Application Deadline Extended:

Sunday, October 30, 11:59 PM PST


Urban Habitat’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) trains and supports leaders from low-income communities of color to influence housing, transportation, and land use policies as decision makers. We work with leaders committed to advancing equitable policies, help them get onto public boards and commissions, and provide individualized support throughout their commission service.
The BCLI training helps participants understand complex and intersecting policy arenas, navigate the culture and language of commissions, and build effective relationships.
The training consists of hubs and spokes. The hub is the full cohort at six all-day workshops which occur once a month on a Saturday. The spokes are sub-cohorts by city and/or county that meet monthly four times on a weeknight.

In addition, participants are required to attend four monthly webinars. Please check the 2023 schedule to make sure you are able to attend all of the mandatory sessions before applying.

Why Apply? 

  • Deepen your knowledge of and the ability to advance equitable transportation, housing, and land use policies by understanding how it intersects with race and class. You will gain insight on ways to prioritize the needs of historically disenfranchised communities.
  • Learn commissioner skills such as power mapping, Robert’s Rules of Order, and how to apply an inside/outside strategy.
  • Participate in a facilitated learning community of field experts, trainers, advocate commissioners, grassroots organizers, and elected officials who will share best practices, lessons learned, and key concepts.
  • Join a network of social justice advocates influencing policy decisions on local and regional commissions.

An ideal BCLI candidate is:

  • Committed to serving on specific commissions to advance justice for low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Knowledgeable about or interested in shaping transportation, land use, and housing policies.
  • 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.
  • Someone whose lived experiences gives them firsthand knowledge of the importance of equity-centered policies. 

Application Checklist:

  • Resume. Please include one reference who can speak to your professional qualifications.
  • Completed online application. We strongly encourage you to write and review your work, and have all of your supporting documents ready before beginning the online application.   
  • 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. Your nomination organization MUST address the following 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. We also ask for a headshot and a 75-word bio. 
If you are unable to apply online, email Wendy Aragón, for alternative options.


Deadline Extended: Applications are due by Sunday, October 30, 11:59 pm.

To learn more, register for one of our BCLI information sessions: