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.


Allison Ma'luf, Esq.
Executive Director and General Counsel

Allison Ma'luf, Esq. is Executive Director and General Counsel of Community Action Program Legal Services, Inc. (CAPLAW) and General Counsel to Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. 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.
Deputy Director and Senior Counsel

Veronica Zhang is Deputy Director and Senior Counsel at CAPLAW. She advises community action agencies nationwide on strategic, operational, and legal matters, including tax-exempt law, employment law, Head Start and other government grant compliance, and corporate governance. Prior to joining CAPLAW, Veronica was a business law associate at Goodwin Procter LLP, where she represented public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions and other strategic collaborations. She also helped nonprofit organizations operate and maintain tax-exempt status. Veronica is a graduate of Yale University and Boston University School of Law.

Jonathan Cohen, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Jonathan Cohen is Staff Attorney at CAPLAW. He advises community action agencies on legal issues related to organizational governance, tax-exempt law, and federal government grant compliance. Prior to joining CAPLAW, Jon conducted research and wrote business case studies on organizational change management and strategy for Harvard Business School. He has also practiced business law in Boston, worked to promote international human rights with Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C., and organized around environmental justice issues in Hartford, CT. Jon earned a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, a master’s from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a law degree from Northeastern 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