Center for Leadership and Education

The Center for Leadership and Education offers education and develops leadership that advances the global expansion of community-based mental health treatment for people living with mental illness.  Its mission is to prepare future leaders and mental health advocates to replicate and scale the humane, empowering and effective Fountain House recovery model throughout the world by providing education, leadership and colleague training and consulting and research initiatives.

In 1977, Fountain House received a multi-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to establish a training program to disseminate its cost-effective and successful model nationwide.  During the next decade, this training program educated the mental health community, developed leaders, inspired the creation of similar Clubhouses in the US and influenced the way thousands of community-based mental health centers addressed the challenges facing people living with mental illness.  

Today, the Fountain House evidence-based model has been implemented at over 300 clubhouse programs in 32 states and 34 countries. The Center for Leadership and Education has provided training to more than 2,500 teams of mental health advocates and leaders. This successful work is now incorporated into the Center for Leadership and Education, which offers a robust array of programming that attracts mental health leaders, staff, and members from all corners of the globe. 

The Center for Leadership and Education offers:

Leadership Development

Executive Fellowship – The Executive Fellowship offers immersion training to new and prospective clubhouse leaders. It integrates contemporary non-profit management techniques with Fountain House principles and practices.  Fountain House is approved by US Immigration to accept non-US citizen participants under a J-1 Visa for the Fellowship program.

Internships - The Center for Leadership and Education sponsors foreign academic internships. A four month program, interns work in various clubhouse units, learning, through immersion, the fundamentals of the work-ordered day and the Fountain House community recovery model.

Education and Advocacy

Core Colleague Training - This central program features a three-week experience-based learning environment to instruct program staff on the design and intentionality behind the model.  It includes an orientation to the Fountain House model for supporters not engaged in direct service to members (Board members, volunteers, donors, etc).

Focused Workshops - The Center for Leadership and Education provides one-week workshops on specific topics, including leadership, the work-ordered day, young adults and employment. 

(When possible, trainings are organized in regional areas to promote connectivity and collaboration in activities and practices such as advocacy campaigns, community capacity building and fundraising. When necessary, training is conducted in the region’s home language to enhance communication and participation.)

Consultations - Following training, participants are networked, through monthly teleconferences, into teams that support one another in implementing their action plans. Additionally, clubhouses that have participated in the Core Colleague Training can request a three-day “strengths based” consultation in organizational development during which the Center for Leadership and Education faculty will visit the clubhouse and provide hands-on guidance in self-assessment and ownership of program development.  Executive Coaching sessions are available to new Directors on a fee-for-service basis.


Annual Symposium - In 2008, the Center for Leadership and Education introduced the Annual Symposium, an international venue for discussion and action on emerging practice in the community recovery model. Symosiums have been held on: the conceptual basis for Fountain House; academic internships in social work; clubhouse research; integrated health care; and employment. Journal articles, books, new practices and a regularly scheduled meeting of researchers from around the world have all emerged from the annual Fountain House symposium. 


Awards + Recognition

BBB Accredited Charity

Our Global Partners

World Health Organization

Sign up for the Fountain House monthly newsletter