Download the slides here.

NPQ’s latest webinar in our Remaking the Economy series looks at the intersection of community organizing and wealth building in Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.

This webinar looks at efforts to organize and build wealth in three specific communities in the United States: the border town of El Paso, Texas; a worker co-op organizing group in Cincinnati that has also supported similar efforts in California and Mississippi; and community-based business development in Indian Country among Minnesota’s tribal nations.

Leading this discussion are our three expert panelists:

Lorena Andrade is the director of La Mujer Obrera in El Paso, Texas, a group started by Chicana activists in 1981. The nonprofit operates two small social enterprises, while also organizing for environmental justice in the 6,000-resident Chamizal border neighborhood.

Pamela Standing is cofounder and director of the Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, which supports Native businesses across the state, including a “Buy Native” campaign, as well as training co-op developers on how to work in tribal communities.

Ellen Vera directs co-op organizing at Co-op Cincy in Cincinnati, Ohio. In her role, she has not just worked to organize co-ops in Cincinnati, but has supported worker co-op organizing across the country, including in Jackson, Mississippi and Santa Ana, California.

This webinar explores:

  • How does one organize to build both community wealth and community power? Where are there synergies? Where are there tensions?
  • How does one maintain the deep relationships necessary to effectively organize at the community level?
  • What are concrete examples emerging from the work that are proving effective in building wealth in communities of color?
  • How have efforts to build community wealth and power been maintained amid COVID-19?
  • What does equitable food-oriented development entail? How have its principles been implemented in El Paso?
  • What lessons has Co-op Cincy drawn from its Co-op U program of working with co-op organizing groups in multiple communities across the country?
  • What strategies have proven effective to help create co-op development infrastructure in Indian Country that speaks to Indigenous values?
  • What role can nonprofits and philanthropy play in building organizing capacity and wealth in communities of color?


Co-op Cincy, 2019 Annual Report, Cincinnati, Ohio: Co-op Cincy, 2020.

Steve Dubb, “Grassroots Movement Promotes Adoption of ‘Union Co-op Model,” NPQ, December 15, 2017.

Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance and Cooperative Development Services, Beginning the Cooperative Journey Together: A Guide to Indigenous Cooperative Development, St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, 2020.

Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, 2019 Impact Report, St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance, 2019.

Ytzel Molina, “Café Mayapán ambassador of Mexican American culture,” El Paso Inc., March 5, 2021.

Michelle Frain Muldoon, Ashley Kaarina Taylor, Nessa Richman, and John Fisk, “Case Studies in Community Engagement: La Mujer Obrera, El Paso, Texas,” Innovations in Local Food Enterprise: Fresh Ideas for Practitioners, Investors, and Policymakers for a Just and Profitable Food System. Arlington, VA: Wallace Center at Winrock International, 2013, pp. 38-39. Access full report here.