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Community Legal Services East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) - Executive Director

Bianca Garcia | Published on 4/10/2021

Community Legal Services East Palo Alto (CLSEPA)

Executive Director

Position Description


CLSEPA champions partnerships with low-income communities and communities of color to break down systemic barriers to inclusion and equity, and has gained national media coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Financial Times. Their scope of work goes beyond client services to include impact litigation, policy, advocacy and community education, and they have achieved regional leadership and recognition in immigration, housing and economic advancement initiatives. They combine innovative and traditional strategies for maximum impact to help community members navigate the legal system so they can exercise their strength, power and rights in the following key areas:

  • Immigration initiatives support immigrant communities to keep families together, attain freedom from fear, and achieve a path to permanency in the United States. This is done through community outreach as well as legal representation for those seeking to defend themselves against deportation and those seeking to apply for immigration benefits and naturalization.

  • Housing initiatives prevent displacement and promote community stability through direct legal services, policy advocacy, and partnerships with individual clients, tenant associations and community organizations.

  • Economic advancement initiatives empower community members to attain economic security for themselves and their families by removing barriers to employment and housing caused by a criminal record, and by protecting worker and consumer rights.


    CLSEPA’s purpose is rooted in a commitment to communities of color in East Palo Alto and the region. Their mission is to provide transformative legal services that enable diverse communities to achieve a secure and thriving future.

They aim for transformative impact. Their legal services to individuals are coupled with strategies such as community education, technical assistance, policy advocacy, and impact litigation.

  • They seek to empower communities. Their role as legal advocates is to promote community empowerment and support communities in determining their own futures as they recognize that transformative change comes from the community itself.

  • They serve diverse communities in East Palo Alto and beyond. Rooted in East Palo Alto, they serve neighborhoods and communities where the challenges are similar or interrelated to EPA.

  • They aspire for all to thrive. They seek not only to support the attainment of security and stability, but also to make it possible for community members to achieve a thriving future.

    CLSEPA is deeply committed to values of social justice and racial equity. They actively seek staff that is representative of the communities they serve, and offer culturally competent services rooted in the recognition of the need for an ongoing commitment to their own cultural humility. Their work is dedicated to partnering with the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and LGBTQ people and communities of the regions they serve and to build a more equitable future for all.


    CLSEPA seeks a new Executive Director to provide vision, leadership, and oversight to accomplish the strategic goals of this highly respected and impactful organization. He/She/They will partner closely with the Board, staff and community and will have a track record of success in designing and implementing both strategic and operational plans while working closely with staff to set priorities, timelines and deliverables for multiple initiatives.

    The new leader must be multi-faceted in building new collaborations and relationships while maintaining existing relationships with key partners, funders and communities along with leading the internal aspects of the organization to ensure a focus on these key priorities: setting strategy, increasing resources, scaling the organization’s operations and infrastructure and enhancing its external footprint.

    The ED will report to and receive direction from the Board of Directors with immediate supervision from the Board Co-Chairs.



  • Provide leadership to the overall organization and ensure its financial health.

    Maintain and strengthen a diverse range of funding sources with a focus on funding levels that meet programmatic needs and strategic growth to expand program capacity.

  • Manage the day-to-day operations in collaboration with the senior management team. Evaluate, motivate and mentor staff. Create and maintain an effective organizational structure that supports efforts to attract, hire and retain diverse and talented staff.

  • Collaborate and partner with the broader community in East Palo Alto and neighboring cities, including other legal and social service organization providers, clients, political and civic leaders and community groups.

  • Build and maintain effective communication/partnership with the Board of Directors, keeping them fully informed of the organization’s operations, fiscal health, strategy, and operational issues in a timely manner. Continually work to help develop the Board’s composition, skills and support its governance operations to ensure best-in-class governance.


Organizational Management

  • Directs the overall operations of the programs in compliance with relevant laws, organizational policies, requirements of funding sources, and the mission of CLSEPA.

  • Oversees risk management, including ensuring compliance with relevant laws, board policies and funding requirements, reviewing contracts, and ensuring proper levels of insurance coverage.

  • In partnership with Boards and staff ensures sound financial practices meet the goals identified in its annual budget and within the constraints imposed by some of key funders.

  • Provides oversight of the process for monitoring trends in service delivery and its impact on financial management, staffing and outcomes.

  • Ensures that all programs, services and activities lead to the development and delivery of high-quality services.

  • Partners with program development to ensure goals and targets are accurate and aligned with strategic direction and budget.

  • Evaluates mission impact through performance measures and program evaluations.

  • Ensures the board is regularly updated on program and business operations through the BOD and its Committees.

  • Develops operational goals and objectives consistent with the mission and vision,

  • Community Relations

  • Serves as an advocate and chief spokesperson for the organization to the broader community and advances CLSEPA’s reputation and respect within the sector and community.

  • Develops and maintains positive and productive working relationships with other service organizations as well as political and civic leaders and individual members of the community.

  • Nurtures and sustains close, productive relationships with key stakeholders in order to advance resources and the mission

  • Ensures that CLSEPA is publicly visible and responsive by providing noteworthy updates, statements, and press releases to the media, as well as participating in mission critical events.

    Fund Development and Fundraising

  • Provides leadership, oversight and partnership with key staff to ensure that the intentional strategies for fund development and fundraising activities are sufficient to meet budgetary needs.

  • Ensures the development and implementation of policies and procedures related to fund development and stakeholder relationships.

  • Provides leadership and collaborates closely with senior staff responsible for strategic partnerships to:

o Identify funding sources from both public and private sectors.
o Cultivate and engage with key donors.
o Explore funding opportunities with donors.
o Direct the exploration of other revenue streams that create flexibility,

value and impact.

Staff Management

  • Engages and provides counsel with senior leaders in the organization on the recruitment, retention, training and supervision of all staff.

  • Maintains team-oriented work environment that supports and inspires staff. One Market, Spear Tower, Suite 3600, San Francisco, CA 94105

  • Motivates and leads a high performing senior management team.

  • Leads by example in promoting an environment of continuous improvement with

    constructive feedback and recognition of the contributions of staff.

  • Works with human resources to ensure adherence to personnel policies.

    Board Relations

  • Ensures that the board and staff collaborate on the development of the strategic direction for CLSEPA.

  • Works in partnership with the board of directors to identify new board members who possess the identified diversity and skills needed.

  • Collaborates with the board to identify potential funding sources and ways to raise funds from community partnerships.

  • Attends board and committee meetings and ensures support for all board operations as needed.

  • Works in partnership with board officers and committee chairs to leverage the involvement and contribution of each board member.

  • Supports the board of directors and its efforts, ensures that the board is provided all information necessary to fulfill its duties.

  • Implements board policies; keeps the board informed and consults with its members concerning the activities of the organization.

    Professional experience and qualifications

  • Deep experience working alongside communities of color and low-income communities, advocating for racial justice, partnering with community groups focused on social change and leading organizations that are providing legal or social services needed to these important constituents and communities.

  • Dynamic, passionate leader who can provide focus and inspiration to staff, volunteers and the Board and has a track record of a strong commitment to social and racial justice.

  • Seasoned executive that has a minimum of 6 to 8 years of exceptional management experience with an emphasis on creating and maintaining a healthy culture and developing staff leadership, connecting and listening to all staff while being invested in their success.

  • Confident leader with the ability to make and delegate decisions as needed, work well under pressure and adapt easily to changing situations and priorities.

  • Demonstrated success as a fundraiser, including experience with fund development strategies, connections with funders and potential funders in both Silicon Valley and beyond.

  • Passion, knowledge and experience in ensuring there is a diversity, equity and inclusion lens both in the work CLSEPA does and the workplace practices and policies they implement.

  • Knowledge and interest in identifying key issues and changing needs as well as relevant law in a wide variety of matters affecting low-income individuals and implement creative solutions to complex individual and systemic legal problems.

  • Leader with lots of EQ who is a bridge-builder that can manage diverse viewpoints in a professional and compelling manner and has intuitive communications skills both verbal and written.

  • Ability to inspire creativity, curiosity, compassion and optimism along with having a sense of humor.

  • Ideally a JD from an accredited law school with strong academic credentials/willingness to sit for CA Bar preferred or a Masters degree in non-profit management or business.

  • Competency in Spanish a strong plus


    A competitive salary and benefits package will be provided to the successful candidate.

  • Please submit resumes and letters of interest to:

    Tarek Azzani
    Azzani Search Consultants

    CLSEPA is committed to workforce diversity. Qualified applicants will receive full consideration without regard to age, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, health status, or national origin.