Boards & Commissions: August In Review


Written by Toni Belknap-Brinegar, Boards & Commissions Coordinator. To receive this monthly program update in your inbox, visit our website at

While we’ve closed out our 2023 fellowship, there is a lot of updates from the cohort, as well as work being done to prepare for next year. Read on for the latest – – 

On the Docket: Recruitment & Community Outreach

On August 12th, CVI hosted a booth at the Soul Food Festival in Boise’s Julia Davis Park. 2021 B&C grads, Trish Walker and Shari Baber sit on the board of this nonprofit and organize the event. This year the event was bigger than ever, covering nearly the entire park with a variety of food options, vendors, artisans, and businesses. The CVI booth was fortunate to have 2022 grad and CVI board member Renee Hill and her partner Jennette, helping to set up and talk with folks about their experience with all of the programs CVI hosts – including Boards and Commissions. We were able to share great information about what we do as CVI and through the CVI Education Fund – highlighting our clean energy initiatives, voter outreach efforts, and the Boards and Commissions program. Fingers crossed that the folks who took time to talk to me will reach out to learn more about the Boards and Commissions Program! 

Old Business: 2023 Graduates Updates

Shelly Buchanan (pictured left) graduated from the Boards and Commissions program in June. While Shelly serves the community through home lending and also as a foster parent, she wanted to explore other ways in which to serve. She attended a Ada County Housing Authority meeting to observe and also talk to the Executive Director, Deanna Watson, about the board.  She recently had coffee with Director Watson who was very interested in what Shelly learned and connected her with the City of Boise (who will be doing the appointments to the Ada County/Boise City Housing Authority this year). Prior to this meeting, Shelly expressed some frustration with the process, but with encouragement and support, she is continuing to search for a place where her expertise and training can shine. We are so proud of you, Shelly!

2023 graduate Eric Medina (pictured center) is constantly on the lookout for great people who could be fellows or mentors for the program. He recently connected us with several individuals who he met in his travels around the state for the organization he works for, PODER of Idaho. We want to shout out and salute Eric for being a partner in advocating for the Boards and Commissions program – thank you, Eric!!

Recent graduate Carol Sevier (pictured right) is currently volunteering for Reclaim Idaho / Open Primaries as part of the North Boise team and will be helping to organize and host events in addition to collecting signatures. She will also spend some time staffing the National Democratic Voter Assistance Hotline, seeing it as an opportunity to get refreshed for the 2024 primaries and general election. The Hotline expects large demand due to the various voter suppression issues that have been passed. Carol continues to stay in touch with me, and keeps an eye out for potential boards and commissions that pique her interest. Her volunteer work engaging in Idaho’s political environment is admirable! 

New Business: Recruitment for 2024 Cohort

I am also very busy meeting with folks to see who has the passion to say “yes” to the fellowship. This past month, I met a few fellows from the Treasure Valley and a couple from Wood River Valley. All are amazing individuals who want to know more about growing their leadership. Here is Rob’s story:

Rob Crisler, who identifies as nonbinary and mixed race, lives in Boise. Rob wants to expand their leadership skills through participating in the fellowship. They feel that individuals who are formerly incarcerated and former drug users are not well-represented at decision making tables. We are working together to host an information session to see who else within Rob’s circles would benefit from the fellowship. Rob says that their mom has been their inspiration to think outside of the box and seek knowledge from a variety of sources. “I want to uplift those who are on the margins of the margins. I am passionate about restorative justice, connectivity in communities of color, community service, mental health, corrections, gender rebellion, women’s rights, art, and uplifting Black women.” Thank you Rob for sharing this opportunity with your network!

Reminder: 2024 Cohort Application Opens October 1st

Before we adjourn this newsletter, we want to remind folks that applications for the 2024 Boards & Commissions Fellowship will open on October 1st. Watch our Boards & Commissions webpage for the 2024 application and please send it on to others you may know who would be interested in knowing more. The application will also be linked in next month’s update.