Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute

What is the BCLI?

Nexus Community Partners (Nexus) Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a 7-month leadership program that supports, trains and helps place people of color and other underrepresented community members on city and county publicly appointed boards and commissions* that influence and impact equity in the Twin Cities Metro Area in economic development, health, housing, transit and workforce development.

This program has been adapted from the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute originally created by Urban Habitat in Oakland, California.

Why the BCLI?

Boards and commissions are often key decision-making bodies on important equity issues. The BCLI supports people of color and underrepresented communities to be a part of that process from the inside, advocating for their communities and a broader equity agenda at the systems level. We believe this will build more engaged and powerful communities in our region.

The BCLI Process

“We need to be running our own folks for seats by building power that pursues true democracy…. This is how we tell our own story. This is a story that tells everybody they can belong, and this is how we build our movement.”
—Kandace Montgomery, BCLI ’14

Who Participates in the BCLI?

Community members who are representative of, and accountable to, communities of color and other underrepresented communities in the Twin Cities.

BCLI Curriculum

The BCLI is a facilitated learning community of fellows who meet face-to-face (one full Saturday and one Thursday evening each month) from October through April. Fellows also complete online assignments together including readings, discussions and webinars, for a total of approximately 80 hours. Fellows are given a small stipend for their commitment to and participation in the program.

Our program includes three core curriculum components:

  1. Knowledge FoundationsFellows learn about the five core issue areas through applied activities during the Saturday trainings such as writing resolutions and designing a multi-modal road.
  2. Technical SkillsFellows develop technical skills required by commissioners such as Robert’s Rules of Order and messaging and media.
  3. Political SkillsFellows fine-tune their political skills through interactive trainings that cover topics such as negotiation and persuasion and leadership styles. 

For More Information

Please contact the Program Manager, Chai Lee, if you have any questions or for more information at

Register to receive updates about upcoming BCLI events, or like us on Facebook: You can also download BCLI Brochure 2019.

*The BCLI does not target or place fellows onto nonprofit boards for nonprofit organizations. The BCLI targets only publicly appointed city, county, regional and state board and commission seats in order to shape equitable policies at the systemic level. For more information about diversification of nonprofit boards in the Twin Cities, see Board Repair, whose mission is to “create a more effective non-profit sector by increasing participation of people of color on boards.”