Cooperative Works: Original Projects from the 2020 Forefront Fellows

This collection of original projects developed by the Urban Design Forum’s Forefront Fellows addresses how climate investment can spur an equitable economic recovery in New York City. Through Cooperative Works, our Fellows explored how to develop innovative financing for green cooperatives, build community power through hyper-local networks, and scale green entrepreneurship.

In the Fall 2020, in partnership with the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE, Fellows investigated how to create economic opportunity for MWBEs and employee-owned businesses through climate investment, leveraging Local Law 97. Their report presented landscape analysis and ten actionable proposals to advance these goals. In Winter and Spring 2021, Fellows explored broader approaches to building a just, green economy in New York City. We are pleased to showcase their projects, research, and resources here.

Our aim in presenting this work is to energize further efforts to support minority-owned businesses and workers of color, expand worker cooperatives, and democratize economic resources. We hope you will share your ideas with us.

Projects ↓

Cooperative Business Roundtable
Ricardo Carrillo, Jen Grosso, Jonathan Lane, Tiera Mack, Cara Michell, Kate Seldon, Addison Vawters, Annie White

Fellows created a website that demystifies both cooperatives and finance and connects mission-aligned capital providers and cooperatives to co-create financial products, specific to the needs of coops.

Rooted Resiliency
Jhordan Channer, Andrew Harris, William Hsu, Sheila Lin, Stefanie Loomis, Priya Mulgaonkar, Shachi Pandey, Alexandra Paty-Diaz, Ebony Wiggins

Fellows explored ways to build community power through connected hyper-local networks.

Compost Works
Polina Bakhteiarov, Matthew Khinda, Darina Mayfield, Neil Muir, Aden Munassar, Karen Narefsky

Fellows, along with Compost Power’s Domingo Morales, built capacity at Compost Power via four work streams: hiring, training, marketing and communications, and partnership building.