Running Start

Running Start


Less than a third of the country’s elected leaders are women. Susannah Wellford, a former Senate aide and Clinton White House staffer, founded a nonprofit to combat this issue.

Washington, D.C.-based Running Start supports and teaches young women everything they have to know about running for office.

✍ Gabriela Enamorado

Read more below! ⬇️
Running Start influencer dinner was a great welcome home grad celebration! Going back to where it all began.
We just wrapped up the final session of the first day of ! During this session, our students had the opportunity to learn about best practices for running for elected office and how to use your story and identity to attract voters!

Thank you to our incredible speaker Serena Saunders, ​​Communications & Programs Coordinator at Running Start!
Are you an emerging young woman political leader of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent? Get advice on your career from high-level mentors next Friday, November 19 with Running Start!

RSVP now:
And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for... the of the Grand1Grand Giveaway!!🎉🎉

The stories that you all shared about charities that you believe in reminded us all of why we are here:
- To build relationships in pursuit of a better world.
- To empower those who make the world a better place.
- To renew human connection.

Ciara Burke, we are making a $1,000 donation to LIFTFAR at Haverford College, which helps low-income and first-generation students with unexpected and emergency needs that present barriers to them thriving at college. LIFTFAR supports students experiencing food insecurity, unexpected medical procedures, or lost income throughout the pandemic. We are so thrilled to make a gift to LIFTFAR in your honor.

Poulomi Banerjee from UMBC, we're SO excited to welcome you to the ThankView and EverTrue customer family! We loved your post about Running Start, an org dedicated to putting more women in leadership positions. We're sending you a “magic backpack” with a selfie light and greenscreen to up your video game on the annual fund at UMBC.

Melissa DeClue, you shed some light on a beautiful non-profit, The 22q Family Foundation, an organization that gives tools and resources to parents that are learning to navigate life after diagnosis and parenting a child with disabilities. We are sending you some airpods so you can capture great sound quality when you send personalized videos to Amplify Missions donors.

Everyone else; we were so touched by your submissions AND we learned about allll of these incredible orgs that are making the world better! SO, for anyone who submitted to our Grand1Grand Giveaway Challenge yesterday, we’re making a of $100 in your honor to the that you mentioned in yesterday’s posts.

Thank you all so much! Onwards!
Thinking of applying for the USA Spring 2022 program? The priority deadline is November 19, 2021!

Melissa from Running Start is participating in her 3rd round of T2E 🌟 Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

“WAKE’s Tech2Empower program is magical. It pairs overwhelmed and under resourced nonprofit professionals with high-level experts in tech to create breakthrough solutions for chronic problems that the nonprofit is facing.”

If that sounds like something your nonprofit would be interested in, APPLY NOW!

The United States Mint is pleased to announce the designs for the first five coins in the American Women Quarters™ Program. The 2022 coins honor the achievements of Maya Angelou, Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong. “These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture,” said United States Mint Acting Director Alison Doone. “Generations to come will look at coins bearing these designs and be reminded of what can be accomplished with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.” Read more at

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Smithsonian, Smithsonian Magazine, National Women's History Museum, Space Foundation, Cherokee Nation, Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, Maya Angelou, Seneca Women, American Numismatic Association, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, The Hill, Asia Society, AFI, NPR, The Drew Barrymore Show, Oprah Winfrey, Running Start, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Vital Voices, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, National Congress of American Indians
We are looking for a STUDENT who has a few hours during the day to come be the Hero at our office! If you know someone who is in Running Start, or goes to school at Clark College -- Vancouver, Washington or WSU Vancouver and wants to plug in their tunes while doing some tasks, Please email us at [email protected]

Not a student and the above sounds good?? Love to hear from you!
For the last session of the PLEN X WGR DEI Summit, Serena Saunders of Running Start led our Running for Office workshop! Our students created elevator speeches and ran in a mock election. This session is always such an inspiring and empowering experience for students! Thank you Serena and Running Start!

Delighted to chat with a group of students from Running Start 's High School Program, which offers political leadership workshops for young women. Honored to mentor our future leaders!

Running Start is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created to educate young women Find us on Twitter and Instagram: @runningstart.

Running Start supports the young women who will shape tomorrow’s world. We aim to plant the seed of interest in politics so that they will run earlier, climb higher through leadership, and share more in the decision making power of their country.

Operating as usual


Join us in Iceland at the Reykjavik Global Forum! During this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you will expand your network by meeting mentors and inspiring women leaders from around the world. Apply by August 20 at the link in our bio.


We are so excited to announce that Susannah Wellford, Running Start's Founder and CEO, is featured in the Forbes 50 Over 50 List in the Impact category! Susannah founded Running Start in 2007, and has given over 25,000 young women the confidence, capabilities, and connections they need to run for office and win. It is an honor for Susannah to be featured alongside these other women who are working toward a better world.


Join Running Start in Iceland for the Reykjavik Global Forum, Nov 12 - 14! Running Start alums are invited to apply to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet women leaders from around the world. You'll develop your confidence, expand your leadership skills, and grow your network. Apply soon by August 20 at

The Pipeline Imperative 07/11/2023

Running Start's CEO and Founder, Susannah Wellford, wrote a piece for Gender on the Ballot. Check it out here!

The Pipeline Imperative When the Dobbs decision came down a year ago, threatening abortion care in America, many political analysts assumed that there would be a corresponding rise in Democratic women running for office. There is a lot of precedent for this—outrage is a great motivator for political action. After Anita H...


DC friends, are you planning to come to the Congressional Women's Softball Game on Wednesday? If so, come say hello to Running Start! We will be there rooting on our favorite women in Congress. Look for our team in the stands holding a Running Start sign. Learn more and get tickets at!


Today is the last day of Pride Month! While the month may be over, it is important to celebrate and recognize members of the LGBTQIA+ Community all year long.


Today for Pride Month, we are celebrating Juliana Bennett! Juliana is a young q***r leader in Madison, Wisconsin. They were the first Black person to be elected to the Madison, Wisconsin Common Council. She recently won her re-election campaign for District 2 Alder. It is so inspiring to see young people across the US stepping up to run for office and help their communities thrive.


Thank you U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan for welcoming our participants to your DC office!!

Photos from Running Start's post 06/23/2023

🧡High School Program day 1 photo dump 🧡

We had a packed and amazing first day. We met Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi, networked, learned about advocacy, walked in the rain, had media training, met Congresswomen, and experienced a windy DC monuments tour!


Today is Juneteenth! Every year on June 19th, we celebrate the freedom of Black Americans on the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in Texas.


June means its Gemini season! Did you know that you share a sign with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Marsha Blackburn? Tag your favorite Gemini and let them know!


We are one week out from the High School Program's in person component in Washington, DC. Over the last few weeks, this group of young leaders has been developing their confidence and capabilities over Zoom, and are now ready to flex their skills in person! Leave them tips in the comments below!


Today for Pride Month, we are celebrating Congresswoman Sharice Davids! Representative Davids represents Kansas' 3rd District. She is one of the first openly elected Native Americans in Congress, the first LGBTQIA+ Native American elected to Congress, and the first openly le***an woman elected to Congress from Kansas. Congresswoman Davids regularly hosts Running Start Fellows as Congressional interns!


Today for Pride Month we are celebrating Chandler Erin! Chandler is an alum of the Congressional Fellowship. She was also a finalist at the 2020 Young Women to Watch Awards! Chandler says that "it is vital that women run for office and be involved in politics and the national conversation at every level."
Want to be featured on our Instagram for Pride like Chandler? DM us!


Happy Pride Month! Every June, we celebrate Pride and honor people who identify as LGBTQIA+! We are so thankful for trailblazing LGBTQIA+ political leaders and members of the Running Start community.


Today marks the end of AAPI Heritage Month. Did you know that only 1.9% of Members of Congress identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander women? And, there are currently no AAPI women governors. We are so proud of all of our alums in the AAPI community who are making history every day.


Today for AAPI Heritage Month, we are honoring Leela Menon! Leela is an alum of Elect Her and the Congressional Fellowship. At the Elect Her workshop at her school, Leela met fellow leader Shannon Kang, and agreed to be her campaign manager for her historic City Council race. They won! Leela currently works in the sustainable energy sector, and works for New Leaf Energy. At the Congressional Fellowship, Leela showed how every industry intersects with politics when she brought her engineering background to the table!


Today for AAPI Heritage Month, we are honoring Mya Sato! Mya is an alum of the 2020 High School Program and a finalist in the 2021 Young Women to Watch Awards. They attend New York University and were recently elected to the President's Council as Vice Chair. Mya is an activist and she inspires all of us to think more deeply about the status quo. We are so lucky to have Mya in our community!


Today is the last day of Ta**us season! Did you know that you share a sign with Madeline Albright and Jackie Speier?

Timeline photos 05/12/2023

Join Running Start and IGNITE this summer for the Young Women Run Conference in Washington DC. You have the power to make change in your community, and at Young Women Run, you will learn how with guest speakers including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Rep. Debbie Dingell, and more! Running Start has 20 free tickets that are first come, first serve, so register now at the link in our bio

Timeline photos 05/06/2023

Today for AAPI Heritage Month, we are honoring Leland Pan! Leland is an alum of the High School Program, and is currently a college student and intern with Save the Children. She recently participated in the Young Women to Watch Awards and gave an amazing campaign speech. According to Leland, Running Start "sees young women not only for who we will become but also trains us to value who we are right now- a force of nature that is the seed that will blossom into the sheer beauty the world needs." Leland is inspiring, creative, and bold, and we are so happy to have her in our community.

Timeline photos 05/05/2023

Join Running Start and the The Woman's Club of Bethesda tomorrow for a Silent Auction! The Woman's Club Of Bethesda

Photos from Running Start's post 05/05/2023

We can't believe it has already been a week since the Young Women to Watch Awards! It was a great night of community-building and networking. Congratulations to our Ambassador, Alexa, and to our other finalists, Leland and Nia. Thank you to Grace Panetta and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, to our sponsors, and to our incredible alums!

Timeline photos 05/01/2023

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! Throughout this month, we will share stories and videos from our inspiring alums who will share advice and stories from their Running Start programs and their careers.

Timeline photos 04/28/2023

Congratulations to Running Start's 2023 Ambassador, Alexa Marsh! Alexa was elected Ambassador at last night's Young Women to Watch Awards. Thank you to everyone who came and who voted, and congratulations to our other amazing finalists, Leland Pan and Nia Talbott. More photos to come soon!

Photos from Running Start's post 04/25/2023

Thank you to our Young Women To Watch Awards Sponsors. Their generosity is empowering the next generation of women leaders.

Timeline photos 04/19/2023

Meet the finalists for this year's Young Women to Watch Awards! These three women will compete against each other in a campaign simulation to try and win the most votes at our annual awards gala.
If you are in the DC area and want to join, send us a DM!

Timeline photos 04/18/2023

Come work with us! We are looking for our next team member - the Programs & Operations Assistant. Learn more and apply at

Timeline photos 04/16/2023

It's Aries Season! Did you know you share a sign with Nancy Pelosi, Elaine Chao, and Catherine Cortez-Masto?

Timeline photos 04/14/2023

Come work with us! We are looking for a Programs & Operations assistant. Learn more and apply at

Photos from Running Start's post 04/13/2023

We have loved being back to in-person Elect Her workshops in 2023! Want us to come to your campus or community in the fall? Email [email protected] to get started!

Photos from Running Start's post 04/10/2023

This trend shows that women truly can do anything they put their minds to, just like these Running Start Alums! What Barbie would you be?

Timeline photos 04/07/2023

The Congressional Fellowship application closes today!! Make sure to get your application in to be considered for the Fellowship this Fall. Apply using the link in our bio!

Timeline photos 04/05/2023

The Congressional Fellowship is open! Congressional Fellows will have the opportunity to intern in their Congressperson's district office, while receiving political leadership training each week. The Fellowship concludes with an intensive week in Washington, DC where you will meet mentors, Members of Congress, and other political VIPs. This opportunity is open to alums of any Running Start program who are ages 18-25! The application closes on 4/7.

Timeline photos 04/02/2023

Our Congressional Fellowship application is open! Running Start Congressional Fellows will have the opportunity to intern in their Congressperson's district office, while receiving political leadership training each week. The Fellowship concludes with an intensive week in Washington, DC where you will meet mentors, Members of Congress, and other political VIPs. This opportunity is open to alums of any Running Start program who are ages 18-25, so apply today! The application closes on 4/7.

Timeline photos 03/31/2023

As we close out Women's History Month, we hope you enjoyed learning about Running Start alums who are making history. Our alums are truly the best, and we are thankful to be cultivating a community of strong women!

Timeline photos 03/31/2023

The High School Program application is due today! You'll leave the High School program with developed confidence, capabilities, connections, and a plan to run for office. So, will we see you this summer? Apply using the link in our bio!

Timeline photos 03/30/2023

Application Due Tomorrow! Meet a new community of women who are also interested in political leadership this summer at the Running Start High School Program.

Timeline photos 03/29/2023

Today we are celebrating Savannah Lane! She is an alum of the Congressional Fellowship program. Savannah is passionate about international affairs and transatlantic policy. She was the Executive Director of the NATO Global Fellowship Program, an initiative to empower young professionals from NATO Allied countries. Savannah currently works as the Director of Education and Experiences at the Policy Circle. She frequently advocates for diversifying the field of international relations and security. Savannah frequently comes back to Running Start programs as a mentor for our participants, and we are so thankful to learn from her expertise!

Timeline photos 03/28/2023

Meet your role models this summer at the Running Start High School Program! HS Program Alums, shout out the coolest person you met during your program in the comments.
Apply to the High School Program using the link in our bio!

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Videos (show all)

Fellowship Friday tip of the week! Kelly shares how she reframes her feelings of nervousness to her advantage! #dctips #...
Learn all about politics from an intensive, interactive campaign simulation during our Summer 2022 High School Program! ...
Congratulations to Running Start's NEW 2022-2023 Ambassador, Uzoma Elekwachi! 💙🧡🎉Thank you to everyone who watched our Y...
Interested in our High School Program? Learn more about the experience from two alums of our 2021 program: https://runni...
"I've always had passion, but guidance is something I've been missing. And you all really helped to narrow my focus — wh...
Pooja Patel created this stunning ad for the Fall 2021 Congressional Fellowship campaign simulation. We're so proud of y...
Nora Teagan created this ad for the Fall 2021 Congressional Fellowship campaign simulation — and how great is it? Congra...
This is the amazing work of Fall 2021 Congressional Fellow Lyssa Schei for the program's campaign simulation. Thank you ...
Thank you to BET for sponsoring last month's Running Start x Xceleader Elect Her workshop for HBCU women! Here's Jeanine...
Jennifer Barroso, a Fall 2021 Congressional Fellow, created this campaign ad for the program's campaign simulation. We'r...
Fall 2021 Congressional Fellow Emma Piorier created this campaign ad for the program's campaign simulation. Amazing job,...
Darlene Mpoupe-Singui delivered this winning 🎉 campaign speech as part of the Fall 2021 Congressional Fellowship campaig...





1310 L Street NW
Washington D.C., DC

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