Speakers

Nwamaka Agbo

Nwamaka Agbo

Nwamaka Agbo Consulting

Restorative Economics practitioner, Nwamaka Agbo, brings a solutions-oriented approach to her project management consulting. With a background in organizing, electoral campaigns, policy and advocacy on racial, social and environmental justice issues, Nwamaka supports projects that build resilient, healthy and self-determined communities rooted in shared prosperity.

In addition to her consulting practice, Nwamaka is also a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center and a 2017 Fellow for the RSF Integrated Capital Fellowship Program. Nwamaka previously served as the Director of Programs at EcoDistricts leading Target Cities—a program to support 11 neighborhood-scale sustainable urban regeneration projects across North American committed to equitable economic development.

As the Director of Programs at Transform Finance, Nwamaka designed and launched the inaugural Transform Finance Institute for Social Justice leaders. The Institute was created to educate and train social justice community leaders about how to best leverage impact investments to deepen their social impact for transformative social change.

She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member to Oakland Rising Action and a Board Member to Thousand Currents, Center for Third World Organizing and the Schumacher Center for New Economics. She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African American Studies and holds a Master’s of Public Administration specializing in Financial Management from San Francisco State University.

Nwamaka lives in Oakland with her husband, where she can be found geeking out on the latest sci-fi, Afrofuturism novels or cheering for the Golden State Warriors. She likes her bourbon neat and her sake chilled.

Angela Barbash

Angela Barbash

Revalue

Angela Barbash is Principal of Revalue, a registered investment advisory firm founded in 2013, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Revalue is a fee-only firm that serves values-driven organizations and investors by providing financial services designed for impact. Our vision is a financial system that is crafted to generate abundance for all. Ms. Barbash has dedicated 14 years in service to the community as a financial advisor in the Metro Detroit region. She studied Cultural Anthropology and History at Eastern Michigan University and began her professional career at the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC) before entering the financial services sector.

Revalue is a founding member of United Way of Washtenaw County Financial Stability Coalition and the National Coalition for Community Capital. Additionally, Ms. Barbash currently volunteers with the following organizations: Planning Committee Member, Pitch Ypsi $5000 business plan competition; Treasurer, UpStart! Adrian business plan competition; and, Committee Member, New West Willow Neighborhood Association Fundraising Committee. Ms. Barbash provides mentorship and guidance to entrepreneurs, apprenticing financial advisors, and youth in her community. She is regarded as a subject matter expert on the topics of community capital, crowdfunding, local investing, impact investing, values-aligned employee benefits packages, and community-based investor education.

Brian Beckon

Brian Beckon

Cutting Edge Capital

Brian is an attorney with over twenty-five years of experience working for nonprofits, start-ups, and publicly-traded companies. As a principal of both Cutting Edge Capital and Cutting Edge Counsel, Brian’s work is now focused on direct public offerings, corporate structuring, and strategies for community capital to help build a more equitable economy. Brian has served as General Counsel for RSF Social Finance, Clean Power Finance, and LendZoan; and before that as Corporate Counsel for Sybase and Catellus Development Corporation. He earned his J.D. from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and started his legal career with the North Bay law firm of Gaw Van Male. Brian is a member of the California Bar and serves on the boards of the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation, the Neto Community Network, and the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3).

Hendrix Berry

Hendrix Berry

Balanced Rock Investment Advisors & Boston Ujima Project

Hendrix joined Balanced Rock Investment Advisors, an independent firm with a mission to make fee-only advice affordable and accessible, in 2015 after entering the finance world via the Boston Ujima Project, where she remains an organizer. The Boston Ujima Project is a reparations organization building cooperative economic infrastructure in Boston. While at Balanced Rock, Hendrix has helped build out an impact investing strategy accessible to all clients, no matter their net worth. To date, Balanced Rock has financed worker owned cooperatives, women owned sustainable food businesses, solar initiatives, affordable housing, land trusts and more. Hendrix has had the privilege to work for locally and nationally renowned organizing and community economic development institutions such as the New Economy Coalition, Boston Community Capital, JP Local First, and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation. Hendrix is also on the Steering Committee of the newly formed Massachusetts Solidarity Economy Network. At home, Hendrix is a resident co-caretaker of a movement space and urban oasis called the Old Oak Dojo, which is used for retreats and events by nonprofits and grassroots groups in Boston advancing racial justice.

Amy Campbell Bogie

Amy Campbell Bogie

NC3

Amy is passionate about growing sustainable local economies, with more than eight years’ experience building networks and organizations in the community economic development sector. Her research and consulting practice focus on community-based financing opportunities for place-based ventures, with an emphasis on local securities offerings and new investment crowdfunding laws. She serves as the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3) and as an Associate with Croatan Institute. A recent graduate of the Bard MBA in Sustainability, Amy previously earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management through Duke University’s Continuing Education program.

Dazmonique Carr

Dazmonique Carr

Deeply Rooted Produce

Dazmonique Carr is passionate about health, exercise and education and loves to share what she knows with her community members. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology: Exercise and Sports Science and a Master’s of Arts in a shared curriclum of Sports Administration and Community Health, both from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI). During her years at WSU she spent a lot of time volunteering and working in the food service industry and founded a student organization on campus called Students Feeding Students(SFS). The goal of SFS was to provide students with free, healthy meals on a monthly basis. She expanded the work of the student organization to develop Deeply Rooted Produce with a goal to increase healthy and local food access to underserved populations in Detroit and educate community members about healthy living.

Norman Christopher

Norman Christopher

MSU Center for Regional Economic Innovation

Norman Christopher is a seasoned executive with background and experience in various management capacities including President, CEO, and COO responsibilities. He has improved business performance at major chemical companies including Haviland Enterprises in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He recently retired as the Executive Director for the Office of Sustainability Practices at Grand Valley State University, where sustainability is one of the University’s core values.

Mr. Christopher has a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He also completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard University. Recently, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Sustainability by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. Currently, he is an Innovation Fellow with the Regional Center for Economic Innovation at Michigan State University.

Mr. Christopher is active in the Grand Rapids community. He is a past chairman of the Family Owned Business Council, a 2000 graduate of the Leadership Grand Rapids Class, and assisted in the formation of the Community Sustainability Partnership in Grand Rapids. He was appointed to serve on Governor Granholm’s Michigan Climate Action Council; and by the United States Department of Commerce to serve on their Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee. He has been a member of the Grand Rapids and West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnership Leadership Teams.

Currently, he is Chair of the BIFMA and NSF e3 Furniture Sustainability Standard Joint Committee; and on the board and advisory groups of Seeds of Promise, Valley City Sign, and the Sabal Pointe Condominium Association.

Mr. Christopher has also contributed numerous articles and papers to journals and periodicals. Submitted book chapters include Sustaining Michigan: Metropolitan Policies and Strategies, Michigan State University Press; and The Handbook of Sustainability in Management Education, Elgar Publishing. He is the author of the book Sustainability Demystified! – A Practical Guide for Business Leaders and Managers.

George Cook

George Cook

Honeycomb Credit

George Cook is the Co-Founder and CEO of Honeycomb Credit, a Pittsburgh-based technology company that allows locally owned small businesses to borrow expansion loans from their own loyal customers and fans. George is a sixth-generation community banker and his family has been running a community bank in rural Appalachia for more than 130 years. Prior to founding Honeycomb Credit and in addition to his community banking experience, George worked for TransUnion to develop state-of-the-art tools to help lenders use data analytics to more quickly and fairly extend credit. George holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from George Washington University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Amy Cortese

Amy Cortese

Locavesting & Investibule

Amy Cortese is a Brooklyn, NY-based journalist whose work has appeared in publications including the New York Times and Business Week, and author of the book Locavesting, which chronicled the local investing movement. She is editor of Locavesting.com, a media & educational site that covers the emerging community capital field. Most recently, she co-founded investibule.co, an aggregation platform for community-based offerings spanning Kiva loans to JOBS Act crowdfunding, and helped to found NC3. She is also a founding member of the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3).

Katharine Czarnecki

Katharine Czarnecki

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Katharine Czarnecki is Senior Vice President at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) where she oversees operations and management of the Community Development unit. Throughout her diverse career in economic development, Katharine Czarnecki has sought to bring people together to find the best solution to a common question: How can a community be a thriving place to live, attractive venue to operate a successful business and have a strong identity that shapes communal values at the heart of the promise of a better tomorrow?

Under Katharine’s leadership, the state’s chief business marketing arm and economic development agency has worked closely with community partners to create initiatives to improve main streets, renovate and preserve historical sites, prepare communities so they will be ready and attractive to developers, facilitate crowdfunding campaigns, and promote key development properties to developers outside of Michigan.

Before joining the MEDC, Katharine worked in several Michigan communities, including at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. In addition, Katharine has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University. She lives in East Lansing with her husband and two daughters.

Margo Dalal

Margo Dalal

Detroit Community Wealth Fund

As Executive Director of the Detroit Community Wealth Fund, Margo is dedicated to creating a more equitable economy in Detroit and beyond. Raised in Virginia, Margo holds a Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Hampshire College, and an MSW from the University of Michigan. Margo has experience in supporting and growing businesses and non-profits, especially ones that prioritize worker ownership and youth development. She is a founding member of The Tricycle Collective, a non-profit that has raised over $120,000 families facing tax foreclosure in Detroit. She is the founder of the annual Detroit Kite Festival, and is board member of the United Community Housing Coalition.

Devita Davison

Devita Davison

FoodLab Detroit

Devita Davison is executive director at FoodLab Detroit, a membership-based nonprofit focused on entrepreneurs and communities who have been traditionally under-resourced that aims to build economic power and resilience by supporting locally owned food entrepreneurs. In this position since 2014, she works to cultivate, connect, and catalyze a supportive community of food entrepreneurs with the goal of creating a new food economy that acknowledges the importance of food justice, community representation, local ownership and sustainability. Davison was previously managing director of Detroit Kitchen Connect, a board member of Hopeful Harvest, and founder/owner of Southern Pantry Company. She was a 2014 TEDx Detroit speaker, 2014 UIX Urban Innovator and was named one of 100 Women to Watch in Wellness by mindbodygreen.
Richelle Delia

Richelle Delia

Housing Joint Venture

Richelle Delia, Ph.D. is Co-Founder and COO of Housing Joint Venture. Dr. Delia’s responsibilities cover financial underwriting, investment oversight and day-to-day property management for 100,000+ sqft, as well as seeking strategic partnerships to advance the mission for the company. With experience as a scientist, investor and Fulbright scholar, she brings technical expertise in building materials development and practical know-how from redeveloping over $2 million of property for her personal investment portfolio. Dr. Delia holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, and lives in Columbus OH with her husband John and their miniature goldendoodle puppy.

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas

Cooperative Energy Futures

Timothy is the co-founder and General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF), an energy efficiency and community-owned clean energy cooperative based serving members across Minnesota since 2009. CEF has financed and developed 6.9MW (~$16M) of low-income accessible community solar that is cooperatively owned and operated across urban, suburban, and rural Minnesota, offsetting the utility bills of over 700 Minnesota households for the next 25 years. Timothy is also a coconvenor of Minneapolis Energy Options (now Community Power), which has secured the nation’s first city-utility Clean Energy Partnership in Minneapolis, and supports the partnership as a member of its Energy Vision Advisory Committee, helping guide program development, policy, and capacity building for energy and climate solutions across Minneapolis and statewide. Timothy engages in national climate action and energy democracy innovation as Powershift Network member representative and as a participant in the REAMP network. Timothy also helped found Grand Aspirations, which has supported teams of youth innovators in 16 cities nationwide to create green economic opportunity for themselves and their communities through innovative energy efficiency, green industry, sustainable food, transit access, and clean energy solutions. Timothy has also been recognized as a Goldman Sachs Global Leader, a Minneapolis Global Shaper, and was a recipient of the 2009 Mario Savio Award.

Stephen Filler

Stephen Filler

Joule Community Power

Steve is Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President for Joule Community Power, a leader in Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). Steve has developed of Joule’s CCA model which enables localities to take control of their energy choices by partnering with local organizations, providing revenue to local energy projects; and implementing local energy projects such as Community Solar.

Steve creates key business relationships and negotiates agreements with energy efficiency providers, funders, utilities and municipalities. He successfully petitioned the NY Public Service Commission to implement the first CCA program in New York, and is working on a model to develop local ownership of local energy projects.

Before Joule, Steve practiced law in private practice and in-house with Clean Tech, IT, and start-up companies. He co-founded and serves on the Board of Directors of CSRHub, LLC, a web-based ratings service that evaluates the corporate social responsibility performance of nearly 5,000 companies. He also serves on the Board of Local Farms Fund, a community impact farmland investment fund that invests in local and sustainable farms in New York.

Tim Fisher

Tim Fisher

Council of Development Finance Agencies

As the Director, Government & External Affairs, Tim is focused on advancing development finance policy interests at the state and national level, as well as defending the interests of CDFA members on Capitol Hill. In addition to leading CDFA advocacy efforts, Tim authors the annual CDFA Volume Cap Report, the CDFA Federal Policy Agenda, and various CDFA white papers. Tim also coordinates CDFA research on bond finance, Opportunity Zones, and manages its relationships with federal agencies. Prior to joining CDFA, Fisher worked for the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission, where, under the direction of the Commission’s Public Policy officer, he authored reports on topics ranging from the state of Latino small business ownership in Ohio, to the cultural responsiveness of Ohio’s public institutions. Tim is currently an MBA candidate at The Ohio State University, and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio University.

Ryan Flynn

Localstake

Ryan is founder and principal at Localstake an investment platform opening private business debt and equity access for both accredited and non-accredited investors. At Localstake, Ryan performs business development, deal execution and FINOP functions.

Prior to founding Localstake, Ryan worked in investment banking at Periculum Capital Company, LLC. At Periculum, Ryan worked with management teams of small to middle market companies to assist them in raising growth capital and selling their business.

Ryan received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Psychology from Washington and Lee University. He holds the Series 7, 24, 79, and 63 securities licenses.

Rodney Foxworth

Rodney Foxworth

BALLE

A nonprofit leader and social entrepreneur, Rodney Foxworth is Executive Director of BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), a network of entrepreneurial leaders working to advance equitable economic opportunities through entrepreneurship and local business ownership in marginalized communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Previously, he was CEO and Founder of Invested Impact, a consulting firm focused on economic development, philanthropy, and social innovation, and co-founder and Strategy Advisor of Impact Hub Baltimore. Prior to founding Invested Impact, Rodney was community manager at BMe, a national network of black male leaders and entrepreneurs. Rodney has also served as program manager at Job Opportunities Task Force, a policy advocacy and workforce development organization. Additionally, he has been a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Calvert Impact Capital, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others.

Rodney is a BALLE Fellow, Next City Vanguard, and Baltimore Business Journal “40 under 40” honoree. He is featured in the Washington Post bestseller, “Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding.” Rodney serves on the board of Justice Funders and SOCAP.

Elisabeth Gerber

Elisabeth Gerber

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Elisabeth R. Gerber is the Jack L. Walker Jr. Collegiate Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy), and Research Associate at the Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. Her research focuses on urban, regional and metropolitan policy especially in the areas of: transportation and water policy; climate adaptation; and community, workforce, and economic development. Gerber is co-PI of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Communities Study. She is the author of The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence and the Promise of Direct Legislation (1999), co-author of Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy (2000), and co-editor of Voting at the Political Fault Line: California’s Experiment with the Blanket Primary (2001) and Michigan at the Millennium (2003). Recent publications include “Motivational Crowding in Sustainable Development Interventions” with Arun Agrawal and Ashwini Chhatre (APSR 2015, 109(3): 470-487) and “Spatial Dynamics of Vertical and Horizontal Intergovernmental Collaboration” with Carolyn Loh (JUA 2015, 37(3): 270-288). Gerber was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and previously served as vice-chair of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.

Arno Hesse

Arno Hesse

Slow Money Northern California & Investibule

As a co-leader and investor with Slow Money Northern California, Arno has led multiple investments in food and ag businesses. He co-founded the community capital services Credibles and Investibule.

Previously, Arno was Executive Vice President at Union Bank. He grew up in Europe and is easily distracted by new ice cream flavors and typefaces.

Oran Hesterman, PhD.

Oran Hesterman, PhD.

Fair Food Network

Oran Hesterman, PhD. is the founder and CEO of Fair Food Network (FFN), a national nonprofit advancing programs, partnerships, and policies that improve health, ignite local economies, and open opportunities for all – especially in the most underserved communities. Since 2009, FFN’s signature program, Double Up Food Bucks, has become a national model for healthy food incentives. Through Fair Food Fund, FFN’s impact investing arm, the organization invests in entrepreneurs who are strengthening communities and local economies through food.

Through writing, speaking, and leadership, Oran has helped to grow and shape sustainable agriculture and food systems work in America. His 2011 book, Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All, heralded by The New York Times as “an important, accessible book on a crucial subject” and is required reading at colleges and universities across the country. He remains a leading voice in the field partnering with policymakers, philanthropy, and diverse practitioners to make healthy food accessible and opportunity possible for all.

Carol Peppe Hewitt

Carol Peppe Hewitt

Slow Money NC

Fed up with sending her money off to make a fast buck in faraway markets, and to feed her addiction to local food and local economy, Carol created Slow Money NC in 2010, a state-wide network that helps local, sustainable farmers and local food entrepreneurs raise capital for their businesses. Carol also spear-headed the purchase of a local 73-acre farm that is now the permanent home to the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Music Festival and Community Arts Center and the 400k refinance of her local food coop.

Slow Money NC now includes over 200 lenders (including Carol and her husband Mark) who have made over 300 low-interest loans to 125 farm or local food businesses. To date that’s about 4.5 million dollars in local community investing, and the number keeps climbing each month.

In her book, Financing our Foodshed, Carol shares the compelling stories of the first two dozen Slow Money NC borrowers, and many of the generous people who loaned them money. It’s a blueprint for anyone wanting to know how to get local financing going in their own foodshed.

Carol is a small business owner, author, life-long activist, and a pioneer in the community finance space. Her straight talk about money and the moral imperative to move our investments into our local communities is both inexorable and inspiring.

Eric Horvath

Eric Horvath

Transform Finance

Eric Horvath is Program Manager for Community and Social Justice Partnerships at Transform Finance. He is passionate about mobilizing more capital to the social sector, whether that be human or financial. Through years of previous work alongside refugees, adoptees, and other marginalized communities, he has been shown time and again that the path ahead must be paved with listening, better representation, and amplification of community expertise.

Eric leads Transform Finance’s work around its local Institute for Social Justice Leaders, which has trained organizers and activists around finance for social justice in Atlanta, Phoenix, Cincinnati and Denver, as well as its 2019 Cohort: The Future of Workers is Now.

Before Transform Finance, Eric worked in philanthropy, supporting the foundation’s grantmaking and impact investing efforts. Outside of work, he is committed to participatory budgeting in his district, mentoring youth, and growing a grassroots scholarship fund at his alma mater. Eric earned his MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and is an alumnus of the Fulbright program. He calls Brooklyn home.

Bill Huston

Bill Huston

Our Crowd Rocks

Bill Huston educates entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses on how to use crowdfunding strategically to help them attain their financial, marketing, and business goals. Bill has over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, business development, and fundraising for nonprofits, small businesses, and startups. Ranked as one of the top 19 crowdfunding consultants globally by Inc. Magazine and a sought after speaker. Bill works as Business Development Consultant for the innovative and cutting edge New Legacy Reentry Corp and is the primary driver for their Project WE community economic development initiative that utilizes CIFs and Regulation Crowdfunding for capital formation.

Bill co-founded Our Crowd Rocks in 2014, a crowdfunding consulting and digital marketing company based in Louisville, Kentucky. He also serves as a board member of the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3) and CMO of the Fund for West Louisville.

Benji Jones

Benji Jones

Innovate Capital Law

Benji Jones is co-founder of Innovate Capital Law. Innovate Capital is a new law firm in Raleigh, NC which helps clients raise capital using a toolbox of evolving business practices, software, legal and financing strategies. Benji works closely with clients to develop customized strategies and in each step of the startup, growth and capital raising process. Benji and her partner, Jim Verdonik, are experienced advisors in several billion dollars of public and private capital-raising, M&A and technology license transactions for a wide range of clients from start-ups to public companies to venture capital funds. Innovate Capital Law’s tool box includes Crowdfunding, Revenue Sharing and Fintech with Coin, Tokens and other Digital Assets and Blockchain smart contracts, in addition to traditional venture capital, angel investments and private placements. Together, they have written eight books and hundreds of newspaper articles and have spoken at more than 100 conferences and seminars about business, technology and legal issues related to capital raising. Read Benji’s full bio at https://innovatecapitallaw.com/our-team/

Romy Kochan

Romy Kochan

Gingras Global Inc.

Romy is the Managing Partner of Gingras Global Inc. and Gingras Global Groups, L3C. Both companies focus on sustainability and standards for social enterprise and impact investing. Gingras Global is based in Michigan serving a local and global clientele. The Gingras Global team has consistently supported the development of strong social enterprise and impact investing reporting and standards. G2 and G3 have successful designed, launched, and now administer several impact investing funds, and help to administer impact investing transactions. Romy is a published author on impact investing and frequent guest speaker. She speaks regularly to the professional financial community through the Iron Sharpens Iron series. Her blog TheBonfiresLady continues to gather followers due to her unique perspective from the field. Romy is also the host of the popular new podcast show Bonfires of Social Enterprise which is followed in more than 90 countries. Prior to the 2011 Gingras Global launch Romy spent 23 years in the financial industry consulting both corporate clients and small start-up business owners on financial sustainability, best practices, and operational efficiency. She has a strong expertise in investment and financial planning methodologies. Romy serves as the Chairman of the Board for G1 Impact for Fiscal Sponsorship, Council of Michigan Foundations Impact Investing Committee and, Advisor for Inforum Philanthropy Next Michigan. Romy obtained a Finance degree from Northern Michigan University in 1990. She then went on to obtain a CLU designation from the American College, and a Certified Financial Planning designation from the College of Financial Planning. Romy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, Chris Kochan. She is greatly inspired by her two adult sons, Connor and Jentzen.

Jackson Koeppel

Jackson Koeppel

Soulardarity

Jackson Koeppel is Soulardarity‘s Executive Director. He grew up in Manhattan, went to college in Oberlin, OH, and woke up in West Virginia. He has been working on environmental justice issues since seeing the impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Ohio. He is working on Soulardarity because he believes that we need concrete alternatives to the fossil fuel economy that work for communities, and that the communities most negatively impacted are going to lead the creation of those alternatives.

He has received numerous accolades and acknowledgements for his work, including the Brower Youth Award 2014, the Vehicle of Change contest in 2017, and the Detroit Innovation Fellowship. In addition to his work with Soulardarity, he is a Wayne State student, member of Resource Generation, and avid collector of Hawaiian shirts.

Collin Knauss

Collin Knauss

University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

Collin Knauss recently graduated from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability with a Master of Science degree.

Growing up in the Washington DC area, Collin developed a strong passion for protecting the the natural environment, particularly from experiences on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. After graduating from Colorado College in 2013, with a degree in biology, Collin blended his interest in natural science with youth education, serving as Youth Programs Manager for the national environmental nonprofit organization, National Park Trust, where he designed and led outdoor field trips for under-resourced schools while cultivating the next generation of park stewards.

Collin’s capstone research project at University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability details comprehensive strategies for strengthening environmental stewardship and long-term community revitalization in Michigan’s most environmentally degraded coastal communities. Going forward, Collin hopes to design and lead innovative community-based public-private partnerships in under-resourced communities to promote transformative and durable growth in such areas.

Bali Kumar

Bali Kumar

Lean & Green Michigan

Bali Kumar is Chief Executive Officer of Lean & Green Michigan, where he helps develop and deploy the PACE marketplace across Michigan. He is currently a fellow with the Urban Land Institute, has been a fellow with the New Leaders Council, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Brilliant Detroit, and he is an appointee of Governor Whitmer on the Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board.

Previously, Bali served as the Executive Director of the Wayne County Land Bank Corporation, a public body specializing in restoring blighted properties and returning these properties to productive use. Bali holds a B.A. from Brown University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Terry Lewis

Terry Lewis

Center for Community-Based Enterprise

Terry Lewis is the CFO of the Center for Community-Based Enterprises (C2BE) and Principal of LIA Advisors, LLC. By Presidential Appointment, she serves as a Director of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution. Formerly, she was Vice President of Cooperative Development for the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) and President and CEO of NCB Community Works, its cooperative development subsidiary. She served as a Director, and 8 years as Chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF). She is a member of the Cooperative Hall of Fame.

Yvonne Yen Liu

Yvonne Yen Liu

BALLE

Yvonne is the Director of Fellowship and Network Engagement for BALLE. She is also the co-founder and research director of Solidarity Research Center, a worker self-directed nonprofit that advances solidarity economies for workers of color and subaltern populations. In addition, Yvonne teaches in the sociology department at California State University, Los Angeles. She serves on the boards of the US Solidarity Economy Network and Data Commons Cooperative, and the steering committee of the California Asset Building Coalition. Yvonne is the 2018 Activist-in-Residence Fellow at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.

Yvonne has over fifteen years of experience supporting racial justice and social impact organizations with quantitative and qualitative research. She is passionate about telling stories through words, images, or data to shift hearts, minds, and guts. Her writing has been featured in The Nation, Colorlines, and In These Times.

Yvonne has a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Columbia University and a M.A. in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she pursued a PhD. Although a native of New York City, she and the city have parted ways. She is based in Los Angeles, California where the sun smiles down on her every day.

Chris Miller

Chris Miller

City of Adrian, MI

Chris Miller is the lead economic and downtown developer for the City of Adrian, Michigan. He came to his position with a background in business, a career in education in private and international schools, and non-profit and government leadership work. He worked as a city commissioner and Downtown Development Authority board member, and serves in leadership positions on a number of non-profit boards.

Chris became an advocate for Community Capital through his work on Michigan’s investment crowdfunding law, the MILE Act. He led the work to establish the law after being inspired by Amy Cortese and her book, Locavesting. After passage of Michigan’s law, he was contracted by the Michigan Municipal League to bring the message of investment crowdfunding and community capital to communities all across Michigan, and he continues to work with communities and businesses anxious to activate local capital.

Chris has been a presenter at a number of conferences and workshops. Together with a group of colleagues from across the country, Chris is a founding board member of the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3), an entity dedicated to the propagation of the aggregation and investment of community capital to create economically sustainable communities of all sizes.

As a local advocate, Chris was part of the first capital raise using Michigan’s investment crowdfunding law in 2014, was involved in the creation of the first public spaces crowdfunding match program in the country, established a local business plan competition, and created an investment accelerator, where local investors meet with local entrepreneurs.

Alexandra Mills

Alexandra Mills

Port Covington Development Team

Alexandra Mills is passionate about the equitable economic development of low-income and black communities. She is an Impact Investment Associate with the Port Covington Development Team and proud former public school educator. Port Covington is one of the largest urban redevelopments in the country, and Alexandra works with her team to ensure this development meaningfully benefits the residents of Baltimore City. In partnership with schools and leaders across nonprofit and business, she develops, implements, and supports initiatives for small women and minority-owned businesses, youth education and development, and community revitalization. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Alexandra taught in Baltimore City, Washington, D.C., and Malaysia as a Fulbright Scholar. 

Melissa Milton-Pung

Melissa Milton-Pung

Michigan Municipal League

Melissa Milton-Pung is a Civic Innovation Labs program coordinator at the Michigan Municipal League. As a Federally-qualified architectural historian, her expertise is in place-based economic development initiatives, historic rehabilitation, and heritage tourism. She holds a BA in Public History from Western Michigan University and a Master of Historic Preservation from the University of Kentucky College of Architecture, where her research created the Commonwealth’s first historic property tax credit. Melissa is also adjunct faculty in Historic Preservation at Eastern Michigan University and a past president of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN).

Prior to joining the League in 2017, Melissa spent more than a decade as economic development & historic preservation project manager for Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), and worked in cultural resource consulting.

Jeremy Moore

Jeremy Moore

Spectrum Health

Jeremy’s work spans 19 years of leadership in health, philanthropy innovation, and
political action. He serves as Director, Community Health Programs & Shared Services
at Spectrum Health. Spectrum Health is a Truven Health Analytics Top 15 healthcare
system and winner of the 2017 American Hospital Association Foster G McGaw Prize
recognizing hospitals that distinguish themselves through community health efforts.
Jeremy is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported Culture of Health Leader
Fellow. He is the architect for the first Pay for Success project in Michigan and sits on
the Michigan Statewide Community Advisory Forum for Fifth Third Bank. He co-founded
Equity PAC; a local, equity-focused political action committee and is the recipient of the
2016 LINC UP Visionary Community Spirt Award and the 2018 Center for Community
Leadership Systems Thinking Award from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
Jeremy is a citizen journalist that writes on issues related to the economy and equity for
The Rapidian.

Kwaku Osei

Kwaku Osei

Cooperative Capital

Kwaku Osei is the founder of Cooperative Capital, a community-based private equity fund that enables residents to pool their money together to make promising investments within their community. He was previously an Executive Associate at Rock Ventures where he worked on special projects with Dan Gilbert and served as CEO to Project X LLC, a $1MM+ tech spinout of Rock Ventures. Prior to Rock Ventures he was at Deloitte Consulting in DC, where he focused on technology, business process reengineering, strategic change and communications for various clients.

Honing his entrepreneurial spirit, Kwaku has started 7 businesses since he was 14; he earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Honor’s College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with University Honors. He currently serves on the boards of: The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit, Community Development Advocates for Detroit (CDAD), and Bridging Communities, Inc.

John Panaccione

John Panaccione

LogicBay & INVESTInNC

John has over 18 years of experience leading teams that focus on using technology to improve corporate performance. As co-founder and CEO of LogicBay, John works with leading companies to develop and implement strategies for scaling indirect sales channels using a combination of services and technology. More recently, his company’s software product became the first platform authorized by the State of North Carolina for use by entrepreneurs and small businesses in the State to raise capital using the new investment crowdfunding law called the NC PACES Act. Prior to founding LogicBay in 2003, he held several senior positions as a sales and operational leader. John served for six years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer, mostly as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division prior to launching his business career. John also co-founded VETToCEO in 2013, a non-profit organization that offers its signature Entrepreneurship for Transitioning Warriors program. John holds a BS in Criminal Justice and an MBA with a concentration in Technology and Operations – both from Bryant University.

Amy Pearl

Amy Pearl

Seedpay

Amy Pearl is the Director of Community Development for Seedpay, a FinTech company dedicated to localizing capital through revolutionary technology. She draws on extensive experience in the education, corporate, and social sectors that informs a vision for more locally focused and equitable communities. In 2004, she founded and led the nonprofit Hatch Innovation where she helped drive local investing laws to promote community capital. She has consulted with many national, state, and government agencies, including NASAA, the SEC, and many others from Alaska to Panama. Between 2015 to 2017 she spoke on the topic of local finance, on average, once a week. She believes in focusing upstream to cause intentionally positive disruption. Her career has taken her from public television to the classroom, school district, and educational research, to managing Intel’s online education program for dozens of countries. She launched Hatch: A Community Innovation Lab in 2013, the economic engine HatchOregon in 2014, ComCap Conference in 2015, and is a founding member of the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3). She holds a B.S in Anthropology and a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Leopoldo Peña

Leopoldo Peña

The Opportunity Exchange

Leo is Head of Product at The Opportunity Exchange. The Opportunity Exchange is a national marketplace for impact-focused Opportunity Zone investing. Their software platform efficiently connects the three key Opportunity Zone actors: project sponsors, investors, and community & economic developers. For community & economic developers specifically, The Opportunity Exchange offers a platform that empowers local Opportunity Zone working groups to collaboratively aggregate, curate and showcase a portfolio of Opportunity Zone projects from their community to a national audience.

Leo’s previous experience has been centered around GovTech — most recently focused on expanding access to voting. He helped launch a mobile voting platform designed to securely cast votes in elections across the globe, allowing members of the US military to participate in general and midterm elections while serving abroad. Currently in Cleveland, Ohio, Leo holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Cornell University and is an alumni of the Venture for America Fellowship.

Xiomara Peña

Xiomara Peña

Small Business Majority

Xiomara Peña works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations across California. Her portfolio includes overseeing policy recommendations and advocacy work in California as well as managing our statewide educational initiatives around workforce, entrepreneurship, retirement, and healthcare. She also manages Small Business Majority’s national Latino small business outreach work focused on delivering quality resources for the Spanish-speaking business community. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Xiomara piloted business retention programs for the City of Los Angeles and programs geared toward empowering at-risk youth. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and campaign manager.


Her most notable accolades include a Leading the Way award and the Champion for Families award for her leadership in the Latino community. In 2016, Xiomara was recognized by the L.A. Mayor’s Office of Economic Development for her extensive work highlighting responsible lending and education on access to capital options for small businesses. She currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Women’s Mentoring Collaborative Program, is a member of California Community Colleges Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy “Small Business and Ethnic Outreach” Subcommittee and is the Chair for the El Nido Family Centers Alumni Association.

Eve Picker

Eve Picker

Small Change

Eve is the founder and CEO of Small Change, a real estate equity crowdfunding platform that raises money for meaningful real estate projects building better cities everywhere. Through Small Change, Eve has created a fluid and compliant platform that brings impact investment opportunities to everyone who cares about cities and wants to make change.

Eve’s past led her directly to Small Change. As the founder of several successful companies she has been able to test theories and bring ideas to life. Using these companies as vehicles, she developed a dozen buildings in blighted neighborhoods, launched a Pittsburgh e-zine called Pop City, and established downtown Pittsburgh’s first co-working space. She founded a non-profit called cityLAB and built Pittsburgh’s first tiny house. She also co-founded Pittsburgh’s wildly successful Open Streets program. All of these experiences have helped Eve become one of the foremost thinkers on urban change. She is recognized and sought after globally for her expertise.

Michael S. Pieciak

Michael S. Pieciak

Vermont Department of Financial Regulation

Michael S. Pieciak is commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation. He was first appointed commissioner by Gov. Peter Shumlin in July 2016 and reappointed by Gov. Phil Scott in January 2017.

Commissioner Pieciak serves as the chief regulator of Vermont’s financial services sector, including the insurance, captive insurance, banking and securities industries. Commissioner Pieciak previously served as deputy commissioner of the Department’s Securities Division. Commissioner Pieciak is President of the North American Securities Administrators Association, member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Conference of State Bank Supervisors and served on the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies.

Prior to his service with the Department, Commissioner Pieciak practiced law in New York City at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group, gaining experience in commercial transactions, corporate governance and investment and financing transactions.

Commissioner Pieciak graduated cum laude from Union College with a degree in political science. He received his law degree summa cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law where he served as editor-in-chief of the “Miami Law Review.”

Jonny Price

Jonny Price

WeFunder

Jonny is originally from the UK, where he started his career in strategy consulting with Oliver Wyman. After working in the firm’s Aviation, Retail and CPG practices, he joined the non-profit Kiva.org in 2011, as the Founder and Director of Kiva Zip, a direct, peer-to-peer lending pilot (later rebranded as Kiva U.S.). After six years leading the growth of Kiva U.S. ($25M in microloans disbursed to 5,000 small business owners in every state in America, crowdfunded by 100,000 lenders), in early 2018 Jonny joined Wefunder, a Public Benefit Corporation crowdfunding equity and debt investments in startups and small businesses up to $1M.

Jonny is Wefunder‘s Director of Business Development, and is responsible for finding great companies that are excited to use crowdfunding to gain customers and capital. Jonny serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), and the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council. He has a degree in History from the University of Cambridge, and his proudest accomplishments are to be the husband of Ali and the dad of Felicity and Carlyle.

Lamontre Randall

Lamontre Randall

The BeMore Group

Lamontre Randall is a well accomplished social construct visionary from Baltimore, Maryland. His upbringing in East Baltimore has shaped him into an innovative activist and entrepreneur with a niche for bettering low income communities. In particular, Randall mainly focuses on providing opportunities for the youth and small businesses.

Randall graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Due to his active work within the academic community, he was honored by the University of Maryland School System as its 2015 Diversity Champion and Unsung Hero. In addition to his many awards, his work in the community has been featured on The Steve Harvey Show as well as within publications such as Elite Daily, The Baltimore Sun, and The Diamondback.

Currently, he is the Co-founder of The BeMore Group, a consulting firm that is focused on providing innovative solutions for nonprofits, for profits, and government agencies in low-income communities. The firm assists these organization in becoming more efficient in bringing resources and solutions to its constituents and clients. The firm has shown and proven to be impactful in bettering these organizations and helping them be more inclusive and effective in their approach of providing solutions within the community. He was also elected as Chair of The Baltimore Police Youth Advisory Board, using his passion to assist in bridging the gap between the Baltimore City Police Department and the local community.

Randall has devoted his career towards bridging the gap between those who been given the resources to succeed and the unfortunate who have been locked out because he believes “We Are Stronger When We Strive to BeMore Together”.

Y. Elaine Rasmussen

Y. Elaine Rasmussen

Social Impact Strategies Group & ConnectUP!

Ms. Y. Elaine Rasmussen is Founder and CEO of Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG) a Black/Native-led certified B-corp social enterprise. SISG provides futurism, social impact and economic development consulting, education workshops for investors and womxn entrepreneurs, and produces the annual ConnectUP! MN Summit that promotes and grows inclusive and equitable entrepreneur ecosystems that drive positive, sustainable social impact grounded in economic justice. She currently serves on the boards of MNVest, MDI, Nexus Community Partners, Swift Foundation and the Executive Committee for the Village Financial Cooperative, the first Black-led credit union in north Minneapolis. Rasmussen is a Cordes Fellow and RSF Social Finance Integrated Capital Fellow. 

Kate Redman

Kate Redman

Commonplace & Commongrounds Cooperative

Kate Redman practices community enterprise law in northern Michigan. She founded Commonplace, a nonprofit coworking and office space in Traverse City, and Commonplace Law, which provides legal services to support the Commonplace mission of enlivening healthy, connected, and creative organizations and communities. She also serves as the project director for Commongrounds Cooperative, a community-owned real estate cooperative developing a mixed use 4-story building in Traverse City.

John Rogers

John Rogers

Albion Malleable Brewing Company

Founding partner of start-up brewery with one mission – to forge community. Dedicated to building thriving businesses that support the revitalization of Albion, MI. Focused on creating a resilient and inclusive community aligned with a vision of sustainable economic development.

Jillian Rosen

Jillian Rosen

Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

As the Vice President for Community Investment, Jillian oversees AAACF’s grantmaking programs, community initiatives, and partnerships. After earning her BA in anthropology from the University of Maryland, Jillian worked in the nonprofit sector where she had the opportunity to work on issues that she is passionate about: social justice, poverty alleviation and youth engagement in philanthropy. This initial experience in the nonprofit sector concretized her understanding of systemic injustice, which in turn fueled her desire to return to school at Brandeis University, where she received an MBA and a Masters in Professional Leadership. When her family determined to move to Ann Arbor, the Community Foundation seemed like a perfect fit given Jillian’s understanding of strategy, people, and what makes communities thrive. Jillian’s belief in an ethos of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, gives her a passionate desire to make the world a better place through philanthropy and community partnerships.

Bonnie Rukin

Bonnie Rukin

Slow Money Maine

Bonnie Rukin is the Coordinator of Slow Money Maine, a statewide network of more
than 1700 people, from all sectors and regions of Maine, who collaborate to build
healthy local food systems and thriving communities. Since 2010, the group has
connected more than 366 farmers, fishermen, and related food businesses to funding
and technical assistance. It has catalyzed more than $15mm into Maine’s food economy
through many satisfying relationships with individuals, Foundations, financial institutions
and nonprofits. Bonnie’s background includes organic farming, organizational
development, and Board governance with nonprofits focused on social change
endeavors. She lives in Camden.

Louisa Schibli

Louisa Schibli

Milk Money VT

Ms. Schibli is an experienced entrepreneur, forward thinker and creative problem solver. She’s used technology as a way to introduce new online communities and markets. Her recent role as co-founder and CEO of Milk Money Vermont, an online equity crowd-funding platform connecting all Vermonters with opportunities to invest in Vermont businesses, included not only creating the platform but also the development and education of a new market. In 2017, Milk Money won Vermont Businesses For Social Responsibility’s (VBSR) Innovation and Inspiration Award. Her recent area of focus has been in the funding ecosystem for Vermont businesses by connecting the players while educating businesses of their funding options in a centralized place.

Ms. Schibli successfully guided Milk Money through its recent acquisition by The Vermont Innovation Commons where she continues to pursue ways to grow the Community Capital movement and ways the Milk Money platform can support this effort.

Jarret Alan Schlaff

Jarret Alan Schlaff

Pingree Detroit

Jarret Alan Schlaff has lived in Detroit since 2010 and currently calls Detroit’s eastside in the Charlevoix Villages community home. He is committed to fostering neighborhood resilience and developing opportunities for sustainable, community driven job creation accessible to all. He is a maker and the Co-founder and CEO of Pingree Detroit, a worker-owned, community based design and manufacturing house founded in January 2015. In Pingree’s Detroit workshop on Woodward and Milwaukee, Detroiters and US veterans handcraft bags, urban utility footwear, and accessories using leather upcycled from the American auto industry. Jarret is committed to not only paying a living wage but reimagining what it means to wage a living.
Janice Shade

Janice Shade

Initiative for Local Capital

Janice is the founder of the Initiative for Local Capital and co-founder of Milk Money VT, an intrastate investment crowdfunding platform driving investment to local Vermont businesses. She is an entrepreneur and marketing/finance professional with 20 years’ experience in brand management, strategic planning, and financial analysis. Previously, she served as the Founder/CEO of TrueBody Products, a founding board member/Executive Director of Local First Vermont, and the CFO/VP Operations of Mamava, Inc. She currently serves on the board of the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3) and as the chair of Slow Money Vermont.

Michael Shuman

Michael Shuman

Economist, Attorney, Author, & Entrepreneur

Michael H. Shuman is an economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, and a leading visionary on community economics. He’s director of Local Economy Programs for Telesis Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing company, and currently an adjunct instructor at Bard Business School in New York City and at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He’s also a Fellow at Cutting Edge Capital and at the Post-Carbon Institute, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3). He is credited with being one of the architects of the 2012 JOBS Act and dozens of state laws overhauling securities regulation of crowdfunding.

He has authored, coauthored, or edited nine books. His most recent book is The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity. One of his previous books, The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006), received a bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006. A prolific speaker, Shuman has given an average of more than one invited talk per week, mostly to local governments and universities, for the past 30 years in nearly every U.S. state and more than a dozen countries.

Tom Stanton

Tom Stanton

National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI)

Tom Stanton is Principal Researcher, Energy and Environment, at the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI), where he has worked since fall 2010. Tom specializes in policy research for distributed energy resources, energy efficiency, renewable energy, grid modernization, and global climate change. A life-long resident of Michigan, Tom worked for Michigan’s state government for over 32 years, with 10 years at the State Energy Office and over 22 years as a member of the Michigan Public Service Commission Staff. In 2006-08, Mr. Stanton was instrumental in helping to launch the energy project financing entity known as “Michigan SavesSM” (www.michigansaves.org), a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to making energy improvements easier for all Michigan energy consumers.

Mr. Stanton earned a B.A. in Communications and M.A. in Journalism, both from Michigan State University, and an M.S. in Public Administration from Western Michigan University.

Bill Stoddart

Bill Stoddart

HomeStake Venture Partners & NorthFork Financial

Bill Stoddart is a cofounder of HomeStake Partners, a local “investment bank” that envisions a new paradigm for supporting a local economic ecosystem – one in which local companies receive capital from local investors and employ local citizens. He is also President/Founder of NorthFork Financial, a fiduciary planning and advisory firm that integrates wealth and purpose and that manages over $70mm in client assets. He is also a founder of GreenDrinks Bozeman and CeedNET, a nonprofit focused on community investment. He recently completed a 9-month Fellowship with the RSF Capital Institute, where he worked with fellow financial activists from across the country as they designed a variety of initiatives to further social justice and environmental sustainability. He has served on the Downtown Bozeman Urban Renewal District Board since 2010 and the Bozeman Public Library Foundation, Montana Wilderness School, and Headwaters Economics Boards for the past three years and recently was appointed to the Board of CibusDx, a HomeStake portfolio company. He is also active with several national impact investing groups.

Anika-Kafi Summers

Anika-Kafi Summers

Eastern Market Corporation

Anika-Kafi Summers, M. Ed, is the Entrepreneurship & Education Director for the Detroit Kitchen Connect program for Eastern Market Corporation. Assisting and educating food businesses since 2014 in Detroit and the Metro area, she has worked with new and seasoned businesses making products in licensed community kitchens. Ms. Summers has also worked to increase the number of community kitchens from three in 2014 to over ten in 2019. Anika is passionate about local food, family, and justice for all.

Neil Takemoto

Neil Takemoto

CSPM Group

Neil Takemoto is the founder of CSPM Group, a consulting firm that develops community-driven collective impact programs for catalytic development in underserved communities. CSPM stands for crowdsourced placemaking, applying crowdsourcing to planning, real estate and economic development that allows community ownership to emerge. CSPM Group has invested in crowdsourced placemaking programs in multiple downtown revitalization efforts: urban redevelopment and revitalization in Hempstead, Huntington Station, Riverside and New Rochelle, NY and a comprehensive plan in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

He is the publisher of Collective Impact Lab, a crowdsourced placemaking research site that hosts 1700 articles on crowdsourced placemaking, collective impact and catalytic development.

Neil founded the National Town Builders Association in 1997, the only business trade group of Smart Growth/New Urbanism real estate developers. Prior to that, he founded a national nonprofit educational clearinghouse for the New Urbanism field.

Lucas Turner-Owens

Lucas Turner-Owens

Boston Ujima Project

Lucas Turner-Owens serves as the Fund Manager for the Ujima Project. As the Fund Manager, he is responsible for loan packaging, underwriting, and managing Ujima’s portfolio of investments. In addition, Lucas also provides technical Assistance to entrepreneurs, connects them with business support organizations, and gives financial education to Ujima’s investor base.

Prior to joining the Project, Lucas worked as a senior analyst with Next Street Financial. In this role, he applied his background in small business development and public policy to support clients making impact investments and strategic growth decisions.

Lucas was a founding member of Youth Against Mass Incarceration and has been active in local grassroots movements in Boston in partnership with groups such as Alternatives for Community and Environment and Reclaim Roxbury. Lucas holds a BA from Wesleyan University.

Ebrahim Varachia

Ebrahim Varachia

Patronicity

Ebrahim is the President & Co-Founder of Patronicity. Based out of Detroit, he recognized a city filled with people passionate about growth, empowerment and change. He believes the cornerstone between a great idea and it coming to life is often times the funding, and started Patronicity as a civic crowdfunding platform to inspire growth and change throughout cities and towns, both urban and rural across Michigan and the country. Growing Patronicity to be more than just a civic crowdfunding platform, he has led Patronicity to change the way grants are administered and how communities come together to envision, build and create more sustainable and impactful projects meaningful to them. Being an entrepreneur coupled with his passion for sustainable community development, he enjoys learning of new initiatives happening around the country started by other entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, & activists.

Malik Yakini

Malik Yakini

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Malik Kenyatta Yakini is co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black
Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). DBCFSN operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of a co-op grocery store in Detroit’s North End. Yakini views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.

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