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Applications for Class 8 are now closed.



Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals established Downtown Academy in 2010 to answer the question: how do we make downtown Fresno a vibrant place to live and work? In 2016, the Downtown Fresno Partnership and Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals joined forces to make the program even bigger and better. This year, the program enters its 7th cohort with over 100 graduating members.

So, what is Downtown Academy? Downtown Academy is a 10-month award-winning collaborative program designed to connect key business, government, and community leaders with forward-thinking young professionals to explore downtown Fresno, how we got here and where we’re headed. Downtown Academy received the 2016 Leadership & Management Excellence Award from the International Downtown Association.

The class meets on the first Wednesday of every month, unless otherwise noted, to take tours of downtown projects and hear from community leaders about obstacles and opportunities in our city center. In short, Downtown Academy visits cool places, eats great food, and makes great connections.

This program was referred to as “one of the best programs to come out of the revitalization movement” by former mayor, Ashley Swearengin (3.3.2016).

Important Dates

  • April 24th 2019 – July 31st 2019: Application Cycle Open

  • Week of August 5th 2019: Class VIII List Announced

  • August 21st, 2019 – May 6th, 2020: Program (See syllabus for full schedule)

  • November 2 & 3, 2019: Mandatory Overnight Field Trip

  • May 20th, 2020: Graduation


  • FLYP Member. Students must be members of Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals. If you are not yet a member, please sign up here.

  • Completion of Volunteer Hours and Group Project. Students will be required to complete 8 individual volunteer hours in downtown Fresno as well as a group project.

  • Program Rules & Regulations. Students are expected to follow all rules and expectations as outlined in the syllabus received and signed by Class 1.

  • Class Fee Paid in Full. A non-refundable fee of $400 must be paid in full by cash or check by Class 1 or in two (2) installments of $200 by Class 4. Please make checks payable to Downtown Fresno Foundation. 

Please review syllabus for further information prior to applying. Additional questions? Please email Daniel Griffith at for assistance.