About the BCLI
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 throughout 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.
The BCLI will break down institutional barriers and dispel perceptions about the "lack of qualified candidates" from low-income communities and communities of color to serve on decision-making bodies in the San Francisco Bay Area. We're setting the context and forging the connections to enable the following:
- People who have historically been marginalized from decision-making processes and positions because of their race and class will hold priority seats on local and regional public boards and commissions in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- This new network of progressive leaders will be technically and politically prepared and supported to make decisions that reflect the needs and interests of low-income communities and communities of color.
- Decisions made by prioritized boards and commissions will be aligned with the Urban Habitat’s values for economic, social, and environmental justice.
We ensure that BCLI fellows and graduates have the capacity and community support to advance a regional agenda for economic, environmental, and social justice.
Our “seats first" model relies on an analysis of key boards and commissions seats throughout the Bay Area, including city, county, and regional appointments. Targeted boards and commissions have existing or potential influence over one or more of our core equity areas of transportation, equitable development, housing, jobs, and climate change in our region's low-income communities and communities of color.
Each year, the list of targeted seats is distributed to progressive organizations and allies so that they may nominate participants from within their own programs, campaigns, and networks. Read more about nominations.
24 Seats...and Counting
To date, and with just two cohorts completed, BCLI graduates have won 24 seats on priority boards and commissions in the San Francisco Bay Area, including planning commissions, housing authorities, and rent boards.
Our Training Model
Our strategic, movement-based model ensures that individual transformation is balanced with collective action in order to implement a progressive, policy-based theory of change.
Mentoring and Support
Graduates serving on boards and commissions have access to “just in time mentoring” and the promise of expedited consultations to support them in informed, equitable decision-making on boards and commissions matters related to transportation, equitable development, housing, jobs, and climate change.
Our cadre of experts are on call for quick phone or email exchanges--or even impromptu brown-bag briefings.
Our alumni program serves to reinforce our work together advancing equity for low-income people and communities of color. Read more.
The BCLI Is Growing
In short, we believe there’s nothing like our model.
The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute's approach of training individuals for targeted
seats--the ones with the power to effect real, structural change on the
issues that we care about is being noticed. Grassroots, labor, faith-based, government, and business organizations, as well as foundations and advocates throughout the state and U.S. are recognizing this value and potential in our innovative model. Demand has necessitated growth, and we're delivering.
Replication and Expansion
In addition to continuing our work to expand the BCLI model regionally, Urban Habitat has partnered with the Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE) in Sacramento, CA, to pilot the first replication of the BCLI outside of the Bay Area. Further replications will begin in 2012. Additionally, we are conducting information sessions with organizations interested in learning more about the program through online presentations and webinars. In 2012, the BCLI will launch our replication model with a cohort of replicating organizations.