Applications are due on:

Sunday, November 15th, 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.

An ideal BCLI candidate is:

  • Committed to serving on a commission in order 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.

What you will gain

BCLI helps participants understand complex and intersecting policy arenas, navigate the culture and language of commissions, and build effective relationships. You will:

  • 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.

About the training

The training consists of hubs and spokes. The hub is an all-day training occurring once a month and includes the full cohort. The spokes are comprised of sub-cohorts by city that meet monthly on a weeknight. In addition, participants are required to attend monthly webinars. Please check the 2021 schedule to make sure you are able to attend all of the mandatory sessions before applying.

Application checklist

  • Resume. Please include one reference who can speak to your professional qualifications.
  • Completed online application. Please note: Your online application form cannot be saved. 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. 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

All applicants will be notified of their status by December 20th.