Meet our New President, Deborah Shefler!

Meet our New President, Deborah Shefler!


Our new membership and program year will be full of volunteer opportunities. In addition to our regular activities in Voter Service, Action, and Speakers Series, we will be actively supporting the Schools and Communities First fall 2020 ballot initiative to raise billions to support our schools and other services. We will also be participating in the county’s Complete Count program to make sure the Census captures everyone in Oakland. And 2020 is the League’s Centennial, an opportunity to promote the League and expand our outreach in a variety of ways.

As those of you who attended the Annual Meeting on June 12th learned, we start this year with an enhanced ability to carry out our new and old programs thanks to the capacity-building grant from the Alameda County Probation Department.  Here are the ways we used the grant to increase our capacity to serve our community:

1. We developed a Strategic Plan to guide us over the next several years. The goals of the Plan are:

  • Goal #1: Broaden and deepen LWVO's understanding of the diversity of our community.
  • Goal #2: Engage under served Oakland communities to increase their understanding of the political system and how their use of political power can influence change.
  • Goal #3: Diversify the membership, leadership, partnerships and public face of LWVO.
  • Goal #4: Increase community awareness of the LWVO as a year-round resource for relevant programs, services and information about how civic participation can create change.

We have a task force devoted to implementing the Plan, headed by Elaine Ginnold. Her group has already fulfilled Goal 1 by commissioning a baseline study juxtaposing League and community demographics. (You can expect to hear more on the study in the near future.)

2. We developed a plan to diversify membership, and, with the support of Mony Flores-Bauer, a toolbox for more effectively engaging volunteers.

3. Under the guidance of Theresa Nelson, we are exploring succession planning options, more inclusive ways of recruiting board members and League leaders, and techniques to make meetings more effective. We are surveying board members to learn what is and isn’t working. We now have a Governance task force to carry forward these and other initiatives.

4. Thanks to Kathryn Moir and the Development Committee, we have a Development Plan that will enable us to expand our outreach. Several League leaders have taken training in how to be effective fund raisers. We are already experimenting with new fund raising techniques.

5. We drafted manuals for all our committees to capture policies and procedures and facilitate information transfer.

6. We have upped our game technologically with the purchase of new office and audio equipment, and more up to date software. Many thanks to Renea Davis-Leathers for her guidance on hardware, and to Bonnie Hamlin and several others who are helping us transition to a Cloud-based relational database. We developed a Technology Plan to guide future acquisitions.

7. Thanks to Louise Nathe, we have a Partnerships and Networking Manual that will guide our efforts to broaden our outreach.

8. We have made significant strides in our capacity to encourage civic engagement within the reentry community, thanks to Elaine Ginnold, Deleign Thompson, Gwen Knighten-Smith and others in our newly formed Reentry Task Force. Based on the results of study over the past year, we are pursuing a proactive model aimed at community based service providers, armed with new communications resources.

We invite you to explore how you can make a difference by volunteering with the League. You can send an email to info [at] (subject: I%20want%20to%20volunteer) info [at]
.?subject=I%20want%20to%20volunteer" target="_blank">. We’ll put you in touch with the right person. Or you can fill out our on line interest survey. 

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