Our Work

The People’s Economy Lab is led by and centers communities of color in our region that experience disproportionate harm in this extractive economy. We convene community leaders, workshop transformative ideas, and build better economic models. Our initiatives align with our values and advance new strategies to create a regenerative economy that anchors well-being, wealth and power in Black , Indigneous, and communities of color.

We Build Better Models

New Economy Washington Frontline
Community Fellowship Program

In partnership with Front and Centered, and funded by Communities of Opportunity, the New Economy Washington (NEW) Frontline Community Fellowship Program supports leaders from Black, Indigenous and communities of color who are integrating the principles and practice of a Just Transition. The 2021 inaugural cohort of five changemakers explored solutions to the lessons learned from the impacts of COVID-19, racial injustice, and economic instability. They are imagining a new economy – one that envisions sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities. The fellows were joined by four New Economy learning peers who are also developing innovative projects. Read more

Just Futures

Just Futures is a project co-led by Statewide Poverty Action Network, Front and Centered, and the People’s Economy Lab to develop a community vision and metrics for a just and equitable economy and an accountability process for Washington State to adopt in policy, program, and funding. The project emerged from discussions on shifting the economic recovery toward a state priority to reduce racial and geographic disparities and has a Community Leadership Committee composed of community-based organizations and individuals to build consensus and support the project toward the goal of creating better outcomes for communities historically excluded from economic well-being in state decision-making. The project will also incorporate community feedback from low-income and BIPOC communities statewide regarding how they experience the economy.

South Seattle Community Capital (SeaCap)
Resiliency Project

Together with Homesight, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, and Ventures, the People’s Economy Lab is piloting a partnership between the three BIPOC-led CDFIs to provide small business capital and technical assistance to low-income immigrants, refugees, women and people of color in South Seattle and unincorporated King County whose businesses are vulnerable to failure and displacement. The project exists to advance the partners’ vision of creating a place-based, community-driven small business lending and technical assistance program. It aims to fill critical gaps and create synergy between the three partners and advances the larger field of community-controlled economic development in Seattle and South King County.

CORD Coalition Capacity Building and Loan Fund Development

With funding from the City of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative, People’s Economy Lab is partnering with Community Credit Lab to support the development of Community Owned Resource Development (CORD) Coalition. CORD is a transformative economic development group that empowers BIPOC to build Beloved Communities by advancing real estate development projects that address community needs, combat displacement and generate wealth. CORD offers community-controlled economic infrastructure, a coordinated network of partners, and sources of capital that empower BIPOC to successfully hold, acquire and develop real-estate in the greater Seattle area. This project’s goals are to formally establish CORD as an operating entity and design a community lending program for emerging Black developers combating displacement in Seattle.

We Workshop

Just Transition Community Mapping

People’s Economy Lab partnered with civic and visual designer Kamal Patel and senior design researcher, strategist & thought leader Dimeji Onafuwa PhD to facilitate a 4 part series of community convenings focused on understanding and mapping the extractive economy, collectively defining a vision for a regenerative economy and a charting path to realizing it. We gathered 15 local BIPOC community leaders with a great breadth and depth of knowledge of the local landscape and whose work aligns with the Just Transition framework. The group began designing a living tool for our communities to use to understand our economy as it is and to strategically shape it into what it should be. This series is intended to be Phase I of a prolonged community-driven mapping process. We hope to engage a broader audience – government, philanthropy, etc. – to complete the design in Phase II. Read more

Other workshops:

The People’s Economy has led and collaborated on numerous trainings, events, and workshops with local and national thought leaders, bringing to life the community-centered economy. Recently these included: ReKINdle Strategy Series and Just Transition Trainings with Movement Generation, People’s Economy 101 part 1 / part 2 and Creating a Just and Democratic Economy with Aaron Tanaka with Communities of Opportunity, Moving the Money Learning Series with Deborah Frieze, and a preceding series that brought together Nwamaka Agbo, Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Cuong P. Hoang with the New Economy Funders Collaborative, and Convening Leaders in Community Capital.

We Convene

We regularly convene Lab Leaders – organizers, thinkers, and doers – to create a shared vision and roadmap for a community-centered economy that works for everyone.

Community Capital Working Group

We build relationships and share knowledge and experience to design inclusive community-driven solutions that improve our economy. We are leaders in Seattle’s community with a shared vision for a vibrant inclusive economy that focuses on

  1. Increased access to affordable, relevant, innovative capital for communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and women owned small businesses and entrepreneurs
  2. Democratizing who participates in investing and empowering wealth redistribution and control by people in their communities

We host conversations with groups in the community capital ecosystem, including community development financial institutions, credit unions, community banks, funders, and investors.

New Economy Washington Funders Collaborative

We are an emerging learning community on economic systems change for social justice and sustainability supporting a vision for a new economy in Washington State. With an interest to Move the Money, we as funders learn together and better understand the complexity of systems change and how our communities are being affected, and what role we can play in a just transition toward a regenerative economy. We explore actions and how each of us can drive transformational systems change using the full spectrum of capital available to us, including investment portfolios, philanthropic funding, and economic activities to engage in local place-based community-identified projects that are ready to build the new. Previously the Rethinking Prosperity Funders Collaborative

We are transforming the local economy.

Help us pave the way for a People’s Economy.