Skip to:

Our team

Ted Howard

President & Co-Founder

Ted Howard is the Co-founder and President of The Democracy Collaborative. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Economic Alternatives.

In July 2010, Ted was appointed the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation, a position he held for four years. Working with the Foundation, he was a member of a team that developed the comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

Ted lectures frequently about community wealth building, most recently at the Clinton Global Initiative-America, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Co-operatives United World Conference (Manchester, England), various regional Federal Reserve Banks, as well as at universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, MIT, Georgetown, Oberlin, Michigan State and the Ohio State University.

Gar Alperovitz

Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative and Co-Chair, Next System Project

Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as a historian, political economist, activist, writer, and government official. For fifteen years, he was the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, and is a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; the Institute for Policy Studies; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Gar is the author of critically acclaimed books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy. As a well known policy expert, he has testified before numerous Congressional committees and lectures widely around the country.

Among his many achievements is having been the architect of the first modern steel industry attempt at worker ownership in Youngstown, Ohio.  In addition, Gar was nominated to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers by leading national consumer, labor, and environmental organizations.

Marjorie Kelly

Executive Vice President & Senior Fellow

Marjorie Kelly is the Senior Fellow and Executive Vice President of The Democracy Collaborative, a non-profit research organization founded in 2000. Marjorie is lead author of the new report, “A New Anchor Mission for a New Century: Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth,” which profiles an “Innovative 30” community foundations pursuing impact investing and economic development strategies. The report was recently featured in Stanford Social Innovative Review, Forbes, and elsewhere. Marjorie is also a consultant with the current “Community Foundation Circle,” a peer learning project for 14 foundations interested in adopting impact investing strategies. 

Marjorie is Project Director of The Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, a year-long collaboration spearheaded by The Democracy Collaborative and supported by the Northwest Area Foundation. She is also an Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute, a 35- year old nonprofit research organization based in Boston. Marjorie advises private businesses on ownership and capital design for social mission. Marjorie is also on the Advisory Board of Boston Public Bank Working Group. Additionally, she is on the National Board of Advisors for CUNY School of Law's Community Economic Development Clinic.

Read more about Marjorie Kelly...

Ronnie Galvin

Vice President of Engaged Practice

Ronnie Galvin has committed his life’s work to community building, community organizing, and social change.  Most recently he worked at the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC where he served as Sr. Advisor on the Center’s Reinvestment Team, with a focus on building grassroots and national power that can amplify a demand for massive reinvestments in Black communities that have been traumatized by the American political economy.  Ronnie was specifically tasked with organizing Black faith leaders, theological thinkers, and spiritual practitioners to help shape moral imagination and inspire movement building energy in support of the Reinvestment Team’s work. 

Prior to his work at CCC Ronnie served as the Executive Director for Impact Silver Spring—a non-profit focused on building  neighborhood based networks that advance collective well-being and community and economic development.  Earlier in his career Ronnie also served as Senior Community Builder with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s place-based team in Atlanta, Georgia.  In this role he worked to build mutually beneficial partnerships and capacity building projects to support family strengthening and community development efforts.

Joe Guinan

Executive Director, Next System Project & Senior Fellow

Joe Guinan is a Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative and Executive Director of the Next System Project. Having first worked with Gar Alperovitz and The Democracy Collaborative ten years earlier, he returned in 2012 to help design, launch and implement the Collaborative’s work on alternative political-economic systems. A former journalist, he was previously a program director at the Aspen Institute and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and has served as a consultant to the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. Read more about Joe Guinan...

Valerie Piper

Vice President of Special Projects

Valerie Piper is the Vice President of Special Projects at The Democracy Collaborative, where she oversees and provides strategic coherence and direction to TDC's community wealth building projects and services across the country, including direct consulting and advisory services with cities and institutions, cohort learning and engagement with anchor institutions, practitioner resources and toolkits, and advancing and documenting best practices in community wealth building programs. 

From 2011 to 2017, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she led the development and launch of President Obama’s Promise Zones Initiative, a cross-agency and cross-sector effort to accelerate place-based inclusive economic and community development, as well as leading the creation of new interagency initiatives like the Small Contractor Initiative, the Rural Community Capital Initiatives, and the Community Development Marketplace.

Gus Speth

Distinguished Fellow & Co-Chair, Next System Project

James Gustave "Gus" Speth joined the faculty of the Vermont Law School as Professor of Law in 2010. In addition to his position as Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative, he is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. In 2009 he completed his decade-long tenure as Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, Gus was Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Read more about Gus Speth...

Felipe Barroso

Senior Associate

Felipe Barroso joined The Democracy Collaborative’s Healthcare Engagement team on January 2018. As a Senior Associate, Felipe helps hospitals and health systems leverage their business practices, such as hiring, purchasing, and investment, to support inclusive, sustainable communities through their participation in the Healthcare Anchor Network. The network represents $150 billion in investment assets, $50 billion in annual purchasing power, and over 1 million employees across 30+ leading health systems across the U.S.

Read more about Felipe Barroso...

Johanna Bozuwa

Research Associate
Johanna joins the Democracy Collaborative as a Research Associate. Her research focuses on transitioning from the extractive, fossil fuel economy and building towards resilient and equitable communities based on energy democracy.
Read more about Johanna Bozuwa...

Dana Brown

Deputy Director, The Next System Project

Dana comes to the Democracy Collaborative with 15 years of experience in community organizing, project management and human rights advocacy. She has worked throughout the US, Latin America and the Middle East supporting communities organized in resistance to neoliberal economic reforms, imperialism and structural violence. 

She joined the Democracy Collaborative in 2015 for the launch of the Next System Teach-Ins drawing on her experience with the Democracy Teach-Ins of the 90s and other popular education efforts related to the peace and social justice movements she has participated in for the last two decades.

Read more about Dana Brown...

John Duda

Director of Communications

John Duda started working for the Democracy Collaborative as Communications Coordinator in 2011.  He holds a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's degree in Logic from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and a PhD in Intellectual History from Johns Hopkins University, where his dissertation examined the genealogy of the idea of "self-organization" in politics and the sciences. Read more about John Duda...

Danny Fisher-Bruns

Senior Associate, Advisory Services
Danny is a facilitator, educator, and organizational change leader. As a Senior Associate for Advisory Services, he has the great pleasure of working with communities across the country to unlock solutions to challenging and deeply rooted systemic challenges. 
Prior to joining The Democracy Collaborative, Danny worked with Seattle Children's Hospital, as a Sustainability Fellow and later as a consultant, to build the foundations of inclusive, place-based pu Read more about Danny Fisher-Bruns...

Will Flagle

Research Associate

Will Flagle first worked with the Democracy Collaborative in the summer of 2015 as a Junior Research Fellow conducting research on regionalism in the United States before returning as a Research Assistant in 2016. He received a B.A. in political science from Grinnell College and a master of public affairs from the University of Texas, at Austin. Academically, Will has enjoyed researching movements for shorter hours, guaranteed annual income proposals, worker cooperatives, and the Solidarity Economy. Read more about Will Flagle...

Martin Freeman

Senior Associate, Healthcare Engagement

In the Engaged Practice Division; Martin manages relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders including senior leaders of executive, corporate, and nonprofit institutions.  

Currently, Martin provides strategic support to the Healthcare Anchor Network--a network representing $150 billion in investment assets, $50 billion in annual purchasing power, and over 1 million employees across 30+ leading health systems across the United States. Read more about Martin Freeman...

Peter Gowan

Policy Associate

Peter Gowan joined the Democracy Collaborative in June 2018 and now works as a Policy Associate. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin with a dual-major BA in History and Political Science, and recently completed an M.A. in Political Communications at Dublin City University.

Read more about Peter Gowan...

Jarrid Green

Senior Research Associate

Jarrid Green joined the Democracy Collaborative as Research Associate in March 2016 after three years at the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), a national public policy strategy organization based in New York that aims to dismantle structural racial inequity.  At CSI, Jarrid provided research, policy analysis, advocacy, partnerships and administrative support across CSI’s programs. Jarrid also authored two case studies profiling cooperative ownership in the sustainable energy sector including a profile on the worker-owned solar installation company, Namaste Solar, and a profile on the mult Read more about Jarrid Green...

Thomas Hanna

Director of Research

Thomas M. Hanna joined The Democracy Collaborative in 2010 as a research assistant to Gar Alperovitz and became Research Director in 2015. He received his M.A. and B.A. degrees in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Read more about Thomas Hanna...

Talia Jaffe

Program Associate, Advisory Services
Talia Jaffe joined the Democracy Collaborative Advisory Services team in August 2018, where she works with communities across the country to find creative solutions to system-level inequities. Talia comes to TDC from the University of Rochester where she graduated in May 2018 with a BA in religion and anthropology, as well as a Certificate in stage management. There she explored the ritualization of social justice in the Reform Jewish Movement through the lense of collective memory and inherited trauma. Read more about Talia Jaffe...

Jackline Kamazima

Office Administrator

Jackline Kamazima joined the Democracy Collaborative as an Office Administrator for the D.C. office in September 2017. Prior to she was a Case Manager for the Urban League of Westchester County, Inc. and an Executive Secretary for the New York Tanzanian Community, Inc. (NYTC), where she also served as a board member. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Social Justice Studies from Miami University of Oxford, Ohio.

Read more about Jackline Kamazima...

Edward Kamonjoh

Director, 2° Lending Network

Edward Kamonjoh is the Director of the 2° Lending Network. Prior to that Edward served as Executive Director for the 50/50 Climate Resource Project, as well as the head of U.S. Strategic Research and Analysis at ISS. Edward previously headed ISS’ ESG Research team and was a member of ISS’ Global Policy Setting Board. 
Read more about Edward Kamonjoh ...

Erin Kesler

Senior Communications Associate

Erin Kesler works to promote the Democracy Collaborative's work as a Senior Communications Associate. Before joining our staff, she managed press outreach for the Center for Progressive Reform, a network of over 50 progressive legal scholars expert in the regulatory process. Erin worked with the scholars to educate the public about threats to environmental, public health and worker health and safety standards and edited the organization's blog. Read more about Erin Kesler...

Rhonda Coleman

Manager, Administration, Accounting and HR

Joining the Democracy Collaborative in December 2011, Rhonda Coleman serves as Operations Director and Executive Assistant to Ted Howard. Before her time here, she spent 15 years in administration with the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and more recently, two years as a health program coordinator/director with the Lorain County Urban League. Rhonda has a long history with various, local non-profit organizations including serving on the boards of the Lorain County Community Action Agency, the Oberlin Race Relations Committee, Parents for Public Schools and others. Read more about Rhonda Coleman...

Sarah McKinley

Manager, Community Development Programs & Next System Project, European Representative

Sarah McKinley is Manager of Community Development Programs for The Democracy Collaborative and the European Representative for the Next System Project, working out of her home-office in Brussels, Belgium.  

She manages the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, a multi-year initiative supported by the Northwest Area Foundation, assisting five organizations in Indian Country to create social enterprises and employee-owned companies. She co-authored Cities Building Community Wealth, The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs, and Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment.

Katie Parker

Senior Research Associate

Katie Parker joined The Democracy Collaborative in 2014 and works as a Senior Research Associate. Her work has focused on how hospitals and health systems can leverage their business practices, such as hiring, purchasing, and investment, to support inclusive economic development. She is co-author of the Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities toolkit series and conducts research on promising practices in the field of anchor institution strategies. Read more about Katie Parker...

Bich Ha Pham

Senior Communications Associate

Bich Ha Pham is a policy, advocacy, and communications professional with experience in developing and executing strategic advocacy and communications plans that generated significant press coverage, awareness, and policy change for lower-income individuals and communities.

Bich Ha is a Senior Communications Associate with the Democracy Collaborative, where she works on communications and advocacy for various initiatives including the Healthcare Anchor Network. Bich Ha previously worked on a number of exciting projects, including the path-breaking campaign that resulted in New York City support for worker cooperatives, as well as the community wealth building policy work at the NYC Public Advocate's office as Director of Policy. Bich Ha’s previous roles also included being the Executive Director of the Hunger Action Network of NYS and the Policy Director at FPWA. 

Isaiah J. Poole

Editorial Manager, The Next System Project

Isaiah J. Poole joined the Democracy Collaborative in 2018 as editorial manager for The Next System Project. He was previously communications director for People’s Action and for the Campaign for America’s Future, where his responsibilities included serving as editor for the organization’s website and blog,

Justine Porter

Manager of Advisory Services

Justine Porter is a social enterprise operations professional with experience in creating and implementing social programs and a passion for finding systems-level solutions to inequality through community building and resident engagement. Read more about Justine Porter...

Jessica (Bonanno) Rose

Chief Financial Officer & Director, Employee Ownership Programs

Jessica Rose is a national employee ownership business strategist, who focuses on the unique role of capital to drive scale. She advises cities, grant-makers, and investors on cutting-edge models to expand economic opportunity through employee ownership and is deeply involved in the research and development of innovative, on-the ground employee-owned business development and financing models.   Read more about Jessica (Bonanno) Rose...

Sonia Sarkar

Consultant, Healthcare Engagement Team

Sonia Sarkar joined the Democracy Collaborative as Consultant to the Healthcare Engagement Team in May 2018. She most recently served as Chief Policy and Engagement Officer for the Baltimore City Health Department, overseeing multi-stakeholder community engagement, strategic planning, policy activities, and population health initiatives to address health inequity throughout the City. Previously, she was Director of Provider Solutions at AVIA, a health system-led innovation accelerator, where she worked directly with hospital executive leadership to identify and incentivize innovations in patient care. 

Adam Simpson

Program Associate, The Next System Project

Adam Simpson joined The Democracy Collaborative as a Program Associate with the Next System Project in October 2016. He has a Master’s Degree in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo, where he focused on understanding authoritarian institutions and popular movements. Read more about Adam Simpson...

Carla Skandier

Research Associate, Next System Project

Carla Skandier joined The Democracy Collaborative as a Research Associate with the Next System Project in October 2015 having completed a LLM (Master of Laws)'s degree in Energy from Vermont Law School in 2015. She has a background in international environmental law, climate change, renewable energy and sustainable development, particularly in developing countries as Brazil and China. Read more about Carla Skandier...

Emily Sladek

Manager for Higher Education Engagement

Emily joined the Democracy Collaborative in November 2015. She leads the Collaborative's higher education programming and manages the Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort program. In 2018 she formed a strategic partnership with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, known as the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative that includes over 30 public and private universities and colleges from across North America.

Sarah Stranahan

Senior Editorial Associate

Sarah Stranahan has dedicated her career to community organizing, democracy reform, social change philanthropy, and mission-driven finance and investing. As a long time board member of the Needmor Fund, she helped design and oversee grant program in support of community organizing and an integrated mission related investment program.  Read more about Sarah Stranahan...

De'Sean Weber

Program Associate, Advisory Services

De'Sean Weber is a Program Associate with Advisory Services. Leveraging his background in community organizing, racial equity, and anthropology, De’Sean supports ongoing place-based community wealth building projects. Prior to working at the Democracy Collaborative, De'Sean was as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow at the Congressional Hunger Center, where he worked at the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services and Prosperity Now in Washington, D.C. to create equitable economic system change responsive to community needs. Read more about De'Sean Weber...

Lauren Worth

Program Associate, Healthcare Engagement

Lauren Worth joined the Democracy Collaborative in May of 2017 as Program Associate, Healthcare Engagement team, where she works with hospitals and health systems to improve community well-being by building inclusive and sustainable local economies. Read more about Lauren Worth...

David Zuckerman

Director, Healthcare Engagement

David Zuckerman joined The Democracy Collaborative team in 2012 and serves as Director for Healthcare Engagement. David leads the coordination of the Healthcare Anchor Network—a health system-led collaboration focused on improving community health and well-being by building inclusive and sustainable local economies. The Network includes more than 25 health systems to date. Read more about David Zuckerman...