Founded in 2013, the Community Advocates Leadership Academy (CALA), has served as the training ground for over 200 graduates who are working locally to make a difference on the environmental and social challenges of our time. 


Our revised CALA program, launching January 2020, will train a diverse and inclusive community of civic leaders across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who want to be a powerful force for the environment and equity in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

Want to Join?

Learn. Explore. Collaborate. Impact.

We are now accepting 

applications for our 2020 class!

CALA 2.0

The Community Advocates Leadership Academy 6-month program and associated alumni program provides a foundation that participants can leverage throughout their career of public service. People who graduate from the program will be able to:


  • Articulate their personal mission statement and their theory of change.
  • Identify the next leadership role they will pursue.
  • Recognize how bias prevents certain voices from being heard.
  • Articulate actions they will take to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in their civic leadership role.
  • Influence key decision makers through the use of power mapping.
  • Organize a convening for a targeted audience, that accomplishes a stated goal, and leaves participants feeling heard.
  • More effectively advocate for the natural environment as the primary aspect or contributing component of their advocacy work.
  • Strategically leverage a rich connection and shared experience with their cohort of changemakers.
  • Weave timely issues and perspectives into their repertoire of advocacy approaches via twice yearly CALA update events.   


CALA will grow a diverse and inclusive community of leaders who will be a powerful force for the environment and equity in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. 


Graduates of the program serve as mentors for the future participants, can serve on our new CALA Advisory Board, and are supported by the CALA network to attain leadership roles.


Application Season Opens September

Our goal each year is to form a cohort of 20-25 people who represent the ethic, geographic, generational, gender, and economic diversity of the region and live in or serve San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties’ communities. 


Accepted applicants are distinguished by their 

  • Commitment to be a more effective changemaker in the public, private, and/or nonprofit sector.
  • Desire to work across sectors toward a vision for the region to be a resilient, equitable place where wildlife thrive, everyone has natural beauty to enjoy, and communities live in balance with nature.
  • Desire to explore and address systemic oppression to increase the power of communities who historically have been disempowered.

Who should apply?

We encourage all interested people to apply, regardless of financial means. Nearly full and partial scholarships available thanks to the financial support of the Knight Foundation, San Mateo County Health System, Green Foothills’ members, and funding sources we are actively soliciting right now. Please consider making a donation to support the Community Advocates Leadership Academy.

Scholarships Available

January 11, 2020

All sessions on Saturday, generally 8:30am-3:00pm

2020 Schedule

February 1, 2020

March 7, 2020

April 4, 2020

May 6, 2020

June 7, 2020

Graduation: June 14, 2020

Become an advocate for your community.

We encourage you to download this application form (DOWNLOAD HERE) and fill this out in a .doc so you have these questions and your answers saved for future reference. Once you are ready, fill out the form below with your answers.

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