WE ARE MORE THAN STAFF - WE'RE A COLLECTIVE!
DANIELLE LEBLANC - CO-OP DEVELOPER
Danielle LeBlanc is invested in promoting financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and community development. Currently, she consults with small businesses, start-ups and nonprofits on such matters as marketing and proposal development. She worked at the microfinance nonprofit, Grameen America for 4 years as a fundraiser and project manager. Danielle’s first encounter with microfinance was when she did an analysis of microfinance provision in the Philippines for Catholic Relief Services. At LISC, Ms. LeBlanc provided capital loans to nonprofit organizations. She also managed a grant program for capacity building and capital projects while at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
Ms. LeBlanc has a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She is a 2010 Leadership Newark Fellow. Danielle was deployed as a Red Cross volunteer to Gulfport, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and served as a volunteer disaster responder for four years.
You can reach Danielle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ILEIA BURGOS - OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Ileia Burgos is a Bronx resident continuing the efforts to have a solidarity economy within the borough, where residents control and create their own wealth in a network of cooperatives.
Ileia began as an education organizer focused on issues affecting young folks in Bronx schools, then joined climate justice campaigns led by residents of a Sandy affected neighborhood in the Rockaways in Queens. Her efforts for economic justice in the Bronx has been motivated by the growing displacement of decades long residents targeted by greedy landlords & developers.
Ileia has been leading organizing workshops and political education with groups fighting for justice on environmental, climate, economic, and gender front-lines across the country. Currently, Ileia organizes as a member of a coalition fighting to protect small businesses on Kingsbridge Road from being harassed and displaced by their landlords.
Ileia began as a hip hop head, nerding out about the histories of the 'hood, and becoming a photographer and visual artist, documenting her life in the Hunt's Point and Mott Haven sections of the South Bronx.
You can reach Ileia at (718) 617 - 7807 ext. 704, email@example.com
LUCRETIA JOHN - DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
My name is Lucretia John and I am the descendant of warriors and heroes.
I am dedicated to working across difference to build community for racial and gender justice, healing, and transformation. This life work has been actualized through community organizing, grantmaking, resource sharing (via institutional and individual giving), food justice, and connecting to and implementing strategies for long-term individual, communal, and ecological sustainability. As a Project manager trained as a farm manager, I have convened spaces for QTPOC and POC farmers, foodies, and food justice workers for visibility and relationship building. The daughter of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, my vision is deeply rooted in seeking out and sharing stories of migration, land, and agriculture. With a long connection to seeding new growths and harvesting the results over time, my interests and experiences weave together seamlessly. A longtime science nerd and community organizer, I initially came to urban farming for my own healing and self-care. Along the way, I discovered not only renewal and restoration but also the ways that nature speaks to the cycles of relationships in life.
In addition, I hold a BA in Psychology (with a double minor in Mathematics and American Literature) from Manhattanville College and is a graduate of Farm School NYC.
You can reach Lucretia at firstname.lastname@example.org
MELAT SEYOUM - ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR
You can reach Melat at email@example.com.
OMAR FREILLA - FOUNDER, COORDINATOR
Omar Freilla has a knack for blazing trails and a passion for community self-determination; personal transformation; and creating solutions to social injustice. He is the founder of Green Worker Cooperatives and creator of the academy model of cooperative development.
Omar has over 13 years of experience in cooperative & green business development with an equal number of years as an organizer challenging environmental racism, classism, and sexism.
• He was a founding board member of both Sustainable South Bronx and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and founding advisory board member of the Democracy At Work Institute and the Story of Stuff Project.
• He co-curated the NYC portion of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a project of the Guggenheim Museum.
• His writings have appeared in numerous books, blogs, and articles and he has been featured in several documentaries, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental documentary “The 11th Hour”.
• Omar has received numerous awards for his work, including the Rockefeller Foundation’s Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism and inclusion in various “Power 100” lists published by magazines such as Ebony, Essence, and The Root.
• He holds a Masters degree in Environmental Science from Miami University of Ohio and a B.S. from Morehouse College where he also founded the organization Black Men for the Eradication of Sexism.
Omar enjoys making things grow as a loving father, husband and gardener - inspiration for his latest project, co-founding The Bronx Unschool School - the Bronx's soon-to-be first democratic free school and parent-teacher cooperative.
You can reach Omar at (718) 617 - 7807 ext. 700, firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAYBBLIN VARGAS - ADVOCACY COORDINATOR
Raybblin Vargas has a strong background organizing in grassroots, nonprofits and labor. As a grassroots organizer, she has worked on local and national social justice campaigns that include immigration, education, and criminal justice reform.
Her nonprofit work includes grant writing, research and policy analysis, and capacity building. As a union organizer, she has led legislative and political campaigns for 1199 SEIU/Healthcare Education Project and TWU Local 100.
Currently she is the President of the 600 West 161st. Street Tenants Association, as they struggle in a multi-year legal and community fight for safer living conditions in their building and community. When the people are united, they cannot be defeated.
She is a graduate of the Green Worker Co-op Academy and has launched Bits and Bites Tech Café in 2015. Currently, she serves on the Board of Green Worker Cooperative, and is the Co-op Academy Communication Coordinator, while she and her team work on growing Bits and Bites Tech Café.
SADE SWIFT - COMMUNICATIONS & EVENTS COORDINATOR
Sade is a Afro-Dominican activist, community organizer and freedom fighter. She was born and raised in Washington Heights and now resides in the South Bronx.
A graduate of The New School, she founded the Generation Citizen New School chapter and seminar class entitled "Becoming Generation Citizen", which trains college students to work with middle school and high school students to find solutions for community issues. She has received many awards for her social justice work on and off campus. One that she is particularly proud about is the Gural Scholars Scholarship that has allowed her to travel to Colombia twice to work with Afro-Colombian communities around the Peace Process, displacement, and ancestral land preservation. In the fall of 2016, she became the youngest campaign manager for a U.S. Vice Presidential candidate which is one of her greatest accomplishments.
Sade spends a lot of time organizing and facilitating workshops around issues such as gentrification, racial justice, women inequalities within institutions , microaggressions in universities, gun violence, and mass incarceration, just to name a new. She was involved with Sadie Nash since the summer of 2011, participating in six programs and as a mentor for two programs. Sade was also a member of Girls Write Now and served on the Youth Board for four years. She is proud to serve and contribute to the lives of black and brown folks and continuously creates the spaces to do so.
Sade recently began sharing her craft 'Cards by De' as her labor of love to the world, creating handmade cards to express gratitude for all occasions. For her creating in this way is how she heals.
You can reach Sade at email@example.com.
YSANET BATISTA - CO-OP ACADEMY CO FACILITATOR
Ysanet Batista is a queer Afro-Dominican chef, farmer, community organizer, writer, and educator born in NYC and raised in between the Dominican Republic and Florida.
She graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI and spent a couple of years working in major hotel companies before transitioning to community-based work.
Today, she lives and works in NYC as the chef and worker-owner of Woke Foods, a women-owned cooperative that taps into the healing traditions of Dominican food. Ysanet is currently earning a certificate in Urban Agriculture at Farm School NYC.
You can reach Ysanet at firstname.lastname@example.org.