Ted Howard

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.  Howard was appointed the Cleveland Foundation's first Steven A. Minter Fellow for Social Justice, a position he held from 2010 to 2014.

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

Gar Alperovitz is Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political-Economy at the University of Maryland and a founding Principal of The Democracy Collaborative, and, with Gus Speth, a co-chair of the Next System Project. 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 books are What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution (Chelsea Green, 2013) and (co-authored with Lew Daly) Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back (New Press, 2008). Alperovitz is also author of America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and our Democracy (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

Steve Dubb is Research Director of The Democracy Collaborative and has worked for the Collaborative since 2004. At the Democracy Collaborative, Dubb has led the development of the web-based information portal and has been lead author or co-author of a number of publications including Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems (Aspen, 2005), Linking Colleges to Communities: Engaging the University for Community Development (2007), Growing a Green Economy for All: From Green Jobs to Green Ownership (2010) and The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads (2012). With Ted Howard, Dubb has also worked on the development of community wealth building strategies in a number of cities, including Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Washington, DC. Previously, Dubb 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. Dubb received his Masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and his Bachelor's in Economics (with honors) and Spanish from the University of California, Berkeley.

Marjorie Kelly 

Marjorie Kelly is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Advisory Services at the Democracy Collaborative. She is author of Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, released in 2012 by Berrett-Koehler, where she takes a journey across the U.S. and Europe in search of alternative ownership designs that embody a new kind of generative economy.  Kelly was co-founder and for 20 years president of Business Ethics magazine, best known for its listing of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. Her first book, The Divine Right of Capital, was named by Library Journal as one of the 10 Best Business Books of the Year, was translated into three languages, and was named to the best-seller list of publisher Berrett-Koehler.  

Previous to joining the Collaborative, she was a Fellow at the Tellus Institute in Boston, where she lead a variety of consulting and research projects in community development, impact investing, and corporate responsibility.  Kelly has been a lead consultant for the Ford Foundation project Wealth Creation in Rural Communities, a multi-year initiative to articulate and test a new community asset-based approach to rural development, called WealthWorks. For this initiative, Kelly authored the report “Keeping Wealth Local: Shared Ownership and Wealth Control for Rural Communities,” and  co-led a team of consultants in a project called “Accelerating Impact,” assisting eight grantee projects in Appalachia and the Deep South in assessing their readiness to launch independent enterprises, connect to corporate demand, and attract impact capital.  Kelly co-founded Corporation 20/20 (, a multi-stakeholder initiative to envision and advocate enterprise and financial designs that integrate social, environmental, and financial aims. Over five years, this project brought together hundreds of thought leaders from business, finance, labor, government, law, and civil society for meetings, research, and two national conferences. 

To find more about her see  

Gus Speth 

James Gustave "Gus" Speth is a Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative and a co-chair with Gar Alperovitz of the Next System Project.  He joined the faculty at Vermont Law School in 2010. A Distinguished Senior Fellow with Demos, he completed his decade-long tenure in 2009 as dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. From 1993 to 1999, he was administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the U.N. Development Group. Prior to his service at the U.N., he was founder and president of the World Resources Institute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality in the Carter administration; and senior attorney and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Throughout his career, Speth has provided leadership and entrepreneurial initiatives to many task forces and committees whose roles have been to combat environmental degradation, including the President's Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment. Among his awards are the National Wildlife Federation's Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America's Barbara Swain Award of Honor, a 1997 Special Recognition Award from the Society for International Development, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Environmental Law Institute and the League of Conservation Voters, and the Blue Planet Prize. He holds honorary degrees from Clark University, College of the Atlantic, Vermont Law School, Middlebury College, and the University of South Carolina. He is the author, co-author or editor of six books, including the award-winning The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability and Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment.

Thomas M. Hanna

Thomas M. Hanna is Senior Research Associate with The Democracy Collaborative. Hanna’s areas of expertise include public ownership, nationalization, privatization, and banking, among others. He has published articles in popular and academic journals including The Nation, Truthout, The Neoprogressive, and The Good Society as well as providing research support for numerous articles that have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Alternet, Dissent, The Review of Social Economy, Solutions, and The Ecologist. Hanna assisted on the Collaborative’s contribution to a report for the United Nations 2012 Rio+20 Conference and worked closely with Gar Alperovitz on his recent book What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution.  He received his M.A. and B.A. degrees in History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Benzamin Yi

Benzamin Yi is a Communication Associate and has been with the Democracy Collaborative since May 2011. Prior to working with the Collaborative, he 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. He is the author of "A Fair Distribution of Economic Costs in Global Warming" published in the California Undergraduate Philosophy Review (2010). He 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

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 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.  He is also a founding collective member at Red Emma's, a worker-owned cooperative bookstore and coffeehouse in Baltimore, and has worked extensively as a digital media activist supporting a variety of grassroots independent media projects.

Rhonda Lewis

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

David Zuckerman joined the Democracy Collaborative as a Research Associate in the beginning of 2012.  Zuckerman is the author of Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission. As a researcher, his work primarily focuses on community development strategies that build wealth in low-income communities, with a specific focus on how hospitals and health systems can better support their surrounding communities . He has also assisted with multiple feasibility studies of anchor-led economic development projects and also serves as principal editor of the newsletter. 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

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

Joe Guinan is a Senior Fellow and Executive 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.


Sarah McKinley

Sarah McKinley is a research associate for The Democracy Collaborative. She has a background in community development and has worked with a number of community groups, including the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, a Chicago-based community development corporation, and the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations. While earning her master degree in urban and regional planning at Cornell University, McKinley was a co-author of “A People’s Plan for New Orleans” a bottom-up community development plan for the 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. In her spare time, McKinley, an avid food lover, is the Co-Chair of Slow Food DC, the local chapter of an international organization that promotes a good, clean, and fair food system.