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). 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.

Caroline Santilli, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Caroline F. Santilli is a Staff Attorney at CAPLAW. She advises community action agencies on legal issues related to governance, strategic collaborations, federal grant compliance, tax-exempt law, employment, and other matters. Prior to joining CAPLAW, Caroline was a corporate law associate in the Boston office of Ropes & Gray LLP, where she worked on leveraged acquisitions and debt refinancing transactions. She also represented pro bono clients in connection with their applications for asylum in the United States. Caroline is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and Northeastern University School of Law.

Allie Fiske
Communications and Events Coordinator

Allie Fiske is responsible for developing and implementing CAPLAW’s outreach strategy, as well as designing and managing CAPLAW's website, publications, live and virtual trainings, and communications surrounding the annual national training conference. Allie's previous experience includes managing communications for municipalities and nonprofits, and implementing large-scale arts festivals and performances. Allie received her Masters in Community Arts from Lesley University.

Valerie Phillips
Operations and Finance Coordinator

Valerie Phillips is Operations and Finance Coordinator at CAPLAW. She is responsible for managing the daily operations of CAPLAW and facilitating financial management. She has a background in education as well as nonprofit fundraising, management, and events. Prior to joining CAPLAW, Valerie was an assistant curator and a graduate student in history, whose dissertation addressed material culture, consumption, and gender in early modern France. Valerie received her Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo and is a graduate of the University of Miami.

Board of Directors

Dr. Bertha Proctor, CAPLAW President
Chief Executive Officer, Pace Community Action Agency, Inc.

Ken Robinette, CAPLAW Vice President
Executive Director, South Central Community Action Partnership, Inc.

Arlene Dobison, CAPLAW Treasurer
Chief Executive Officer, Agriculture & Labor Program, Inc.

Kathy DiNolfi, CAPLAW Secretary
Chief Program Officer, A New Leaf

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

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

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

Darlene Bigler, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, Blueprints CAA

Dr. Ericka Whitaker, CAPLAW Board Member
Chief Executive Officer, Southeastern Community Action Partnership

Joel Evans, CAPLAW Board Member
President/Chief Executive Officer, Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation

Tracy Diaz, CAPLAW Board Member
Executive Director, Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana

Jerralynn Ness, CAPLAW Board Member, Emeritus
Former Executive Director, Community Action serving Washington County

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