About - Board of Directors

The Bay Area Community Land Trust is a non-profit membership organization run by an elected Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director.

Board President Beth Youhn has been on the board since 2006. Now retired, she is the former Executive Director of Tradeswomen Inc., a nonprofit that supports tradeswomen, and assists unions and employers to recruit and retain skilled tradeswomen. Ms. Youhn worked as a heavy equipment operator with Operating Engineers Local 3 for 20 years, and later worked to promote construction careers for women and minorities at Laney Community College and the City and Port of Oakland. She serves on the California Apprenticeship Council’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Women in Apprenticeship, is a founding board member of Tradeswomen Now and Tomorrow, a national policy coalition, and is a founding member of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department’s Standing Committee on Women in the Trades.

Board Vice-President Stephen Barton joined the board in 2012. He retired from the City of Berkeley after serving as Housing Director, Deputy Director of the Rent Stabilization Board and as a housing planner. He has a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of numerous articles on housing policy and economics. He received an Affordable Housing Leadership award from the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California in 2006 and a National Planning Award from the American Planning Association in 1997.

Board Secretary Marie Whidden is a founding member of BACLT, and was elected to the board in 2012. She has served actively as a member of the Membership Committee and assisted with many of BACLT’s events. She has been active in the community for 40 years, sponsoring youth groups, directing improvisational theater groups and volunteering in the schools. She has been a massage therapist and teacher for 31 years. She is a long-time co-op supporter, was a member of the Berkeley Food Co-op, and lived in a co-op in the 1980s.

Board Treasurer Mary Lucas McDonald was elected to the board in 2017. Mary is a founder of the BACLT Hibiscus Commons project, a model for affordable elder housing cooperatives, which will help seniors of all incomes to retire comfortably and affordably in community. Mary served on the steering committee for United in Action, the community organization that developed the 2020 Vision to close the achievement gap in Berkeley schools. She volunteered for Ashby Village which helps seniors live independently. Mary is an avid dragon boater and served on the boating clubs non-profit board of directors as the outreach director.

Chris Bailey is a founding BACLT member and was elected to the board in 2009. She was one of the early women members of the Carpenters Union in the 1970's and an officer in the Oakland chapter in the 1980's. In 1985, she went to Nicaragua with the Bay Area Construction Brigade to build houses on a coffee cooperative. Ms. Bailey worked for Alameda County as a Construction Project Manager, the San Francisco Housing Authority as a Construction Inspector and recently retired from twelve years as a Building Inspector and Plans Examiner with the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

Claudia Skelton is a founding BACLT member and served on the board from 2007 to 2010 and was reelected to the board in 2016. She is a retired nurse and was an SEIU member for many years, serving on the executive board for several years and one term as treasurer. She has been an advocate for labor as well as gay rights.

Jesse Palmer joined the board in 2011. He has been an attorney since 1995 and has represented housing coops, shared housing arrangements and non-profit corporations since 2000. He received his JD from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a BS from the University of California, Berkeley. He has lived in group housing situations continuously since 1987 and founded an eight person communal house in Berkeley in 1998 where he still lives with his wife Kristi and daughter Fern.

Julie Gilgoff was elected to board in 2017. She is currently a legal fellow at the Sustainable Economies Law Center focusing on issues of affordable senior housing. She is a licensed attorney with a J.D. from CUNY School of Law in New York. She is the author of a law review article about Community Land Trusts, a book about the McCarthy era, and articles about education, travel and immigration. Gilgoff worked as a political organizer for a public sector labor union in San Francisco, IFPTE Local 21, as the interim program coordinator of the Koshland Program of The San Francisco Foundation, and taught at New York City public schools. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua and speaks Spanish fluently.

Marcia Caine Edelen joined the board in 2014. She grew up and raised her family in West Berkeley. At the Consumers Co-op of Berkeley, she was an employee-member later elected to the CCB Board. She also served on the Board of the West Berkeley Fund for Community Progress and committees of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition. In 2015, Marcia became a resident/member of Brown Shingle Mutual Housing, a resident-managed project of the BACLT. She has been an active member of the BACLT for several years.

Executive Director Rick Lewis has 28 years of experience in housing and economic development, specializing in the development and support of housing cooperatives. He has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He has over twenty years of experience as a carpenter and general contractor. He was a founding member of BACLT and served on the Board from 2006 to 2010. He has served on the Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission and on the San Francisco Community Land Trust board, and lives in a housing co-op he helped form 31 years ago.