What We’re About


Community Centered Leadership Development

It’s time to re-think our approach to solving big problems. The challenges we face are complex and we need the next generation of leaders to have the knowledge and ability to address that complexity, to build and organize more resilient communities, and collaboratively develop sustainable solutions. We need to provide leaders with the resources they need to navigate systems, and tackle root causes, rather than only focusing on their effects.

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5000+ young people. Over 27 years of impact.

Orbis Institute was founded in 1996 by David A. French. After decades working in business and supporting a number of non-profits, David set out to build an organization that would effectively realize his vision for a new kind of leadership development. He understood that the systemic challenges of the 21st century were both local and global, and the next generation of leaders would need to build and engage community at home and around the world.


The first programs began with the help of students from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s President’s Leadership Class (PLC). Together, they launched an innovative training program for young emerging leaders from 10 different countries.


Orbis Institute became an independent 501(c)3, moved into the Orbis House in Denver, and also created an Orbis Institute in Europe. Over the years, we have delivered 8 World Camps in the US, China, and Central Europe, utilizing our own leadership curriculum for high school and college students.

Growing from its experience with High School and College students in our World Camp programs, Orbis set out to create a Fellowship program for young professionals. Fellows have lived at the Orbis House, and in locations around the world, working with local community organizations, and developing their own community leadership initiatives.


All of our programs have been grounded in Orbis Institute’s community leadership model to foster awareness, critical thinking, and action. Our approach to group centered leadership not only allows individual leaders to cultivate their own individual paths, but also builds and organizes community around them.


Orbis Institute’s programs have impacted over 5,000 young people from around the world.