Financing A New Economy

This panel seeks to highlight and examine a variety of exciting strategies that are being employed to re-imagine finance and to re-direct capital toward democratic, equitable, and ecologically regenerative development.

Kwabena Kenneth Edusei (moderator) is a graduate of Brooklyn College. He holds degrees in Business Management and Finance and Philosophy Honors. He has worked organizing participatory budgeting in the Brooklyn’s 45th City Council District and has been a member of SolidarityNYC since 2012 where he has helped with accounting, project implementation, communications, and outreach.

Steve Wong is a loan-agent with The Working World, a non-profit organization that provides investment capital and technical support for worker cooperatives using an innovative finance model.  He graduated with bachelors degrees in Global Economics and Community Studies at UC Santa Cruz. His introduction to the cooperative movement began while working at Hotel B.A.U.E.N., a recovered, democratic worker-owned hotel in Buenos Aires. In 2011, Steve founded Open Movements with Diego Ruarte of Hotel BAUEN to help coordinate educational programs based on the democratic worker-cooperatives in Argentina. After meeting the Working World team in Buenos Aires, Steve joined The Working World during the launch of the New York office and is now a full-time loan agent.

Rose Espinola is a national organizer for the Responsible Endowments Coalition.  She began organizing around endowment issues as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. She successfully organized for her university to end investment in the hotel-management company HEI Hotels & Resorts. Beginning her first year of college, Rose also organized with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, founding the ally group Philly Fair Food and being part of Burger King, Trader Joe’s, and Aramark victories. Rose is from the South Florida suburbs/swamplands and identifies as xicana. She is a proud MEChA alumna and has also been involved in School of Americas Watch, Alta Gracia, and the Workers Rights Consortium. Rose has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, living, learning, and organizing as an ally to sibling movements.  Rose is especially interested in collective liberation, corporate campaigns, and movement messaging. Some of her other favorite things include long walks, raw veganism, and (non-raw vegan) ice cream.

Deyanira Del Río, is the co-director of the New Economy Project (formerly The Neighborhood Development Advocacy Project).  She leads the NYC Immigrant Financial Justice Network, a coalition that promotes immigrants' economic rights and financial inclusion, and she recently designed and launched the NYC DREAMer Loan Fund.  Dey has testified at legislative hearings, trained community groups and financial institutions throughout the country, and led campaigns to eliminate discriminatory barriers that immigrants face in the financial services system.  Dey serves as board chair of the Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union, board vice-chair of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, and a board member of New Immigrant Community Empowerment.   She is a Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Thought Leader with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, and a past fellow with the Revson Fellows Program on the Future of the City of New York and the Coro Immigrant Civic Leadership Program.  In 2009, she received the Mujeres Destacadas (Outstanding Women) award from El Diario/La Prensa.

Leah Jeannesdaughter Klerr has a passion for shifting our entire paradigm away from the current dominator/colonial/imperial model toward a cooperative/interconnected/sustainable model that continues to find new and interesting expressions. Her latest adventures include helping to organize the Public Banking Conference 2013: Funding the New Economy serving as New Economy Outreach Organizer for the Public Banking Coalition, a newly launched initiative of the Public Banking Institute; joining the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy Class of 2014; and earning a certificate in Permaculture Design. Other adventures include many points of engagement with the local non-profit world in Philadelphia, using her MA in Counseling to work with foster children, serving as a Black Rock City Ranger, domestic and international travel adventures, creating interactive art installations, and a deep, abiding commitment to spiritual practice. Leah currently lives and works at a small yoga and meditation training center in Santa Rosa, CA.