Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute

The BCLI Challenge

Historically and still, people of color and low-income communities have little say in the decisions that most (negatively) affect their lives.

Our Response
Urban Habitat launched the BCLI in 2009 to identify, train, place, and support low-income people and people of color for priority boards and commissions in the Bay Area region. By priority, we mean those decision-making bodies that influence our core equity areas of transportation, public planning, land use, housing, health, and jobs. We target those boards and commissions that have the most potential to have an impact on the communities we advocate for. Read more


Parliamentary Procedure Simulation: Parliamentary Procedure Simulation


2013 Cohort: 2012 Cohort
Fellows and Alumni
Current Issues Series: Current  Issues
Current Issues Series

BCLI 2013-14 Session: 2013-2014 BCLI session
How to Apply or Nominate a Candidate2013 BCLI Wednesday Session speakers
Featured Speakers


BCLI Updates

Current Issues Series

How Can Communities Shape Economic Development and Create Quality Jobs?

Date:  March 26, 2014

Location:  East Bay Community Foundation, Oakland, CA
Photo Gallery:

Event Details:  One of the keys to equitable economic development and creation of quality jobs is how we use land. Land use decisions drive everything from the type of jobs (service, manufacturing, tech) to quality of jobs, to environmental impacts. The panel will analyze successful campaigns and explore key opportunities and coalition models for major impact throughout the region. Equitable economic development and quality jobs are the result of making the right decisions on land use involving the community.

How do we move from localized thinking to a regional approach for workforce and economic development?
How can advocates recognize opportunities?  What are the tools they can use to advance equitable development in their respective communities?
Moderator: Belén Seara, Director of Community Relations, San Mateo County Union Community Alliance

Current Issues Series

Focusing Development on Communities of Concern: Smart Growth and its Impact on Gentrification and Displacement in the Bay Area

Date:  Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM (PST)
Photo Gallery Link:

Ericka Erickson, Marin Grassroots
Jennifer Martinez, Peninsula Interfaith Action
Dawn Phillips, Causa Justa::Just Cause

Moderator:  Vu-Bang Nguyen, Program Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Current Issues Series

Breaking the Impasse: Balancing the Interests of Public Health & Housing in Affordable Infill Development Projects

Date:  Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Location:  Urban Habitat, 1212 Broadway, Suite 500 Oakland, CA 94612
Photo Gallery:

Rajiv Bhatia, Physician and Preventative Medicine Practitioner
Catalina Garzon, Program Director, Pacific Institute  
Lisa Motoyama, Director of Housing Development, Resources for Community Development

Tracy Zhu, Associate, Ditching Dirty Diesel & Current BCLI Fellow

Lili Farhang & Jonathan Heller, Human Impact Partners

Current Issues Series

Ensuring Homes for All: An Equity Primer on Housing Elements

Date:  Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Location:  East Bay Community Foundation, Oakland, CA 
Photo Gallery:

Laura Thomas, Renewed Hope Housing Advocates
Lilli Lew-Hailer, MidPen Housing
Sam Tepperman-Gelfant, Public Advocates

Moderator: Evvy Stivers, Urban Habitat

Current Issues Series

Public Transportation Funding: Who Pays, Who Benefits and What's the Impact on Low-Income and Communities of Color?

Date:  November 20th, 2013 5:30 - 7:30 (PST)
Location:  East Bay Community Foundation, Oakland, CA
Photo Gallery:

Peter Cohen, Co-Director, Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO)
Alicia Garza, Executive Director, POWER

Moderator: Bob Allen, Acting Executive Director, Urban Habitat

Current Issues Series

Cap-and-Trade Revenues: The Controversy and Funding Opportunities for Disadvantaged Communities

  Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Time:  5:30pm - 7:30pm
Location:  East Bay Community Foundation, Oakland, CA
Photo Gallery:

Opening Speaker: Supervisor John Gioia, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors

Vien Truong, Director of Environmental Equity, The Greenlining Institute
Marybelle Nzegwu, Staff Attorney, Public Advocates, Inc.
Mari Rose Taruc, State Organizing Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)

Moderator:   Guillermo Mayer, Senior Staff Attorney, Public Advocates, Inc.

Current Issues Series

Staying Authentic: Maintaining Integrity with Greater Power

Date: October 11, 2013
Location: East Bay Community Foundation, Oakland
Photo Gallery:

Melanie Cervantes, Race and Place Fund Program Officer, Akonadi Foundation
Wilson Riles Jr., Former Oakland City Council Member
Vivian Yi Huang, Campaign and Organizing Director, APEN

VIen Truong, Environmental Equity Director, The Greenlining Institute

Working Together: Collaborative Strategies Supporting Economic Prosperity for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities

BCLI Issues and Advocates Speaker Series
Working Together: Collaborative Strategies Supporting Economic Prosperity for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities in the Bay Area
October 17, 2012

In 2010, the BCLI hosted one of our most popular Wednesday panels on innovative strategies for job creation, where we heard about new and exciting models that were building wealth and supporting economic development in low-income communities. Two years later, the Bay Area continues to see a lack of job growth and economic opportunity, coupled with dwindling public funds to support workforce and economic development.

In light of the dismal economic climate and limited resources, a collaborative made up of public, private, labor, and non-profit organizations is working to draft a “Regional Prosperity Strategy” for the Bay Area to understand, strengthen, and expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals. The goal of the collaborative is to support a sustainable regional economy with good jobs that are accessible for all people, pay a living wage with benefits, provide workers with a voice on the job, and allow workers to advance up a career ladder.

Protecting Communities, Securing Benefits: Lessons Learned in Silicon Valley

BCLI Issues and Advocates Speaker Series
Protecting Communities, Securing Benefits:
Lessons Learned in Silicon Valley
September 19, 2012

Protecting Communities SpeakersDuring the current economic crisis, cities everywhere are courting development to create jobs for their residents and to support struggling local economies. But at what cost is it acceptable to allow companies to move into our communities if they are not providing their fair share of local tax dollars, jobs to local residents, and affordable housing to their workers?

For the first panel of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute’s Issues and Advocates Speakers Series, we hear from experts about the impacts of Silicon Valley’s job growth on affordable housing, transit, and the environment, and consider what this growth means for low-income communities and communities of color. You learn how a coalition of local community-based and regional organizations and a non-profit civil rights law firm worked together to gain community benefits from a large corporation that was planning the development of their new headquarters.

Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute