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    Center on Policy Initiatives

About the BCLI Program

Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute

BCLI is a six-month program of training and preparation for serving on local and regional boards and commissions. It provides the tools, skills, and support to help emerging leaders from low-income and underrepresented communities obtain seats on strategic boards and commissions and then pass policies that advance racial and economic equity. The program aims to give community members and advocates with not just a voice, but also a vote on important decisions.

Goals of BCLI

  • Inclusive governance: Communities of color and others who are commonly excluded from the local power structure will have their perspectives represented in key decision-making processes of local government. Grassroots leaders and activists from underrepresented communities will gain the knowledge and support they need to successfully apply for seats on boards and commissions.
  • Advancing economic and racial equity: Working within the system, new leaders who obtain seats on boards and commissions will be able to pass policies that improve the lives of many underserved residents of San Diego County by promoting racial and economic justice.

Objectives to achieve those goals

  • Knowledge: BCLI participants will learn about local issues of economic equity, labor, affordable housing, transportation justice, land use and planning, environmental justice, and immigrant rights. They will have the framework to analyze those issues through racial and class lenses.
  • Effectiveness: Participants will gain skills crucial to getting things done in appointed positions. They will learn about parliamentary procedure, municipal budgeting, ethics, and best practices from experienced officeholders.
  • Connections and teamwork: Participants will become part of a network of local policymakers and others working for social and economic justice.

Why are boards and commissions important?

  • A board or commission is an independent body consisting of residents of a city or other jurisdiction. Board members or commissioners are appointed by elected officials, usually the mayor.
  • Many boards and commissions are the key decision-making bodies on important issues pertaining to equity.
  • Serving on a board or commission is an opportunity for residents to participate in their city’s government processes from the inside and have a direct impact on decisions that affect life in their communities.

For more detailed information and the dates of the 2019 program, please click here. And for a list of the boards and commissions our 2019 program will focus on, please click here.

Please note we cannot accept candidates running for office into the BCLI program.




For more information about BCLI, contact Ana Laura Martínez at ana@onlinecpi.org

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