2016 Annual Report

Reorienting toward love

We’re on the love trumps hate bandwagon – obviously – but what does that mean to us?  We think it has effects at two levels: the way we see the world, our vision; and how we engage with ourselves and you.  I’ll explain.   We recognize that love – the generative energy inside us all – stands in stark contrast to what we read in the morning paper or on our news feed.  We choose to intentionally reorient ourselves to see a world where we repair, reintegrate, and recover from histories of colonization, white supremacy, and wealth accumulation.  We choose a love where I can see myself in you, where I know my struggle is interconnected with yours, where solidarity leads to a wellspring of generosity.  We choose a love that emboldens us to share our own truths in the face of fake news and misinformation – we continue to boldly speak truth to power.  Love is real and big, it’s not something you can marginalize into the “woo”, the vast space of nonexistence outside the colonial view.

Now on to the rubber hitting the road in a metaphorical post-climate-change-world.  We are excited to be formalizing our strategy to engage a vast community of wealthy people in praxis: reflective action through political education with the interconnected goals of wealth redistribution, decolonization, and reparations.  We’re shifting from the traditional ideas of investment – where you can see your $$ grow on a piece of paper or computer screen – to one of being invested – where growth is in human relationships, returns are in knowledge, dignity, and transformation.  This transformation holds us to the questions of: how are we putting ourselves on the line?  How do we share risk with our partners?  How can we be even more deeply invested in their holistic success?  Borrowing from a movement partner: we want to be dancing together.

Join us!


Collective Vision Mash-up

Peep our view of a world we’re ushering in

Large-scale Reparations

  • We see a world where our values are manifest in multiple financial projects; we have deep relationships with communities doing the work of wealth redistribution; we share the work of redistribution as a practice and a goal
  • We are solidly and vocally anti-capitalist, challenging fundamental structures of capitalism
  • We explicitly call what we are doing reparations and it informs our thinking, messaging, storytelling; those involved identify with our reparations framework, and know how their histories connect to extraction, violence, colonization, as well as resistance

Transformative Investing & Being Invested

  • We are shifting from investing to being invested; this involves putting ourselves on the line, building long-term relationships, and a life-long dedication to praxis (reflective action)
  • We return stolen resources, land, and money to the communities from which they came; we return ourselves to our communities; we do this at the largest scale possible, grounded in local contexts
  • We ground our work in political education, propagating these ideas in the socially responsible/impact investing sector, telling the story that lifts up our truths and brings light to the inherent contradictions of capitalism

Life-long Dedication to Praxis

  • We’re in this for the long-term, and will continue to move our work to the edge, challenging what’s possible in the financial sector
  • We center praxis: reflective action in community; we stay in a position of experimentation
  • We are a bridge, point of transition, and in-between space between extractive capitalism and a regenerative life-giving economy


Collective Member mini-portraits

What made us come alive in 2016 with our work in Regenerative Finance?

Andrew Meeker

{ Being connected to the Renaissance Community Cooperative and realizing that relationships are the basis of our work and allow for the possibility of transformation }

Ari Sahagun

{ Going to lucha libre in Mexico City with partners in the Buen Vivir Fund; making human connections and changing how I think investing can feel }

David Roswell

{ Having discussions about art, literature, and being an artist with a friendship that developed through giving and mutual support }

Emily Duma

{ Getting parts of my humanity back through helping to develop revolving loan fund project in Mexico; witnessing the ways we can build a bridge from where we are now to a different, better economy }

Jay Saper

{ Getting up close and personal with how a cooperative develops and loving every moment through the delay and challenges because of the community and relationships we built along the way }

Kate Poole

{ Making a comic about history of her personal wealth accumulation, sharing it as publicly as possible; being in the streets to demonstrate how financial/extractive industries are causing harm }

Leah Fury

{ Leading a local praxis group on decolonization on Abenaki land: stepping into power to do harder work, saying “I’m going to mess it up and keep going” }

Highlights of this past year

Formalization & Transition to Paid Staff
  • We transitioned away from an all volunteer collective and experimented with paying a few of us as staff, starting in September 2015.  Would this help us have a stronger structure, more reliability, and accountability?  Kate, Ari, and Emily (who’s since retired!) have held it down for about a year and a half.
  • We’ve also obtained fiscal sponsorship (and thus nonprofit status) through our amazing movement crush F4DC (the Fund for Democratic Communities). In exchange for this service, we agree to send 10% of our budget to support a project of theirs, the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.
  • We’re still thinking a lot about how this transition influences our collective – how our struggles with this connect to the growing pains of all collectives – and how we continue to grow the ways we can be reliable and accountable movement partners.
  • We’ve also taken some steps to creating a formal accountability council – which will include movement partners and function not just in an advisory role, but also a way for us to be connected to and in solidarity with grassroots movements.

Reorienting Towards Love
  • One collective member, Ari Sahagún went to the IDEX Academy in August ’16 and left transformed. She continues to hold the question: how do we reorient toward love and warmth and model the world we want to see through our work?
  • This really hit home while Ari and Emily participated in another IDEX/Thousand Currents event, with the Buen Vivir Fund in Mexico City. Regenerative Finance will contribute investment and grant capital, knowledge- and community-building that result in well being for everyone involved.  Have a listen to our podcast on the role of love in the movement.  Diving deep into the co-design process, we learned how IDEX leads by centering relationships and hearts rather than tasks and brains.
  • We’ve also looked to Movement Strategy Center and Nwamaka Agbo in particular for inspiration (#leadwithlove) as we do this work. We were so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Nwamaka on a workshop we held at the Making Money Make Change retreat this year in November.
  • In October ’16, our collective retreat focused on addressing dominant/white culture/supremacy, gender dynamics, and settler colonialism – in other words the sources of coldness/fragmentation/isolation/polarization that show up in our bodies, in our collective and in our culture.  We continue to seek to understand how these manifest in our work and in our relationships with each other.   We’ve done so by engaging in internal praxis on decolonization, thinking/reading on emotional labor, and a few identity-based caucus group meetings.
  • We want to move money, organize investors, and support political education as ways to rebuild and repair relationships in the owning class, and return to community. We’ve been developing a set of zines and some curriculum and are excited to move this work forward in the coming year.

Influencing the Sector
  • March ’16: Kate, Margot, and Ed were awesome anti-capitalists at Confluence Philanthropy in March.  In particular, Kate boldly asked a room full of impact investors how they can be comfortable with market rate returns: “where do you think your returns come from?”  Check out her illustrated blog post for the deets.
  • July ’16: On a panel with some of our key partners (Movement Generation, the Fund for Democratic Communities, and The Working World), Kate talked about shifting both capital and power.  Read some other key points and watch the video of the panel.
  • September ’16: Kate was on a panel at COCAP in Oakland about Redistributing wealth through impact investing, there were multiple comics and it was awesome.  Later on, Ari dropped some decolonial thoughts: if we don’t talk about land as investment, we reify colonialism.
  • September ’16: Kate repped Regen’s core values at SOCAP in San Francisco later that week, and struggled through the language of “inclusion” and “equity” to locate what investors and entrepreneurs actually believed.  Check out her key points and comics in this post.
  • Summer ’16 – present:  Since this past summer, Ari, Emily, and Leah have been engaged in the co-design of an international revolving loan fund, called the Buen Vivir Fund.  This process has been transformative in and of itself and we’re excited to see it blossom in 2017.

What we’re looking forward to in 2017

In this moment we need truth-telling and clarity.

  • This is the heart of our political education work: leading with our values and the truths we see behind them.
  • This year we will focus on political education with the end goal of moving money and shifting power.  We’ll develop and deploy badass curriculum through webinars, praxis communities on decolonization, investing, replicable workshops, and dropping zines like they’re hot.
  • We’ll keep on with our internal praxis and study groups as necessary, too.

Regenerative Decolonial Reparations = Hope in the Time of Fear

  • We can use money and finance as one tool to dismantle the extractive system and repair harm. Shifting control of capital will be part of the hope that sustains us in the next 4 years.
  • We will also continue to work to shift the SRI and impact investing sectors to get real about reparations, decolonization, and the violent histories of wealth accumulation.  We’ll show up in SRI/impact investing spaces, holding the radical edge of possibility, telling our stories as counternarratives, and expanding possibilities through proofs of concept.
  • We’re learning that we can’t be transformative at just one level: if we’re going to be doing large scale transformative projects it will also affect us deeply and personally.  We’re dedicated to this heart-centered work, cultivating long-term relationships, being invested, and returning all the things.
  • We’ll move a massive amount of money.  Leveraging our proof of concept – the Renaissance Community Cooperative – within the Reinvest Network, we’re going to move major funding (amount still TBD) toward the Financial Cooperative.   Deeply committing to co-design, we’re excited for the Buen Vivir Fund to put decolonial reparations values into action and invest in women- and indigenous-led projects in countries suffering from continued colonization.
  • Finally, as we bring our whole selves into this work, we will step into our power as individuals and collectively, trying not to be inhibited, especially around privilege and worrying about doing the wrong thing at the expense of taking action.

Continuing to Weave our Network

  • Maybe we’ll add members to our core collective or create a slightly broader governing committee of sorts. (INTERESTED? Get in touch!)
  • We’ll keep working on creating a formal accountability council of our movement leaders.


We wouldn’t be where we are today without a massively supportive community of partners in solidarity.  To some of those folks for being in solidarity with us the past year, here are some love notes:

  • The Fund for Democratic Communities.  Ed, Marnie, and Mildred – you complete us.  You are the apples of our eyes.  Your fierce dedication to realness: around anti-racism/race, reparations, and the warmth you bring to every conversation warms our hearts, even in ice storms.
  • To the cooperative members of the Renaissance Community Coop: you make us come alive.  Seeing your growth, your tenacity through challenges, your dedication to bring healthy food to your community makes us proud to be fully invested in your long-term fruition.  In particular, we adore John Jones, and the community in Greensboro that have successfully heralded the RCC to reality. The Board is an easy way of summing that up, but it’s been so powerful to be able to see something move from a vision to a vision embodied – one that now has food and cash registers and checkout lines.
  • To Joanna in particular and the IDEX/Thousand Currents staff in general: You are wizards of love and warmth, sprinkled with some silliness and and with a cape of solidarity.  Your centering of vulnerability, truth-telling, and humility continue to surprise, invigorate, and challenge us, and the Buen Vivir process teaches us what sharing power really looks like.
  • To our mother culture, Resource Generation for supporting our member-leadership.
  • To Nwamaka Agbo for centering healing and reparations and leading with love in the many spaces we’ve overlapped this year: COCAP, MMMC, and the Buen Vivir Fund.
  • To the Working World, Brendan Martin, and Smiley: thank you for translating the wonky stuff into stuff we can understand, for doing the bridging work of literacy that allows for new understandings of finance.  Also to Eden for handling all our RCC amendments.
  • To Alison Lin for helping us navigate the tangled web of our October retreat, shifting our collective culture and working on organizational development.
  • To Michelle and Gopal of Movement Generation, you are always in our hearts and your zine is amazing.
  • To Sha and Tighe for continuing to believe in and fiercely show up for us.
  • To Greg for saving Jay’s life when he got hypothermia at Watershed (and to Greg, Brooke and the Watershed staff for being a home-away-from-home for the Regen Collective!)..
  • To Casa Xitla for the mezcal and warm beds in Mexico City.  Shout out to Cesar for being an awesome host.
  • To all the mentors and thought leaders who have helped us get where we are and continue to grow. Emily wants to shout out to Don Jorge a solidarity economy expert that shows that even when you don’t speak the same language, you can discuss capitalism, humanity, and grace.
  • To all our generous co-presenters who’ve shared alongside us and spoken with us at conferences

We’ve never conceived our work as alone, always part of movement ecology:

  • To the New Economy Coalition for modeling how to have a conference and messaging that integrates racial and economic justice and indigenous sovereignty.
  • To Konda Mason and Jenny Kassan who framed a conference around the radical redistribution of wealth, who welcomed us to share the story of Regenerative Finance, and showed such generosity of spirit. Both of you are so powerful, and model a deeply caring leadership we so respect.
  • Those who have shared our stories, shared our blogs or comments or have talked about us with your friends. This work is dependent on community, and we’re so grateful that ours includes you.


Want more like this? Follow us!