Who We Are
Courage California, driven by our 1.4 million members, helps our great state reach its potential by calling out institutional corruption and oppression, improving coordination and collaboration between progressive organizations, and demanding that our state and local representatives be both accountable to and reflective of the Californians they seek to serve.
Our programs include:
- the California Progressive Voter Guide, which aggregates endorsements from progressive organization in every race in California from Congressional seats to local judges and ballot measures in all 10 official ballot languages;
- Courage Score, the only multi-issue, progressive report card of the California Legislature in history;
- promoting progressives in California primary elections;
- and legislative advocacy in Sacramento and Washington, DC.
We pride ourselves on working with a broad array of partner organizations to break down silos and build progressive power across issues, organizations, and communities. Our California Progressive Convenings network includes more than 300 organizations. Courage California is also a proud state partner of the ProgressNow network.
Courage California Staff
Caitlin Alesio Maloney, Director of Voter Engagement and Technology: Caitlin originally joined the Courage California team from 2008-2014 and served as a Field Organizer, EqualityHub Manager, and Data Director. After a stint as Deputy Technology Director for ProgressNow, she is back in the fold as a Director of Voter Engagement and Technology. Previously, Caitlin worked as a Campus Campaign Manager for No on Prop 8, and for Libraries for the Future, a national non-profit supporting innovation and investment in America's public libraries. Raised in New Hampshire, she now lives in San Rafael, CA with her wife and son (and her little dog, too). When not attached to her computer, you can find Caitlin cooking, gardening, or hanging out with honeybees.
Gabriela Bobadilla, Development Associate: Gabby is an Inland Empire native and first-generation college graduate from the University of California, Riverside. During her time in university she was involved in youth development, anti-human trafficking, and Latinx theatre community work. Upon graduation, she worked in international education organizations in South America for two years. She is excited to be back in California and promote Courage in her home state.
Taisha Bonilla, Social Media Manager: Taisha is a native Californian and daughter of New Yoricans. Most recently in her career, Taisha has been a Digital Marketing and Web Design consultant for numerous entrepreneurs and small businesses, helping them establish their digital presence, grow and expand their brand online. Earlier in her career, she was the Statewide Training and Communications Coordinator for the national civil rights organization, Advancement Project. She attended graduate school at Drew University and completed undergraduate studies at Whittier College. Taisha is excited to join the Courage California team, and apply her digital knowledge and expertise to digitally organize, mobilize, and engage with courageous Californians.
Angela (Rosas) Chavez, Director of Communications: Former External Affairs and Media Relations Communications Specialist at California Complete Count Census 2020, appointed under Gov. Brown., where she led the development and coordination of the 2020 Census Statewide Outreach and Communications Strategy and developed the state's $47M media relations strategy. Prior to her appointment, Angela was a Director at Mercury Public Affairs' Sacramento office, consulting on statewide media relations and public affairs, specializing in narrative change. Notable statewide advocacy clients included The California Endowment, California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Food Policy Advocates, and No Kid Hungry. In 2009 Angela founded Chicas Latinas de Sacramento, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, in an effort to increase Latina volunteerism, civic engagement, and adequately serve Sacramento’s Latino community -- "creating a culture of volunteerism and civic engagement in our community, one Latina-Powered Project at a time.” Angela Chavez has a B.A. in journalism from California State University of Sacramento, is a former multimedia reporter for the Visalia Times-Delta.
Jay Chotirmal, Voter Guide Writing & Research Associate: Jay received a BA in Economics with a minor in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Following graduation, Jay moved to New York where he became involved in fundraising efforts for independent media and public access radio. Prior to joining Courage California, he held political communication positions in Washington, DC and Florida. Jay is excited to be back in California and working with Courage California to launch the first statewide progressive voter guide.
Eddie Kurtz, President and Executive Director: A theatre director in a previous life, Eddie served as Political Director -- leading Courage California's campaign work -- prior to his promotion to Executive Director. He managed our campaign to pass California's Homeowner Bill of Rights in 2012 and the Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement (LIFE) Act in 2013. He also directed online operations for the Millionaires Tax of 2012, the precursor to the historic Proposition 30. Prior to his time at Courage, Eddie served as Communications Associate at Brave New Films and worked to elect Congressman Jerry McNerney and President Obama. Originally from Kansas City, Eddie is a proud graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, as well as Washington University in St. Louis and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Mary Lizardi, Senior Campaign Manager: Mary is a queer Chicana daughter of immigrants and uses her intersecting identities to inform her work. Prior to Courage California, Mary worked at her alma mater, University of California, Riverside, at the Chicano Student Programs resource center. As Program Coordinator, she planned annual events and programs through a Chicano lens to advocate for first-generation college students and empower Chicano/Latino identified folx to pursue higher education. Prior to UC Riverside, Mary helped turn Nevada blue with the Nevada State Democratic Party in Las Vegas during the 2016 presidential election. Mary is excited to join Courage California’s organizing efforts and directly empower her communities.
Raquel Parra, Policy Manager: Raquel first became politically active as a teenager attending Prop 8 protests in Los Angeles. While attending the University of California, Berkeley, they continued their activism as a member of Berkeley’s International Socialist Organization chapter, while finding community in LGBTQ+ organizations. With bachelor’s' degrees in Art History and Anthropology they helped found the zine of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Student Committee, and worked with rare materials in Bancroft Library. They're excited to return to their organizing roots as part of the Courage California team.
Molly Watson, Senior Development Manager: Molly joined Courage California in 2017 when she returned home to California with her husband and toddler after seven years in Brooklyn, NY. While in New York, Molly worked as an Advocate and Academic Coordinator for underserved youth at Harlem Children’s Zone. Most recently, she spent three years fundraising for a safety net hospital in downtown Brooklyn, and dabbles in health care research. Molly earned a BA in Afro-Ethnic Studies from CSU Fullerton and studied Urban Affairs at CUNY Hunter in Manhattan, NY. Molly’s favorite things include her family and tanning in the California sun.
Deepthi Welaratna, Voter Guide Writing & Research Manager: Deepthi joins the Courage California team to help launch California's first statewide progressive voter guide, aimed at giving all Californians the information they need to vote according to their values. Deepthi brings nearly two decades of commitment to systems change through public policy campaigns, creative leadership programs, and global movement building around a range of social and economic issues. Deepthi is also the founder of Thicket Labs, a design lab and research consultancy. Deepthi was born in England, raised in Silicon Valley, has lived in Paris and New York, and her family is from Sri Lanka. She is a recent transplant to Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and enjoys balcony gardening.
Lindsay West, Senior Operations Manager: Prior to joining Courage California, Lindsay worked in integrated marketing and events in the entertainment industry. Lindsay’s activism started with harm reduction programs in high school. He earned a BA in Film and Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz, and has volunteered for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Scottie Thomaston, Lead Writer: Scottie is an activist and writer based in south Alabama. In addition to being a Contributor at Courage California Institute's EqualityOnTrial.com, he has been a longtime contributor to DailyKos, Fire Dog Lake, Critical Mass Progress, and The Huffington Post's 'Gay Voices.' As a lifelong activist, he has worked to help to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy" and to end proposed statewide amendments and legislation such as the recently withdrawn anti-transgender bill proposed in Tennessee's General Assembly. He's written on topics ranging from LGBT rights to disability rights and criminal justice.
Boards of Directors
Courage California (501 c4)
Susan Haskell - Secretary
Christina Livingston - Treasurer
Jamie McGurk - Chair
Courage California Institute (501 c3)
Lisa Garcia Bedolla
Lindsay Gardner - Chair
Rick Jacobs - Emeritus Chair
Gillian Morshedi - Treasurer
Nick Roxborough - Secretary
Work with Courage
We're also always looking for talented people to join our team! See current openings here.
Courage California Structure and Status
Courage California is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. This designation allows Courage California to advocate for legislation and influence the decisions of our elected leaders. It also means that contributions to Courage California are NOT tax deductible.
Courage California Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the educational arm of the Courage California family of organizations. Its mission is to defend and extend economic justice, human rights, and corporate and political accountability through public education, strategic research, and innovative leadership-development training. Contributions to Courage California Institute are TAX DEDUCTIBLE within IRS guidelines.
Courage California Issues Committee is ballot committee active on statewide and local ballot campaigns and is registered with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Contact Courage California
Our staff work virtually from their homes across California, but our mailing address is:
7119 West Sunset Boulevard, No. 195
Los Angeles, California 90046
Phone: 323 205 5154