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JOINT STEERING COMMITTEE: Mission alignment, cross-cohort coordination, budget and fundraising oversight.

Aaron Tanaka, Center for Economic Democracy (CED)

Alexie Torres, Access Strategies Fund

Gloribell Mota, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE)

Karen Chen, Chinatown Progressive Association (CPA) 

Penn Loh, Tufts University

Trina Jackson, TSNE Missionworks

GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP: Grassroots cohort program design, movement project coordination, peer accountability, grant-making program oversight

Elena Letona, Neighbor 2 Neighbor (N2N)

Gloribell Mota, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE)

Heloisa Galvão, Brazilian Women's Group (BWG)

Luz Zambrano, Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity (CCDS)

FUNDER LEADERSHIP: Funder cohort program design, fundraising support

Aaron Tanaka, Center for Economic Democracy (CED)

Alexie Torres, Access Strategies Fund

David Moy and Mark Paley, Hyams Foundation

Sarah Christiansen and Pierre Joseph, Solidago

Seth Kirshenbaum and Kathy Lebrón, Resist


Eliza Parad, Director of Municipal Democracy, Center for Economic Democracy

eliza (at) economicdemocracy (dot) us


The Solidarity Economy Initiative (SEI) was founded in 2015 as a joint project of seven local and national philanthropic organizations. SEI launched with a 3 year pilot commitment of grants and technical assistance to leading grassroots organizations from across the state. 


Through SEI’s pooled “Solidarity Fund,” 14 grassroots organizations have received annual grants between $5,000 - $20,000, with more than $650,000 in grants disbursed to date. SEI funding has been paired with quarterly gatherings, trainings for staff and members, and technical assistance to help seed solidarity economy strategies within Massachusetts’ community organizing landscape. In addition to pooling grant dollars, SEI funders have pledged program and mission related investment commitments to help finance aligned solidarity economy enterprises like worker co-ops and community land trusts that emerge through the program. 

Between 2015 - 2018, SEI’s phase one pilot tested the need and impact of a funding and capacity building program to grow the solidarity economy in Massachusetts. Notable SEI and grantee outcomes include: 


Capacity Building Outcomes 


  • Through Solidarity Rising 101 Workshops led by Prof. Penn Loh, SEI trained 250+ grantee members, staff, and community residents in core solidarity economy theory and practices 

  • As part of SEI’s trans-local learning approach, 40+ SEI grantee leaders participated in a day long forum and exchange with Kali Akuno, director of Cooperation Jackson, from Jackson, MS

  • Partnering with Transform Finance, BALLE, Solidago Foundation and the Boston Ujima Project, SEI sponsored a 2 day impact investing training for 35 community organizers and activists 

  • Curated by Access Strategies Fund, SEI hosted annual multi-day Women of Color Healing Retreats for over 30 grantee leaders to experience healing justice practices 

  • Hosted by the Social Justice Funders Network, SEI offered an introductory workshop to solidarity economy and funding strategies to over 50 philanthropic staff and leaders  


Research and Publications


  • SEI published the report: “Solidarity Rising in Massachusetts: How Solidarity Economy Movement is Emerging in Lower-Income Communities of Color,” providing a framework for “solidarity economy movements”and offering an overview of promising initiatives across MA 

  • SEI published the report: “The Reinvest Report,” providing an overview of New England based funds and CDFI’s that invest in lower wealth communities and can absorb capital from fossil fuel and prison divestment campaigns


Sample Grantee Initiatives 


  • Alternatives for Community and Environment, Black Economic Justice Institute, City Life Vida Urbana, Matahari Women’s Worker Center are co-founders and participants of Boston Ujima Project, a democratically governed capital fund

  • City Life Vida Urbana added economic power-building to their model with the launch of a 15-unit housing trust for members experiencing foreclosure and displacement

  • Chinese Progressive Association launched the Chinatown Community Land Trust as a new anti-displacement strategy in a rapidly gentrifying community

  • Neighbor 2 Neighbor helps lead discussions to integrate solidarity economy demands into political platforms and electoral work

  • Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity (CCDS) has developed a 32-hour workshop on cooperatives principles in Spanish, and is launching immigrant-led worker cooperatives in East Boston

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