May 20, 2015

Jonathan Rosenthal Joins NEC as its Executive Director

Jonathan Rosenthal speaking at a podium

Eli Feghali (Communications Director), eli [at]

Boston, MA — The New Economy Coalition (NEC) is excited to welcome Jonathan Rosenthal as the organization’s new Executive Director. Jonathan has spent the last 35 years as a leader in the fair trade movement, working to transform destructive aspects of business into a positive force for people and the planet. He co-founded and led Equal Exchange, a pioneering worker-owned fair trade company (and NEC member), as well as Oké USA, the first fair trade banana company in the United States.

“The board of directors is thrilled to bring Jonathan’s facilitative management and visionary thinking to NEC, where he will join a talented staff, whose leadership has kept this organization moving forward through the transition,” said Aaron Tanaka, NEC Board Co-chair. “Together with Jonathan, NEC is in a strong position to support the movement for a just, sustainable, and democratic economy.”

Jonathan’s impressive career in fair trade has been guided by attempts to bring anti-oppression analysis into the movement’s discourse and practice. As he noted at NEC’s Annual Meeting last week, “The fair trade movement is still skating on the surface, and a key part of what’s holding us back is that we haven’t gone deeper in grappling with basic issues around power and identity. We are struggling to acknowledge our colonial legacy and the role it plays in our movement.”

For Jonathan, NEC offers an opportunity to work at a systems level, with a diverse network of over 100 organizations that are imagining and building a new economy that meets human needs, enhances the quality of life, and allows us to live in harmony with the rest of nature.

“It’s an honor to join NEC’s staff, board, and member organizations in supporting and strengthening the new economy movement,” said Jonathan. “This is a moment where more and more people are awakening to the interconnectedness of our struggles, and opening to solutions that fundamentally transform our economy, culture, and politics.”

“NEC is poised at the intersection of ‘small is beautiful,’ macroeconomics, and social justice. It’s bringing a holistic vision of what’s possible, and constructing bridges across sectors and movements to build people power with a reverence for mother earth. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Last week, Jonathan attended NEC’s 2nd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, where he saw the network in action and had some valuable face-to-face time with NEC members and grantees. He will officially settle into his new role starting in early June. Farhad Ebrahimi will be returning to his position as an NEC board member, after serving eight months as NEC’s Interim Director.

Jonathan lives in the Boston area with his wife, Ora Grodsky, and has two daughters.