Fueling Frontline Change
The New Economy Coalition’s Movement Support Program is one of the organization’s longest-running and established efforts. Since 2013, the program has provided resources and support for over 90 projects led by youth and frontline organizations doing transformative work away from the extractive economy and towards more just, democratic, and sustainable economies.
Our Movement Support process is driven by the belief that youth and frontline groups-- those most impacted by the dominant economy-- are doing some of the most imaginative, creative work happening in the solidarity economy sphere. Unfortunately, these vital projects are often left either underfunded or completely unfunded because their leaders lack access to traditional funding streams. It is for this reason that NEC prioritizes directly resourcing youth and frontline leadership with holistic support and small grants of $500 to $5000.
We also believe that these projects are stronger together. Our grantees have a tremendous amount of knowledge to offer to not just one another, but the new economy movement at large. Our work with grantees grounds NEC in the needs, successes, and challenges of communities working towards a new economy while we also work to strategize and envision at a movement-wide level. Therefore, we are dedicated to weaving our grantees’ movement work with each other and the broader NEC membership through relationship-building, shared movement spaces, and storytelling.
History of NEC’s Movement Support Program
- The program launched in 2013, by supporting new economy conferences and gatherings on campuses across the country. In addition to grant funding, NEC staff traveled to every event to offer hands-on support to student organizing efforts.
- In 2014, we disbursed $55,000 to young people imagining and building a new economy, both on campuses and in community organizations. We made twice the number of grants as we did in 2013, supporting more than 30 projects, campaigns, and convenings across the US and Canada.
- In 2015, we regranted a total of $50,000. Additionally, we expanded the “Youth and Student” umbrella and solicited grant proposals from organizations on the frontlines of the extractive economy and community-led solutions, an area that shares considerable overlap with our range of current grantees. Supporting emergent new economic practice and movements is central to our work as an organization, and we are excited to continue funding projects at the cutting edge of building an economy that works for everyone.
- In 2016, we gave grants to 14 organizations, ranging from broad national networks to organizations deeply rooted in their locality. We continued to support both youth and frontline organizations. We supported new initiatives focused on rural and international solidarity organizing, as well as continuing to resource returning grantees.
- In 2017-2018, we transitioned leadership and decision-making to a committee of past grantees and active NEC members. We practiced democratic decision-making over the regranting budget and allocated $44,000 over the course of two rounds of grant-making.
- In 2019, we expanded the program to be called NEC Movement Support, with a broader focus on leveraging the resources of NEC's 200 organization network in service of building the new economy movement. We allocated $40,000 to 28 youth and frontline community groups.
- In 2020, thanks to 98 donors in the midst of COVID-19, we raised an additional $30,000 for NEC’s Movement Support Fund, for a total of $70,000. We were able to redistribute fourteen $5,000 grants to solidarity economy organizers. Learn more about our most recent grantees here.
Our Grant-making Process
In years past, grant recipients were determined by the NEC staff. Beginning in 2017, grantees will be chosen by a seven member committee comprised of former grantees, coalition members, and NEC board members. This shift in structure is a reflection of NEC’s commitment to democratic decision-making and centering youth and frontline voices.
The goals of the youth and frontline grantmaking committee include:
- Supporting organizations, projects, and collaborations that advance visionary alternatives to the extractive economy (this includes but is not limited to cooperatives, land-trusts, participatory budgeting, community-owned renewable energy, liberatory culture, etc.)
- Supporting (new economy) organizers and organizations who have historically been significantly under-resourced
- Especially youth, students, and marginalized communities
- Supporting organizing work that seeds new collaborations and connectivity
- Supporting mentorship and political education of young and emerging organizers
- Supporting storytelling
- Practicing democratic governance of regranting resources
- Building engagement with the NEC network
Current Committee Members
Tawana "Honeycomb" Petty is a mother, social justice organizer, youth advocate, poet and author. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and is intricately involved in anti-racism organizing, water rights advocacy, and digital justice work. Petty is the author of Introducing Honeycomb, Coming Out My Box, the Petty Propolis Reader: My Personal and Political Evolution and Towards Humanity: Shifting the Culture of Anti-Racism Organizing. Learn more about Honeycomb at honeycombthepoet.org
Ratih Sutrisno is a native of Saint Paul, MN, where she grew up deeply rooted in her family’s Indonesian culture. Having spent the majority of her life focused on issues of environmental and social justice, Ratih is passionate about the efforts underway to build a cooperative movement that puts people and communities over profits. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of Minnesota where she was a member of The Students’ Cooperative in Minneapolis. Ratih lives in Chicago, IL where you can usually find her playing ultimate or cooking brunch for her housing co-op.
Nicolle Teresa Ramos: I arrive from the archipielago of Puerto Rico. We are at this moment in a huge struggle for our sovereignty, our resources, schools, health, agriculture, and our economy. I am a puertorican single mom, organizer, worker, community doula, and many other things. An interdisciplinary being helping anyway she can in our many simultaneous struggles. She is co-director of Univeridad Sin Fronteras and student of Caribbean Literature and Politics.
Dany Sigwalt is really into organizing—both people and files—to build movements and grow capacity for people fighting for justice. She comes to the Power Shift Network with more than a decade's experience working with nonprofits and grassroots campaigns. A native Washingtonian, she is committed to building the skills needed to promote progressive social change among District residents—and by extension throughout the country. Dany serves on the board of Empower DC, a grassroots organization that works to support self-advocacy of low to moderate income DC residents. In her free time, Dany can often be found busy concocting baked creations in the kitchen, exploring the area's bike trails, and enjoying weekly family dinner with her extended family.
Umeme Houston, a creative visionary, textile artist, and entrepreneur, was born, raised, and currently resides in St. Louis, MO. She is deeply rooted in creating systemic change in her community through art and a new economy practice. Umeme has earned degrees in accounting and general transfer studies. She has been trained by Highlander Economics and Governance and University of Missouri Extension Neighborhood Leadership Academy.
Hnin Hnin brings to CoFED over 12 years of experience in social justice, solidarity economy, and collective liberation work. Their approach to cooperative development is informed by the ancestors, mother earth, and a multidisciplinary analysis that forefronts race, class, and gender. They are called to heal, love, and educate for social change. They live in the "yes, and", within the questions, and in between the no longer and the not yet. Before CoFED, Hnin worked with World Learning as a human rights educator and with Slow Food USA and ROC United building power to transform the food system. They hold a BA in Political Economy, with a concentration in International Studies, from Williams College. They were born in Burma and raised in Brooklyn, with ancestral roots tracing back to Toisan, China. They currently live in Queens with their two cats, Spring and Summer.
I am Mitchell D. Pearson, founder of PHI GLOBAL LLC, my community is North St. Louis, and North East S. Louis County. My work is to partner with other grass roots organizations, and youth groups, in the Urban Farming, seed-to-table movement. Our end game is to open Urban Farms schools, and have neighborhood based, locally grown produce, Farmers' Markets. We work with a seed-to-table Chef by the name of Robert Rusan, we work with Tillie's Corner, and A Red Circle. We also work in the Riverview school district, and in a N. St. Louis elementary school to teach organic gardening. Our mission statement; "End poverty, promote health and wellness
Past Committee Members
Janaé E. Bonsu is a Black Queer Feminist activist-scholar and organizer based in Chicago. She is Co-Director of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), a national member-led organization of 18 to 35-year-old abolitionist freedom fighters organizing through a Black Queer Feminist lens. Janaé has played key leadership roles in BYP100’s anti-criminalization and police accountability campaigns, and co-authored the organization’s policy platforms, the Agenda to Keep Us Safe and the Agenda to Build Black Futures. Janaé is also a third-year Ph.D. student at Jane Addams College of Social Work, where her research focuses on Black women, state violence, and alternatives to state intervention.
Harper Bishop has nearly a decade’s worth of experience in training
grassroots leaders, advocating for progressive policies, and organizing for economic and social justice in his hometown, most recently as the Economic Climate and Justice Coordinator for Open Buffalo. In this position he has worked with residents of Buffalo’s Fruit Belt, a historically African-American/Black neighborhood, to establish the first community land trust in the region. He has also organized against gentrification and the displacement of communities of color, working class, and low-income folks at the city level. Bishop is a co-coordinator of the Crossroads Collective, a collaboration of 10 organizations working to build a just transition from an
extractive to regenerative economy.
Jamie Trinkle is the Senior Campaign and Research Coordinator at Enlace. Jamie founded the PDX Divest Coalition and successfully led the coalition to ultimately win divestment from all corporations, as well as a socially responsible investing policy that includes people of color as decision makers and human rights impact investment criteria. She has published numerous organizing toolkits with Enlace, including university toolkits that helped students at Columbia and University of California win prison divestment. Jamie began working against abusive prison conditions and for the targets of our criminal justice system while clerking as a law student. Jamie has a diverse background in law, community and student organizing, grassroots project development, tracking dirty money in the environmental sector, and as a domestic worker.
Julia Ho is the founder of Solidarity Economy St. Louis, a network of groups and individuals building an economy based on the values of justice, sustainability, self-determination, and cooperation. She is currently working to incubate Black worker cooperatives, advocate for food justice, build mutual aid networks, and promote community development of vacant land.
Andrew Campbell is an organizer with Cooperation Jackson, based in Jackson, MS. Cooperation Jackson is organizing to advance the development of economic democracy in Jackson, Mississippi by building a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and other types of worker-owned and democratically self-managed enterprises. Andrew has a background in sustainable food systems and farming and is a worker-owner with Freedom Farms Cooperative.
Movement Support Stories
The Build Black Futures Advocacy Day was led by BYP100, an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds. Members of BYP100 met with 25 Republican and Democratic Congressional offices to ask for legislation to defund policing and prisons and invest in Black communities. The day was an opportunity for young Black activists to hone their advocacy skills and form relationships with members of Congress: building a foundation for fundamental policy shifts necessary for a future where all Black people thrive.
The Working World Peer Program was started to propagate the model of non-extractive ﬁnance to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the climate crisis in order to build a new, people-centered economy. In 2015 the program was successfully launched, held its ﬁrst summer convening, and created a nationwide peer group to begin practicing and sharing work in communities across the country.
The Center for Economic Democracy’s Solidarity Economy Initiative (SEI) will be launching a broad set of popular education trainings to engage the members, staﬀ, and boards of grassroots groups in gaining ﬂuency with new economy frameworks. With support from SEI, cohort members will play anchor roles in the Boston Community Land Trust Network, the Boston Ujima (Community Finance) Project, and the Mass Jobs Not Jails Campaign. SEI will also host an inquiry on the formation of a Movement Training Center, a “Highlander for New England.” SEI held a collaborative process between funders and organizations doing new economy work in the ﬁeld that has opened opportunities to build new infrastructure to connect grassroots organizing to new economy strategies
A rural logging and fishing community, with industry in decline, Grays Harbor County can feel isolated and forgotten by the rest of the world. When the timber economy collapsed, the region was left with very few jobs and little hope. But many of the people didn’t leave. We stayed. In a place where 46% of us are on public assistance and 1 out of 25 are homeless, we have weathered every storm since, and have taken care of each other when no one else would.
No one knows better how to revive this county than the people who have struggled most in Grays Harbor. We are people living on the streets, people who gave our lives to the timber industry, people who are dealing with addiction, people who have seen time in jail. We are the lifeblood of this community.
In Whatcom County, in northern Washington state, Community to Community Development (C2C) organizes and builds community for food sovereignty and economic justice. Their work centers the leadership of women, farmworker communities, and others who have been forced to the margins of our economy. Raices Culturales (“Cultural Roots”) is C2C’s youth program that began as a support space for children whose families were impacted by immigration raids in 2006 and 2009. This mentorship project supports local youth of farmworker and low-income families in exploring and celebrating their cultural identities and farmworker legacies. Youth engage in peer conversations about racial identity and practical lessons in agroecology and environmental stewardship. They learn to grow their own food and transform it into traditional dishes inspired by their identities and histories. The program culminates with public farm-to-table dinner celebrations that “model how the multicultural ‘tapestry of difference’ can be a strength to both the community and economic development of Whatcom County if we are able to embrace it as a people.”