Ted Howard is the founding Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. Howard directs the Collaborative's partnership with The Cleveland Foundation on the Evergreen Cooperative Business Initiative, a path-breaking strategy to create green jobs and wealth for low-income families in six of the city's underserved neighborhoods.
For the past three decades, Howard has worked in the not-for-profit/civil society sector, including more than 15 years in international development with NGOs and agencies of the UN system. Most recently, he was the Executive Director of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives, a research and policy institute.
Howard served for nine years as Chairman of the Board of Search for Common Ground, the world's largest conflict resolution NGO. He also serves on the board of LIFT, a national organization dedicated to engaging college students and youth in combating poverty in our nation's urban areas.
Gar Alperovitz is Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political-Economy at the University of Maryland and a founding Principal of The Democracy Collaborative. He is a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University, of the Institute of Politics at Harvard, of the Institute for Policy Studies, and a Guest Scholar of the Brookings Institution. His most recent book (co-authored with Lew Daly) is Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back, www.unjustdeserts.com (New Press, 2008). Alperovitz is also author of America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and our Democracy, www.americabeyondcapitalism.com (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). He is also author (with Jeff Faux) of Rebuilding America (Pantheon) and co-author (with Thad Williamson and David Imbroscio) of Making a Place for Community (Routledge, 2002). Well-known works in other areas include: The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (Knopf) and Atomic Diplomacy (Simon & Schuster). Alperovitz received his Ph.D. in Political Economy as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University, a Masters Degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin. Previously he was a Legislative Director in the U.S. House of Representatives (with Rep. Robert Kastenmeier of Wisconsin) and the U.S. Senate (with Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin), and a Special Assistant concerned with United Nations issues in the Department of State.
Steve Dubb is Research Director of The Democracy Collaborative and has worked for the Collaborative since 2004. Dubb is the principal author of Linking Colleges to Communities: Engaging the University for Community Development (2007) andBuilding Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems, which was published by The Aspen Institute in 2005. Previously, he was Executive Director of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), a U.S. and Canadian nonprofit association that provides education and technical assistance to university and community-based housing and retail cooperatives. For much of the past two decades, he has worked in various positions in the cooperative or civil society sector. Dubb received his Masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego. He received his Bachelor's in Economics (with honors) and Spanish from the University of California, Berkeley.
Thomas M. Hanna has been a research assistant with the Democracy Collaborative since 2010 and is working on a project with Gar Alperovitz to develop a successor book to America Beyond Capitalism. Hanna previously interned with the Dictionary of Virginia Biography project at the Library of Virginia and worked as a research assistant on an oral history project concerning the life of former Virginia Governor and Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder. He is the author of a biography pending publication in volume four of the Dictionary of Virginia Biography, as well as several other articles and reports. He received his M.A. and B.A. degrees in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Benzamin Yi has been a Research Assistant with the Democracy Collaborative since May 2011 and is working on a project with Gar Alperovitz to develop a successor book to America Beyond Capitalism. Prior to working with the Collaborative, Yi has worked with the Earth Day Network as a Special Projects Coordinator working with local communities to encourage the growth of a green economy through Earth Day. Yi is the author of "A Fair Distribution of Economic Costs in Global Warming" published in the California Undergraduate Philosophy Review (2010). Yi received his B.A. degree in Philosophy while minoring in Political Science and Environmental Analysis and Design from the University of California, Irvine.
John Duda started working for the Democracy Collaborative as Communications Coordinator in 2011. He holds a B.A. in lingustics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's degree in logic from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and is currently finishing the last stages of a PhD at Johns Hopkins examining the genealogy of the idea of "self-organization" in politics and the sciences. He is also a founding collective member at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse, where he was one of the core organizers of the 2009 City From Below conference, and has worked extensively as a digital media activist supporting a variety of grassroots independent media projects.
Joining the Democracy Collaborative in December 2011, Rhonda Lewis 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. Lewis 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. She is currently pursuing a degree in Health Care Administration, and looks to address health care disparities and education outside of her work for the Democracy Collaborative.
In her spare time, Lewis owns a small, cosmetics/health and beauty sales business; serves as part-time secretary and Children's Church ministry Director for her church; sings in the church choir, is a grandparent reader for her grandson's classroom; a volunteer community health advocate in Lorain County, and enjoys card making, scrap booking, gardening, sewing, cooking and family time. Originally from Oberlin, Ohio, Lewis is also a mother of four and grandmother of two.
David Zuckerman joined the Democracy Collaborative as a Research Associate in the beginning of 2012. As a researcher, his work primarily focuses on community development strategies that build wealth in low-income communities. He also assists with the Democracy Collaborative's effort to adapt the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, or "The Cleveland Model," to other cities in the country. Zuckerman received both his Master of Public Policy and B.A. degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Keane Bhatt is the Community Development Associate at the Democracy Collaborative. He is an experienced activist and organizer, having worked both in the U.S. and in Latin America on a variety of campaigns and projects related to community development and social justice. His analysis and opinions have appeared in a range of outlets, including The Nation, NPR, St. Petersburg Times, the Providence Journal, CNN En Español, Pacifica Radio, and Truthout.
Joe Guinan is a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Next System Project at the Democracy Collaborative. Having first worked with Gar Alperovitz and the Democracy Collaborative ten years ago, he recently returned to help design, launch and implement the Collaborative's new work on alternative system design. With a decade of experience in international economics, trade policy, global agriculture, and food security, he has been a frequently cited expert on globalization and economic development in major news media, including the New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, BBC News, and Al-Jazeera.
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. He was a founding member of the Foundation Working Group on Food and Agriculture Policy and has served on the steering committee of the Global Trade and Financial Architecture Program of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). Born in England with dual Irish and British citizenship, he grew up in British labor movement circles and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford.