Boards and commissions are powerful governing bodies with the ability to influence important local policy and investment decisions. There are numerous boards, commissions, and councils in Idaho State and city governments including those that formulate important policies related to the environment and the outdoors, such as the Board of Parks and Recreation, Board of Environmental Quality, and the STEM Action Center.
However, appointees to local boards and commissions do not necessarily reflect all of the voices of our communities. Knowing that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation and pollution, it’s essential that they are adequately represented on board and commissions making decisions related to clean water, green spaces, air pollution, and public transportation.
“We need everyone at the table and for them to know they are valued, appreciated and free to be their authentic selves.”
– Idaho National Laboratory
Studies have shown that diversity on boards and commissions increases the overall quality of work. In order to better adequately represent all Idahoans and increase the diversity of thought and perspective on Idaho boards and commissions, Conservation Voters for Idaho is launching a nonpartisan Boards and Commission Fellowship program.
Boards and Commission Fellowship
The Boards and Commissions Fellowship is intended to develop the skills and capacity of Idaho leaders and build the power of underrepresented groups to serve on relevant boards and commissions. Underrepresented communities are the ones most impacted by voter suppression efforts, economic injustice, and environmental exploitation. Being at the frontlines of these issues makes leaders from these communities equipped to make meaningful, long-term changes that benefit all of Idaho.
“At all levels of government, greater diversity will lead to better outcomes and performance because study after study shows that diverse collaborations bear more fruit than homogeneous partnerships.”
– Russel Ray, editor of the Journal Record
The fellowship will provide advocates with not just a voice, but a vote at the table. We will deeply invest in each cohort through our six-month training, which teaches participants to understand complex and intersecting policy arenas, navigate the culture and language of commissions, and build effective relationships in and outside the commissions they serve on. The fellowship helps new community leaders to effectively leverage their seat on boards and commissions to bring environmental justice and conservation issues to the forefront of local and regional policies and plans.
“Study after study has shown that the more diversity, the better the product is.”
– Idaho State Senator Cherie Bucker-Webb
How You Can Help
We need YOUR help in raising awareness about our fellowship program. Know someone who might be interested in becoming a fellow? Please share our boards and commissions page with them and encourage them to apply!