The Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City (CEANYC) strengthens and expands community-led, democratically-controlled initiatives — from worker, financial and consumer co-ops to community land trusts and gardens, mutual housing, and low-income housing co-ops. Our goal is to build an economy based on values of social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, cooperation, mutualism, and democracy.
The growing discontent with income inequality and the oppression and misrepresentation of marginalized people is compelling people to consider alternatives to the current winner-take-all paradigm. The movement, paired with the emergence of new technology creates a unique opportunity for CEANYC.
Leveraging digital tools to collect data, corral volunteers, and organize cross-sector programs, CEANYC is able to unite co-ops under a single banner. In the short term, they learn from one another, empower one another, and amplify each others’ impact. In the long-term, they unite to form a political voice and demand systemic change.
Alicia Portada is the Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union. With over 13 years of experience in credit unions, Alicia has successfully led initiatives and campaigns to connect credit unions with communities in NYC to provide affordable financial services, financial workshops, and actively spread good banking practices and financial rights. AmeriCorps alumni and former financial counselor, Alicia’s work on outreach and engagement is concentrated in the underserved and immigrant communities. Alicia is the co-Chair of New immigrant Community Empowerment that provides resources to recent immigrants to empower them to navigate the U.S system. Alicia, who is originally from Peru, holds a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College
Anne Schoeneborn is a co-founder and co-coordinator of Q Gardens, a community garden in Flatbush, Brooklyn. From 2015-2021, Anne served on the board of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, where she led the design and implementation of numerous grant-funded projects to strength BQLT’s network of 37 community gardens. Since joining the CEANYC board in 2018, she has felt honored to collaborate with CEANYC board and staff to envision new ways of strengthening connections among solidarity economy sectors in NYC. She brings her experience in organizational development to her current role as chair of CEANYC’s Labor Committee. Anne’s paid work is in public health and she believes deeply in the power of community gardens to bring neighbors together, improve mental and physical health, and increase community resilience.
Athena Bernkopf is a cross-pollinator tending to the intersecting roots of black and queer liberation, and land, housing, and healing justice. Raised in Bed-Stuy, their work as organizer and facilitator has taken them across New York City in roles such as cop watch and community safety trainer with Harlem Cop Watch, tenant rights and anti-displacement advocate at the Legal Aid Society, and core member of The Audre Lorde Project’s 3rd Space Wellness Collective. Currently they serve as Project Director at the East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT), where they work to build out infrastructure for community ownership and tenant-led governance of land and housing. Athena represents EHEBCLT on the coordinating committee of the New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI). They are also a member of the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives’ (NYCNOWC) Training Collective, where they facilitate popular education-based learning spaces that deepen capacity for sustainable, consensus-focused coop structures. Driven by a vision of cityscapes abundant in ancient trees taller and more common than skyscrapers, they are committed to co-creating urban futures whose foundations are rooted in mutual care, collective stewardship of resources, and being in right relationship with land.
Charlotte Bell hails from Northeastern Pennsylvania and has lived in New York City since 2008. She is the Director of Post Purchase and Preservation at Habitat for Humanity NYC, as well as the Loan Officer for the Habitat for Humanity NYC Community Fund. Prior to joining the team at Habitat NYC in 2016, Charlotte worked in co-op preservation at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). She is also an urban gardener and a member of Red Shed Community Garden in East Williamsburg. Charlotte is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, and holds a master’s of science from The New School in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management.
Fran Sanhueza came to NYC to attend The New School in 2013 from Santiago, Chile. She majored in Food Studies, focusing on food policy and social justice. She’s always had a strong interest in food, community, and understanding systems. She took a job at the Bushwick Food Coop as Community Outreach & Engagement Manager and now as General Manager, where she has learned more and more about Cooperativism and the Solidarity Economy. Outside of her cooperative work, she has had the privilege of being a research and writer assistant for the EXPO Milano 2015: USA Pavilion; a UNICEF Volunteer for an HIV/AIDS workshop at the World Jamboree in 2007; and many other projects. On her days off she participates in two community gardens and serves on two different Advisory Boards in the Bushwick community. Through all her experiences she has found she is the most engaged while working with teams focused on strengthening community bonds and working towards social justice.
Rania Dalloul is Palestinian-Lebanese, raised in Kuwait and currently based in New York City. She is the director of communication and fundraising at UHAB, a nonprofit that advocates for and creates community-controlled affordable housing. Her background is in urban research and practice, particularly around education, poverty, and housing among Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. She holds an MA in Theories of Urban Practice from the New School Parsons School of Design Strategies in NYC and BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Concordia University in Montréal, QC.
Sadé Swift is a queer Black Dominican who has been organizing for 10+ years. They were born and raised in Washington Heights and now reside in the Bronx. They are a worker owner and co-founder of two worker-owned cooperative businesses, Cards by De, a stationery cooperative and Rebellious Root, a consulting cooperative working towards justice and social change through training, curriculum design and intentional conversations. Sade is also the Advocacy Council Coordinator for the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives (NYCNOWC) and has served as NYCNOWC’s board treasurer as well as a member of its HR and Auditing Committees. They believe that a big part of the worker coop sector’s recent development has been deepening its understanding of the cooperative ecosystem and through growing base building and partnerships. They are currently on the US Solidarity Economy Network (USSEN) board and are a member of their Communications Committee.
Ali Issa (General Coordinator) For over a decade he has taken part in a variety of fights for social justice and has worked to connect the dots across issues. He previously worked with War Resisters League, organizing against police militarization and helping build cross-community coalitions in cities around the country, in addition to building solidarity with movements in Iraq and across the Middle East. He has also worked with the Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project, organizing alongside vendors fighting for their rights in all five boroughs. Most recently, Ali worked with New Economy Project as lead organizer with the Public Bank NYC coalition, pushing to make public money work for the public good. Originally from Iowa, Ali holds a Master’s degree in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of the book Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq. Ali is a committed fan of improvised music and lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
maría alex garcía (Membership and Programs Coordinator) is Geography PhD candidate at Rutgers University and an Andean feminist critical geographer and educator. She writes about anti-capitalist feminist solidarity economics. Her work focuses on the ways that transnational migrations change landscapes and speculates about openings for economic autonomy, internationalist, anti imperialist solidarity and care. Her work weaves the transnational space between NY and Ecuador and within the peripheries of New York city’s internal Global South. Her foundational experiences and lessons about building solidarity economy were born from the successful struggles against the US Free Trade agreement in Quito, Ecuador (1999-2000) where she migrated from to the U.S two decades ago. This is the foundation of her practice, community work and research within her immigrant communities in Queens, New York.
She is one of the co-founders of Caracol Language Cooperative and is a co- creator of Comité de mujeres feministas EcuaYork and is a participant of Centro Corona’s community work and education programs where she contributes with thinking, theory, language interpretation, programs, writing and political education curriculum.
Lauren Hudson (Peer Educator) Lauren Taylor Hudson (PhD candidate in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center) is an urban geographer who writes about anti-capitalist organizing among women in New York City. Her dissertation research focuses on how collective work between women changes the urban landscape, ultimately creating a sense of ‘movement space’ for Solidarity Economy practitioners. Lauren is a collective member of SolidarityNYC, a volunteer collective that works to connect, support and promote NYC’s solidarity economy through mapping, community-based research and public education. She is also a Cooperative Economic Alliance of NYC (CEANYC) co-founder, and has created and facilitated workshops, trainings, and gatherings for cooperative leaders since 2016.
Zara Serabian-Arthur (Peer Educator) is a founding member of Meerkat Media, a filmmaking collective and worker cooperative formed in 2005. In her work with Meerkat Media, she produces, directs and edits films in collaboration with non-profits and movement organizations, also taking a leadership role in the group’s facilitation, strategic planning, and educational projects. She is also a member of SolidarityNYC, a volunteer collective that works to connect, support and promote NYC’s solidarity economy through mapping, community-based research and public education. Zara is passionate about the worker cooperative movement, and the interconnected projects of building local solidarity economies and fighting for broader social justice goals.
Lida Shao (Peer Educator) is an educator with over a decade of experience in youth development and food democracy. Currently a collective member and owner at Our House, an owned housing cooperative in Brooklyn, she is also a first year medical student. When not studying, lida is working the land–growing vegetables, raising chickens, keeping bees, composting organics, collecting rainwater, and building a mini-farm in the city. She is proud to be a martial artist, a foodie with interest in raw foods, a winter bicyclist, and a multi-lingual New Yorker. Raised in a politically active family, she continues the tradition with an especial interest in prison abolition and ending sexual violence in our lifetime.
Jim Johnson (Peer Educator) has been in small business for over 40 years, over 20 of which were working with and for worker, food, and other types of co-ops. He spent ten years at a DC-area worker co-op as a software engineer and worker-owner, serving three years as president. Since 2009, Jim has been a full-time freelance co-op developer, specializing in worker co-ops and the converting conventional businesses to worker-ownership. Jim serves the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives’s (USFWC) Co-op Clinic as a Peer Advisor, actively providing technical assistance to worker co-ops, start-ups, and conversions. He’s also a co-founder of the Democracy At Work Network (www.dawn.coop), the technical assistance service of the USFWC from 2011 thru 2018. Between 2015 and 2019, he served as a staff consultant at KDC Cooperative Solutions, a federally-funded non-profit that has been supporting co-op start-up and development since 1999. Jim is a graduate of the CooperationWorks! Training for Cooperative Development Practitioners, and served several years in the CooperationWorks! leadership as Chair of CW’s Networking Circle. He’s also a member of the Grassroots Economic Organizing media collective, which has been chronicling the worker co-op and solidarity economics movements in the US and around the world for over thirty years. He’s also currently a sustaining member of the USFWC.
Griffen Jeffries (Peer Educator) is a facilitator and somatic practitioner who brings deep listening and integrity to all aspects of the work he does. Griffen draws on diverse facilitation and somatic training to partner with individuals and organizations in transformational processes. He offers a variety of group facilitation, with a particular focus on Theater of the Oppressed and other body-based practices. His facilitation experience includes trainings and processes uprooting white supremacy and patriarchy, working with a wide range of communities (youth, trans, multi-racial), and facilitating internal organizational development processes. His focus is on facilitating processes that catalyze change at personal, interpersonal, and systemic levels. He arrived at this work through his own healing journey including ongoing re-connection to body. He brings his experiences and identifies as a queer and trans person of European descent and works to be accountable and in authentic solidarity towards liberation and healing for all – individually and collectively.
Jess Turner (Peer Educator): see Board of Directors
Raina Kennedy (Peer Educator): is a board member and peer educator with the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City (CEANYC). She is also an organizer for the Central Brooklyn Food Co-op, a worker-owner at Brooklyn Packers, and a member of the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives’ Advocacy Council.
As a CEANYC Peer Educator, she has co-facilitated a workshop on anti-racism and anti-oppression with several New York City food co-ops. Outside of co-op work, she enjoys cooking elaborate recipes and attempting to grow tomatoes! In May 2019, she completed a Master’s degree in Food Studies at New York University, where she focused on policy, advocacy, and community food systems.
Emilie Miyauchi (Peer Educator) is an educator and organizer working for the prosperity of solidarity economy enterprises in New York City and beyond. She helped to establish CEANYC in its early years of operation while serving on its board of directors and is now happily settled into her role as a Peer Educator in which she draws on direct experience organizing with CEANYC members to cook up education and training materials that support their groups to advance their visions of success.
Emilie designs programs to meet sector specific needs such as the Anti-racism and Gentrification Training for Food Co-ops and the GreenThumb Leadership Academy for community gardeners. With the Cooperative Leadership Intensive, she works with leaders from across all sectors of CEANYC’s membership to learn about each other, understand their inter-dependence, and ultimately break down sectoral silos to pursue a coherent strategy toward growing solidarity economy at the municipal level.
Emilie is also the member coordinator of the New Economy Coalition’s Educators Working Group which provides peer-support to a network of solidarity economy educators and links local work to national organizing strategies. She has always been deeply drawn to creative practice and stewardship of the commons and spent her early years in the arts, operating small farm businesses in the Hudson Valley, and teaching marine ecologies and economies onboard a wooden sailboat while traversing the eastern seaboard.
Cheyenna Layne Weber is a writer and organizer who elevates the needs of people and the planet over profit. For 20 years she has worked with social justice, environmental, and community organizations in every capacity from volunteer to executive director. In addition to her role as a co-founder and advisor to CEANYC, she is a co-founder and member of SolidarityNYC, where she led the creation of the first online interactive map of New York City’s solidarity economy, and an Associate Member of the editorial collective Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO). Previously she spearheaded the creation of the New Economy Coalition while executive director of the New Economy Network, served on the Board of Directors at Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, and helped start five worker cooperatives from Occupy Wall Street’s tenure in downtown Manhattan.
Clifford N. Rosenthal served from 1980-2012 as CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (now, Inclusiv). He drafted the original concept paper calling for a CDFI fund and served in the leadership of the CDFI Coalition for two decades. From 2012-2014, he launched and managed the Office of Financial Empowerment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Trained as an historian, he is the author of Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement (FriesenPress). The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco published his study, Credit Unions, Community Development Finance, and the Great Recession. Cliff has served as visiting scholar at The New School and Brooklyn College. He has received the highest awards of the National Credit Union Foundation, the Opportunity Finance Network, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, among others. In 2019, he was inducted into the African-American Credit Union Hall of Fame.