Apply to the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute 

Register for our informational webinar, or
 for one of our in-person informational sessions:

Webinar - September 19, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Oakland - September 25, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
San Francisco - October 2, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Richmond - October 3, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Fremont - October 9, 6:00 - 7:30 pm

Applications are due on

Sunday October 21st, 11:59 PM PST


The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is designed to train and support advocates and leaders from low-income communities and communities of color to advance an equity agenda on targeted local and regional boards and commissions. The program begins with an intensive six-month training that provides participants with a framework to analyze housing, transportation, and land use planning issues through a race and class lens. We also go over commissioner skills, such as power mapping, the “inside/outside” strategy, and Robert’s Rules. After commencement, program staff continue to provide technical assistance to alumni who serve on boards and commissions, and for those still looking to be placed.

The training format is a “hub and spokes” structure. The hub is comprised of the full cohort, who will meet together once a month in Oakland, and the spokes are sub-cohorts that also meet monthly in Fremont, Oakland, Richmond, San Mateo, and San Francisco.

Participants are required to attend an all-day monthly Saturday meeting in Oakland, a monthly weeknight meeting in their local area, and a monthly webinar. Please check the 2019 schedule to make sure you are able to attend all of the mandatory sessions before applying.

Why Apply?
  • Join a network of social justice advocates influencing policy decisions on local and regional commissions.
  • Gain a deeper knowledge of and the ability to apply a race and class analysis to local and regional transportation, housing, and land use issues.
  • Participate in a facilitated learning community of field experts and trainers, advocate commissioners, grassroots organizers, and elected officials who will share best practices, lessons learned, and key concepts.
  • Learn commission skills such as power/network mapping, Robert’s Rules of Order, and the inside/outside strategy.
An ideal BCLI candidate is:
  • Committed to serving on a commission as a strategy to advancing justice for low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Experienced in advocating for equitable policies.
  • Knowledgeable about or interested in local or regional planning or policy in one or more of the following issues: transportation, land use, and housing.
  • Knowledgeable about or interested in the public policy-making process and someone with political acumen.
  • Someone with a strong reputation and relationships with grassroots organizations, advocates, and decision-makers.
Application Checklist:
  • Resume, including one reference who can speak to your professional qualifications.
  • Completed on-line application. Please note: You cannot save your application. You will want to have all your information ready to upload. We suggest reviewing the application beforehand.
  • Nomination Letter (maximum 2 pages): In order to identify candidates who will be accountable to low-income communities and communities of color, we require a nomination letter from a grassroots or advocacy organization. Please ask your nominating organization to include the following information in their letter:
    • What are your organization’s campaign goals, and how do you see the applicant advancing these goals on their commission of interest?
    • How will your organization hold the applicant accountable to your campaign goals and members once they are placed on a commission or board?
    • How will your organization support the applicant’s service as a commissioner?

How do I apply?
Applications can be submitted online. You can upload your resume, and nomination letter in the designated area on the application form. Please note that you are not able to save your application so have all of your documents ready before you begin

If you are unable to apply online, email for alternative options for applying.

Selection Process and Timeline
Selected candidates will be interviewed in late October and early November. All applicants will be notified of their status by mid-November.