IFYC Coach Program

IFYC prepares Coaches to bridge diverse worldviews both on campus as students and off campus when they graduate into their respective fields. America’s religious diversity offers a unique opportunity for cooperation, and we think students are the precise changemakers to seize that opportunity.  
If more clergy were interfaith leaders, people experiencing homelessness would have refuge in the winter because diverse religious communities would work together to make their worship spaces centers for warmth. If medical professionals were interfaith leaders, patients would receive the attention they need when their religious beliefs come into contact with matters of life and death. If social workers were interfaith leaders, they could create collaborative solutions that keep nursing homes from closing. If journalists were interfaith leaders, we’d have more hopeful stories about the many ways we manage our differences productively. If government officials were interfaith leaders, we would better navigate the tension between church and state when diverse values come into tension. 
In short, we would be better for it if interfaith cooperation was a social norm.  

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Benefits of the Coach Program 

Students in the Coach Program receive IFYC’s highest level of training, providing a set of skills that will be helpful both as a student and beyond graduation. No matter what walk of life, it’s important to know how to build relationships across diverse values and worldviews in order to bring out the best possible civic good. Coaches will acquire the knowledge, skill set, and confidence to do so. Beyond top-notch leadership development and a boost to your résumé, here are other benefits of the program: 

  •  $500 to support your campus interfaith work 
  • Two all-expense-paid trips to Chicago, including food, lodging, and visits to religious sites and civic actions hubs throughout the city 
  • Yearlong support from an IFYC staff member  
  • Opportunity to train and be a peer mentor at our Interfaith Leadership Institute 
  • Last but not least, many Coaches cite their deep sense of community among their Coach cohort as the most meaningful part of the program


Training Details

Student leaders in the Coach Program attend two unique training experiences in Chicago. The content sits at the cross-sections of interfaith cooperation, leadership development, community organizing, and campus diversity work more broadly:

  • How to Have Difficult Conversations about Diverse Values
  • Storytelling and Media Training for Interfaith Leadership
  • Team-Building Techniques for Campus Organizing
  • Leadership Self-Care: Nurturing Personal Grit and Grace
  • The Basic Principles of Powerful 1:1s (And How to Do Them)
  • The Things No One Teaches You: Meeting Agenda and Email Tips
  • Mastery: The Art of Learning from the Past and Innovating Into the Future
  • Intersectionality and Interfaith
  • Interfaith After Graduation
  • The Art of Effective Facilitation

In addition to training modules, Coaches will receive knowledge of religious literacy and civic engagement through experiential learning, travelling to different sites and encountering prominent interfaith leaders throughout Chicago.

Requirements & Eligibility

It is preferred that applicants have attended an ILI or IFYC regional gathering, but don’t let that stop you from applying if you’ve had other experiences that would make you a good fit for the Program. Just let us know what they are!

The Coach Program lasts a full year from January 2020 through December 2020, so Coaches must be active undergraduate students in good standing for the full calendar year and cannot be studying abroad in calendar year 2020*.

Students must be available for travel to Chicago on the following dates (costs covered by IFYC):

  • January 23rd - 26th, 2020: Winter Coach Orientation
  • August 2nd-6th, 2020: Spring Coach Training
  • August 7th - 9th, 2020: Interfaith Leadership Institute

*With prior discussion, exceptions can be made for short study abroad programs

Apply for the Coach Program

Applications for the 2020 Coach class open on August 1st and will remain open until 11:59 on October 2nd, 2019. If you have any questions regarding the Coach Program or applications, email Hannah Minks at hannahm@ifyc.org. Otherwise, start your application and be prepared with:

  • Examples of your past experiences with interfaith work
  • What of your own worldview motivates your desire for interfaith cooperation
  • Challenges and successes you’ve encountered as it relates to religious pluralism
  • A headshot to be uploaded with your application

NOTE: It’s best to complete the application in one sitting because the screen times out. However, if this happens you can email Hannah at the address above to retrieve a link to your partial application and pick up where you left off.

Apply here