Water Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

June 27, 2023
Photos of José Padilla and Amy Cordalis
José Padilla and Amy Bowers-Cordalis, Water Foundation Board Members

The Water Foundation is excited to announce the addition of two remarkable members to the board of directors: José R. Padilla, former state director of California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., and Amy Bowers-Cordalis, an attorney for the Yurok Tribe. Both have dedicated their careers to legal advocacy and community leadership, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the board.

José R. Padilla began his 44-year career with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) Inc. after receiving a law degree from U.C. Berkeley, and undergraduate from Stanford. Before retiring, José served (38 years) as the State Director of the CRLA, advocating for farm workers and rural communities by creating community-based programs to uplift marginalized groups, including Indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and dairy workers. His work has been instrumental in creating programs such as a low-income credit union, a bilingual radio station (Radio Sin Fronteras), and many efforts that have addressed the educational, economic, and political needs of those navigating immigration. His experience also includes serving as the Vice-Chair of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, as well as on the National Legal Aid & Defender Association Board of Directors, where he served as Board Chair in 2008.

Amy Bowers-Cordalis is a part of a multi-generational effort advocating for Yurok Rights. She has served as a member of the general counsel for the Yurok Tribe where she led initiatives to promote self-governance, restoration, and conservation. She also served as a staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, where she provided legal expertise, assisting in issues related to Indian law. Amy continues her family legacy by focusing her work on Klamath River restoration, including dam removal, water rights, and fisheries issues. As a fisherwoman herself, Amy is committed to restoring and protecting the integrity of our waterways.

As members of the board, Amy and José provide new perspectives and skills, contributing to our team’s ongoing work with our grantee and funder partners to secure resilient rivers for people and nature, achieve sustainable groundwater management for future generations, ensure safe and affordable drinking water for all, and advance water justice and equitable governance for communities most impacted by water issues and the changing climate.

José and Amy join our growing board of directors which includes:

  • Celeste Cantú, chair of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board;
  • David Beckman, president of the Pisces Foundation;
  • Hahrie Han, inaugural director of the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University;
  • Jim Lochhead, CEO/manager of Denver Water;
  • John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund;
  • Lauren Dachs, president and founder of the Laural Foundation;
  • Moira Mcdonald, director of the Environment Program at the Walton Family Foundation; and
  • Peter S. Silva, president of Silva-Silva International.