about the YEO network
The YEO Network, a nonpartisan program of People For the American Way Foundation, is the first and only national initiative to provide a network of support to the newest generation of progressive leaders at every level of elected office. The Network was founded in 2005 with the mission to unite and support elected leaders ages 35 and under who share a passion for building communities that reflect values of freedom, fairness, and opportunity for all. Since then, the Network has grown to include more than 1,300 elected officials across the country in offices ranging from local school boards to the United States Congress.
The Network, which is committed to being “of, by, and for” young electeds, is unique in addressing self-identified needs and using a holistic and participatory model of leadership development. We provide cutting edge programming, investing in the full pipeline of progressive leadership and building sustained relationships with our members. We provide the resources young elected officials need to effectively impact policy, foster their own development and professional growth, and elevate their leadership in the broader progressive movement.
We provide our members with access to a nationwide network, policy resources and support, and continued leadership development. We empower our members to transform their political vision into progressive action, both individually and collectively.
The YEO Network serves to connect the progressive agenda at community levels across the country. Our purpose is to create an enduring pipeline of courageous and visionary leaders to change the world.
about the YEOs
Young elected officials (YEOs) between the ages of 18 and 35 represent a small percentage of all elected leaders in the United States, but many are embarking on long careers of public service: over half of all members of Congress and U.S. Presidents were first elected to office before the age of 35. Young elected officials play an important role in shaping the public discourse and the policy agenda of the country and control billions of dollars administered by local, state, and federal governments.
Young elected officials represent the changing face of leadership in our country. Many have overcome great odds and blazed new trails to become progressive office holders, and many continue to overcome new challenges as they work to help their communities. The Network provides the space for meaningful peer support and exchange, as well as access to the best resources and services to benefit the work of our members.
Our Network has grown to include more than 1,300 members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who share our progressive values regardless of party affiliation. Alumni of our Network have gone on to serve in higher office, government agencies, and Presidential cabinet posts.
Our YEOs reflect the communities they serve; we celebrate the broad diversity of our Network as well as the genuine sense of solidarity our members share. Our Network was founded by young elected officials and continues to be led by them; our members drive our agenda, inform our programs, and support and educate one another.
being a yeo member
The YEO Network is member-driven and member-focused. We seek every opportunity to tailor our supports and programming to the needs of our diverse member and provide ample space for our members to shape their own experience. Involvement in the Network depends on the time you have to invest.
A YEO Member is a progressive, young elected official 35 or under who has been accepted into the YEO Network. The YEO Network was originally created to be a space for young elected officials, and so our YEO Members are our primary focus and our events are created as a space for young electeds. A YEO Member has preferred service for all YEO programming, including but not limited to:
Access and preferred registration for all YEO events, including our Annual Convening, Regional Events, Women’s Conference, and Policy Academies
Eligible to apply for scholarships
Access to policy resources, research, sample policies, and partner and technical assistance
Leadership Development and Trainings, both in-person and online
Contact with national media
A YEO Mentor is a progressive, elected official over the age of 35 who has been accepted into the YEO Network. A YEO Mentor has service for all YEO programming, including YEO events, online resources, and emails, however, preference for services and scholarships will be given to members under 35.
A YEO Alumni is any former YEO Member who is no longer elected. A YEO Alumni has access to all events and resources. However, preference for events and resources will be given to elected officials. In addition, we will have programming specifically targeted toward life as a former elected. The YEO Network is a 501c3 which means we cannot assist in any electoral work.
The mission of the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, a program of People For the American Way Foundation, a 501 c(3) non-profit organization, is to unite and support progressive elected leaders who share a passion for building communities that reflect values of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all. As part of that mission, the YEO Network supports identity caucuses formed within the Network by request of the caucus, as long as it is not in violation of People For the American Way Foundation’s 501 c(3) tax exempt status. If you have questions about or may be interested in joining or forming a caucus, email Michelle Landry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Current Caucuses: Black Caucus, Latinx Caucus, AAPI Caucus, LGBTQ Caucus, Immigrants Caucus, Rural Caucus