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Butler Koshland Fellowships is seeking an emerging leader to serve as a Fellow to María Blanco, Executive Director of the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center

About Butler Koshland Fellowships

The mission of Butler Koshland Fellowships is to identify and mentor the next generation of public service leaders. Our model is simple and personal—we ask extraordinary leaders to mentor an emerging leader. Each mentor and fellow pair work closely together on a project for one year, during which time we fund the fellow’s salary. By directly investing in the individuals who have the greatest potential to influence others, we are accelerating the pace of positive social change.

Intergenerational collaboration is essential to strengthen the social sector during this time of profound cultural and technological transformation. Bringing a rich array of experiences and expertise to their partnership, mentors and fellows challenge one another, combining their knowledge to make new kinds of thinking possible.

Our program is strengthened by the diversity of its participants. Mentors and fellows come from a variety of backgrounds—economic, educational, and ethnic—and work in many fields, including conservation, education, media, philanthropy, and public health. We are building a dynamic group of leaders and each new addition broadens our capacity for collaboration.

Mentors and fellows form a special community. During their service year and beyond, they gather regularly to offer mutual support, reinforcing their commitment to public service. It is our intention that these lifelong relationships will ultimately become the core of a powerful network committed to the common good. To learn more about BKF, please visit our website:

About María Blanco

María Blanco is Executive Director of the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center, which operates out of UC Davis School of Law to provide immigration-related legal services for undocumented students and their families at all the UC campuses except UC Berkeley which runs its own program.   Launched in November 2014, the Center is a project of the University of California Office of the President

A graduate of UC Berkeley, Ms. Blanco has more than 20 years’ experience as a litigator and advocate for immigrant rights, women’ rights, and social justice. She most recently served as Vice President of Civic Engagement at the California Community Foundation and led its immigrant integration initiatives. Ms. Blanco has also served as Executive Director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute at UC Berkeley School of Law, as Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, as an Equal Rights Advocates attorney, as associate director and associate professor at Golden Gate University School of Law, and as National Senior Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She is a member of the Public Policy Institute of California Board of Directors and the California Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.

About the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center

The University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center serves the immigration-related legal needs of undocumented and immigrant students in the University of California system.

Operating out of UC Davis School of Law, the groundbreaking program reaches out to students at UC campuses —UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and UC Riverside—to provide, free of charge, the immigration legal assistance they need in order to achieve their educational goals and reach their full potential.

California is home to approximately 2.5 million undocumented immigrants—more than any other state. Many who were brought into the country as children now find themselves encountering significant barriers as they pursue higher education. Because of their immigration status, undocumented students face difficulties in applying for work and financial aid. The UC Immigrant Legal Services Center helps to fill that need. The Center is a national leader in legal services for undocumented students and their families with Executive Director María Blanco receiving frequent requests to speak about the Center across the country.

The Center’s clients hail from 44 different countries, but the majority of those served are Latino (73% from Mexico.)

The Center serves clients with varying legal statuses. The vast majority (88%) are undocumented with 66% being Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. California is home to the nation’s largest number of DACA recipients — about 223,000, nearly twice as many as the next largest, in Texas. About 4,000 UC students are immigrants without legal status.

To learn more about the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center, please visit their website:


Beginning in the fall of 2018, the Fellow will work full-time as a Butler Koshland Fellow at The University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center (ILSC) for the period of one year with the mentorship of its Executive Director, María Blanco. In this capacity, the Fellow will do important work to protect the rights of immigrant students, especially those eligible for the DACA program, while also learning about what it takes to lead a nonprofit organization.

This is an exceptional opportunity for someone to work with a major nonprofit organization during an especially important time for immigrant rights—one fraught with peril, but one that also holds promise as the movement for equity continues to gain momentum across university campuses—while receiving mentorship from one of the most effective leaders in the field. The Fellow will be contributing to work that is vital for University of California students and their families, while also helping to shape ILSC as a model institution with programs that can be replicated across the United States.

The needs of a high-profile, national-facing legal organization like ILSC are complex and constantly shifting, especially given the unrelenting attack against immigrants of all statuses being waged by the current political administration. The Fellow should be prepared to jump right in, following and addressing issues as they rapidly unfold. Flexibility will be important here, as the Fellow will need to work where most needed across multiple issues and formats.

Representative projects and learning opportunities may include:

During the fellowship period, the Fellow will largely focus on these key areas of work, in roughly these proportions:

  • [50%] Legal/DACA: The demand for ILSC’s legal services is at an all-time high. The Fellow will become an important member of the legal team.As such, the Fellow will participate in biweekly review meetings, where specific cases are discussed, and monthly staff meetings, where any changes in the law are explicated, new strategies for working within a restrictive government are developed, and opportunities to improve outreach are brainstormed. The Fellow will be focusing their efforts on processing the DACA caseload, for which they will receive expert training. For UC students, DACA status is life-changing, and ILSC is dedicated to processing as many DACA cases as possible before pending lawsuits end this opportunity. This work will in part entail conducting comprehensive intakes with DACA-eligible students: interviewing applicants; screening for all possible forms of relief; sharing results with the legal team; and supporting follow-up scheduling and case management. In addition to gaining valuable experience with DACA, the Fellow will also be exposed to general immigration issues, including: affirmative family-based immigration relief, U-Visa, VAWA, adjustment of status, naturalization, and others.


  • [25%] Communications/Outreach: ILSC has become a national source of knowledge on complex and rapidlychanging immigration issues and the Fellow will play an important role in providing access to this expertise by managing internal and external requests for information. As part of their role on the ILSC legal team, the Fellow will be encouraged to join national conference calls concerning immigrant rights, taking notes and sharing these updates with staff. To help keep all UC campus immigration centers updated on critical changes in the law, the Fellow will be trained to make “update” presentations at student events or through the webinars ILSC conducts for the leaders of the undocumented student centers at each campus. The Fellow will also serve as liaison to ILSC partner organization the California Campus Catalyst Fund (CCCF), which is a multi-million dollar, three-year grantmaking initiative to expand support for undocumented students and their families across the state’s three public higher education systems: California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California. The Fellow will ensure that all participating CCCF schools have access to technical assistance from ILSC. The Fellow will also develop clear and compelling communications materials that can serve as guides for these and other institutions that are seeking to create their own immigrant legal service centers. Additionally, the Fellow will manage requests for interviews and presentations with Ms. Blanco and collaborate with her to develop targeted outreach to key stakeholders, including media, lawmakers, advocates and others to help drive impact.


  • [25%] Development/Partnerships: The work of ILSC is made possible by the University of California as well as a wider circle of generous philanthropists. The Fellow will play an important role in supporting ILSC’s individual and institutional donor engagement by contributing to proposals, reports, and presentations,ensuring that key findings are shared with lead philanthropic partners; attending fundraising pitches with Ms. Blanco; and researching new opportunities for partnerships with other organizations and funders.


The successful candidate will be engaged with ILSC’s mission to gain equity for immigrants and will in some way be currently engaged in the movement for social justice. They will also have a demonstrated commitment to a career in public service and an interest in actively participating in BKF’s leadership community, which is made up of our Mentors and Fellows, past and present.

This individual will have a high degree of comfort working in a collaborative, entrepreneurial and visionary organization where needs and priorities can shift quickly. The ability to work both independently and in a group is a must, as is a capacity to navigate the university system, making sure that University of California policies are closely followed.

Our ideal candidate is a self-starter who comes to the table brimming with ideas and initiative about how we can improve ILSC’s operation in service of furthering the movement for immigrant rights.

Candidates should have at least 3 years of directly related work experience either in law, fundraising, community organizing, and/or communications.

We welcome applications  from candidates with paralegal certification who have a background in immigration paralegal work, but have a preference for candidates with a J.D. degree.

Note for those with J.D. degrees: we would prefer that candidates be admitted into the bar in at least one state with a strong preference for members of the California bar, but we are open to candidates who have elected not to sit for the exam. Specific experience with immigration law would be ideal, but is not required as expert training will be provided.

Additional experience could include:

  • Experience in communications and marketing, such as academic or work experience in a communications, community outreach, media or public affairs.
  • Experience in fundraising from individual donors, grant writing and proposal development for foundations, or work with a philanthropic organization.
  • Experience with social media as a tool for communication, stakeholder development, feedback, and engagement.
  • Experience in public and nonprofit administration such as academic or work experience in public administration, program management, business development and analysis, or nonprofit management.

Because the duties of the Fellow involve strong communication and strategic skills, this position requires someone with a diverse set of abilities and personality traits, including: intellectual agility, ambition, the ability to interface with diplomacy and friendliness while facing multiple deadlines, excellent writing abilities, strong presentation and verbal communication skills, acumen for research, sense of humor, and cultural sensitivity. Applicants also must be adept at organizing their own work and the work of others, have practical experience in making things happen, and know when to be appropriately discreet with confidential information. Fluency in Korean and/or Spanish is a plus.


UPDATED: The deadline to apply is October 6, 2018.

To apply please submit a cover letter and resume addressing your qualifications and interest in this fellowship along with a legal writing sample of at least one page. Please be sure to list any technical skills you may have. We also encourage applicants to include relevant, short samples of their previous work—written reports, links to web-based publications, podcasts, ad copy, pitch letters, press releases, videos, and any other materials demonstrating communication skills are welcome.

Please send all application materials via email to the attention of BKF’s Executive Director, Kate Brumage, at [email protected] with the subject line “Blanco Fellowship.” Only those chosen to interview will be contacted. Do not contact María Blanco or ILRC directly.

Ms. Blanco splits her time between an office at ILRC’s headquarters at the University of California, Davis and an off-campus office in Berkeley. The Fellow may choose to be based out of either of these two locations, but must be willing to commit to spending at least one day per week in Berkeley and one day per week in Davis.

The Fellow will be an employee of the University of California. This is an exempt position with a salary of $52,000 per year plus employer provided health and other employment-related benefits. The Fellow will work a standard 40-hour work-week and should be available to travel and attend evening programs as needed.

UPDATED: *** Interviews will be held October 10, 2018, on the University of California, Davis campus.

Butler Koshland Fellowships is strengthened by the diversity of its participants. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply.

Download a PDF of this announcement here.

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