI is meeting our goals to help young women achieve their fullest potential. We expect all of the young women and girls who have been a part of the BALI training and mentoring network to become the dynamic, progressive visionary leaders and agents for change in their chosen future professions, their communities and in civil society. We have seen actual results as we are closely in touch with many of our BALI graduates! 

BALI Girls and young women are indeed the 21st century’s most inspired and powerful leaders who we know will create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world!

Program Partner - 
New York City Urban Debate League

BALI is proud to endorse our longstanding partners in community building and debate training. Since our inception, BALI has collaborated with award-winning debate trainers and organizations such as the New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL).

NYCUDL is one of the nation’s first, largest, and most successful debate training programs for youth in the United States. Director and Founder, Erik Fogel demonstrates his commitment to the mission of BALI as a curricula developer, youth mentor, and community leader.

Our collaboration with NYCUDL provides our BALI trainees with access to the most rigorous academic training programs and college preparation in New York City.

www.debate.nyc