Press Releases

National Business Alliance Names 2013 BALLE Local Economy Fellows

15 December 2012
BALLE’s unique approach to economic development offers local solutions

Bellingham, Washington – BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) today announced its second cohort of BALLE Local Economy Fellows, the only Fellowship of its kind in North America, dedicated solely to advancing the local economies movement. Selected Fellows convene communities of businesses around a shared vision. Fellows are leaders at the forefront of rebuilding communities from the ground up through creative economic development strategies that enhance the staying power of locally owned businesses, and through emerging sustainable innovations in manufacturing, finance and food. BALLE Local Economy Fellows participate in an intense, close-knit and rigorous 18-month leadership immersion program that strengthens their capacity for transformative change in their communities.

The new group of BALLE Local Economy Fellows were selected through referrals and support from some of the most respected and well-known organizations in the field: NoVo Foundation, Ashoka, New World Foundation, Rising Tide Capital, Rutgers Social Innovation Institute, Social Venture Network and Surdna Foundation.  The sixteen new Fellows are localizing food systems, reversing long term unemployment trends, and transitioning the workforce toward new economy jobs in communities from Detroit to Oakland to Appalachia.

BALLE’s Local Economy Fellowship began in 2011 and is dedicated to building local economies from within – investing in the people and businesses rooted right where they are – and has seen profound, lasting outcomes within just a few years.

“Creating real jobs and rebuilding local economies requires working on multiple fronts,” said Michelle Long, executive director of BALLE.  “Expanding local ownership, spreading effective ideas and models, connecting entrepreneurs to values-aligned financing, and connecting businesses with each other to leverage their collective strength is at the heart of our Fellows’ work.”

An approach to economic development that fosters local business ownership and sustainability isn’t new, and thankfully it’s becoming more main stream every day. From Economic Development Quarterly to Harvard Business Review, traditional economic voices are certifying that communities with a higher density and diversity of local, independently owned businesses have more wealth, jobs, and resiliency. The BALLE Local Economy Fellowship’s vision is not without grandiose expectations:  the aim is nothing less than a new economy, one that is built on fairness, cooperation, and sustainability.

BALLE Fellows aren’t waiting for big government or big business to step in and fix all that ails a dying system – instead they are working to change economies right where they are, starting with the tools and resources they have:  human capital, resourcefulness, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

BALLE Local Economy Fellows Announcement

Thanks to the visionary support of partners like the NoVo Foundation, Surdna Foundation, RSF Social Finance and others, the BALLE Local Economy Fellowship is strengthening North America’s collective leadership capacity to make and grow the things we need to live – in harmony with our natural world, and to reawaken within ourselves the understanding that we are meant to help each other.

The 2013 BALLE Local Economy Fellows are:

Toby Barazzuol, Board Chair, Strathcona Business Association; President, Eclipse Awards, Vancouver, BC

Sarah Bishop, Executive Director, Buffalo First, Buffalo, NY

Adrienne Maree Brown, Facilitator, Detroit Food Justice Task Force, Detroit, MI

Andrea Dean, Owner, Sustainable Initiatives LLC; Director, Hawai’i Alliance for Local Economy (HALE), Hawaii, HI

John Ennis, Economic Development Officer, Edmonton Economic Development, Edmonton, AB

Christine Hanna, Director, Seattle Good Business Network, Seattle, WA

Angie Maiden Hawk, President/CEO, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, Athens, OH

Nikki Henderson, Executive Director, People’s Grocery, Oakland, CA

James Johnson-Piett, Principal/CEO, Urbane Development LLC, New York, NY

Erin Kilmer-Neel, Director, East Bay Sustainable Business Alliance; Advisor, One Pacific Coast Bank and Foundation, Oakland, CA

Mickki Langston, Co-founder and Executive Director, Mile High Business Alliance Denver, CO

Matt Raker, Vice President Entrepreneurship, AdvantageGreen and AdvantageWest, Asheville, NC

Amy Robinson, Executive Director, LoCo BC, Vancouver, BC

Sarita Schaffer, Director; Co-founder, Viva Farms; Coordinator, WSU Immigrant Farming Program, Mount Vernon, WA

D’Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director/CEO, Social Justice Learning Institute, Urban Agriculture Enterprises, Inc., Los Angeles, CA

Malik Yakini, Executive Director, Detroit Black Food Security Network, Detroit, MI

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