Who Are We

Community Action Program Legal Services (CAPLAW) is a non-profit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) membership corporation. It is managed by a Board of Directors composed of current and former CAA executive directors from across the country. Its staff is based in Boston, with a coordinator in Washington, D.C.


Eleanor A. Evans, Esq.
Executive Director and General Counsel

Eleanor Evans is Executive Director and General Counsel of Community Action Program Legal Services, Inc. (CAPLAW) and General Counsel to Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. Eleanor advises Community Action Agencies nationwide on a broad range of legal, governance and compliance matters, writes publications and presents workshops throughout the country on those matters. Before holding these positions, Eleanor was CAPLAW’s Deputy Director and Senior Counsel. Prior to joining CAPLAW, she practiced with the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow, where she represented nonprofit and for-profit organizations in corporate, tax and employee benefits matters. Eleanor is co-author of “Being a Player: A Guide to the IRS Lobbying Regulations for Advocacy Charities,” published by the Alliance for Justice. She is a graduate of Smith College and Georgetown University Law Center.

Allison Ma'luf, Esq.
Deputy Director and Senior Counsel

Allison Ma’luf, Esq. is Deputy Director and Senior Counsel at CAPLAW. She advises community action agencies on a wide range of legal issues, including board responsibilities, Head Start, employment law, and tax-exempt organization law requirements. Prior to joining CAPLAW, Allison practiced law as a corporate associate at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, Massachusetts and Troutman Sanders LLP in Atlanta, Georgia where she represented public and private companies and nonprofit organizations in general corporate matters. She also completed a two-year appointment to the Staff Attorney’s Office at the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. Allison received her undergraduate and law degrees from Wake Forest University.

Veronica Zhang, Esq.
Assistant Counsel

Veronica Zhang is Assistant Coumnsel at CAPLAW, where she advises Community Action Agencies nationwide in strategic and operational matters and counsels them on a broad range of legal issues, including tax-exempt law, Head Start and other government grants, corporate governance and compliance. Prior to joining CAPLAW, Veronica was a corporate associate at Goodwin Procter LLP, where she represented public and private biopharmaceutical and technology companies in mergers and acquisitions, public securities offerings and other strategic collaborations, as well as counseled early-stage companies and non-profit organizations on formation and governance matters. Veronica is a graduate of Yale University and Boston University School of Law.

Elle Enander
Communications and Events Assistant

Elle Enander is responsible for developing and implementing CAPLAW’s outreach strategy, as well as designing and managing a variety of resources including CAPLAW's website, publications, live and virtual trainings, and communications surrounding the annual national training conference. Elle has a background in educational nonprofit service, art and activism, and photography, and is currently leading a photography enrichment workshop at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston aimed at increasing storytelling opportunities for high school students. She is a 2018 John Lewis Fellow with Humanity in Action, an international organization committed to addressing contemporary civil and human rights issues, and has a degree in English Literature and Environmental Studies from Centre College in Kentucky.

Ashley Billingsley
Operations Manager

Ashley Billingsley brings a background in nonprofit and business administration, with experience ranging from public relations and marketing to grant writing and records management. Between 2006-2010, she served as Administrative Manager with A/E/C Strategy, a Boston-based architecture, engineering and construction consulting firm. She subsequently launched Aesthetic Logic, an exhibit design and construction consulting firm, where she managed business development and operations in partnership with the co-founder and principal designer. A freelance writer and exhibiting artist, she studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before completing a BFA at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and an MFA through the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University joint degree program.

Board of Directors

Jerralynn Ness, CAPLAW President
Former Executive Director, Community Action serving Washington County

Bertha Proctor, CAPLAW Vice-President
Executive Director, Pace Community Action Agency, Inc.

Arlene Dobison, CAPLAW Treasurer
Executive Director, Lowcountry Community Action Agency.

Pam LaFrenz, CAPLAW Secretary
Executive Director, Missouri Valley Community Action Agency

David Brightbill, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, Washington-Morgan Counties Community Action Program

Sandra Sewell, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, AJFC Community Action Agency, Inc.

Kathy DiNolfi, CAPLAW Board Member
Chief Program Officer, A New Leaf

Betsey Andrews Parker, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, Community Action Partnership of Strafford County

Dawn Hommer, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Inc.

Ken Robinette, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, South Central Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Darlene Bigler, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, Community Action Southwest

Patricia Steiger, CAPLAW Board Member, Emeritus
Management Consultant & Former Executive Director, National Community Action Management Academy