By Dorothy Alther, Executive Director

Federal law and regulation dictate who is eligible to be a CILS Board of Trustees member. The Legal Service Corporation (LSC), CILS’s largest funding provider, is bound by these regulations and ensures that legal service programs it funds follow the rules. The LSC regulations do not restrict the number of Board of Trustees CILS can have, but rather define the percentage of the various groups that must be represented on the Board.

LSC regulations provide that 60% of recipients governing be attorneys, one-third of the Board must be persons who are client eligible, and the remainder of the Board members may be appointed or selected by the Board but must make the Board, as a whole, reasonably reflective of the diversity of the areas served by the recipient.

Pictured from left to right are our Principle Office Staff and Board Members: Executive Director Dorothy Alther, Board Member Joe Ayala, Board Member Merri Lopez-Keifer, Board Member Sheila Quinlan, Board Chairman Mark Romero, Board Member Robert Gonzalez, Board Member Gabe Cayton, Board Member Victorio Shaw, Director of Administration Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, and Director of Marketing and Development Nicole Scott.

CILS’ has eleven (11) Board members falling within these required categories. CILS divides the state into two (2) equal regions: the north and the south. Community representatives on the Board are recruited from each area. To be eligible for an appointment to the CILS Board as a community representative, an individual must be California Indian. California Indian tribes and organizations make recommendations for the appointment of community representative. A recommendation can come from: federally recognized Indian tribes, terminated Indian tribes, unrecognized Indian tribes, Indian associations, organizations, and groups. The individual must be a resident of California and reside in the geographic area they will represent (see below which region the applicant can represent).

Northern California Counties include: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba.

Southern California Counties include: Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.

Board members are expected to attend four (4) quarterly Board meetings each year; at a minimum of three (3) via teleconference and one (1) in-person meeting (in-person attendance for all meetings is encouraged), attend at least one (1) CILS sponsored event per year, participate on 1-2 Board committees, contribute an average of 1-2 hours per month between quarterly meetings, attend Board development retreats and training, participate in annual strategic planning sessions and fundraising efforts, make a personally significant financial contribution each year (100% participation from the board is expected), and actively contribute their expertise to the Board’s important role in CILS’ organizational and programmatic affair, including recruiting new Board members and community relations.

How to Apply:  All applications are comprised of:  1) a letter of interest and 2) a resume from the individual.  In their letter of interest, applicants should describe not only their interest in serving on the CILS Board but also specific skills, experience, or areas of expertise they would bring to the Board.  Applicants should indicate the name of the California Indian tribe, organization, or group that would support their application.  Before appointment, a formal resolution, support letter, or similar action from the recommending organization or tribe must be submitted.  Applications can be submitted directly to