The second cohort of the Good Work Fellowship
“Transition is inevitable. Justice is not.” — Quinton Sankofa, Movement Generation
As the full extent of destruction wrought by an economic system that values the pursuit of profit and endless growth over the welfare of humans and the biosphere becomes clear, we believe that people are more ready than ever to usher in something radically different. More and more, we are reconnecting to our hearts, to our communities, and to the earth, and committing to building a future that works for all. Unlike the old system, with its top-down control, the next will be built from the bottom up, person by person, place by place, all working together for the common good.
Founded in mid-2015, The Good Work Institute is a non-profit organization working in the Hudson Valley of New York. Our aim is to turn this moment into a sustained movement by cultivating, connecting, supporting, and illuminating the work of local change agents who are fostering resilience and regeneration in their places. We offer a growing network of Hudson Valley organizations, initiatives, and community members tools, trainings, and connections to deepen and expand their Good Work. Inspired by the Just Transition framework as adapted and expanded by Movement Generation, our work is guided by the following five principles:
Advancing ecological restoration
The crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental contamination pose a threat to our existence and the foundations of our ecology, society, and economy. The root of the word “eco” comes from the Greek word “oikos” meaning “home.” We are committed to supporting people and projects that are caring for our home, preserving and restoring our fragile ecosystems, increasing biodiversity, eliminating environmental toxins, mitigating the causes of global warming, and fostering community resilience in its wake.
Democratizing communities, wealth and the workplace
We all suffer the destructive effects of an extractive economy, an extractive society, and an extractive system of power. Our time, our capacity to make decisions in our communities, and the fruits of our labor are all being taken out of our places. There is a deeply inequitable concentration of wealth, power, and other forms of capital that erodes our connection to ourselves, our places, and the natural world. Through democratizing communities, wealth, and the workplace, we see an opportunity to bring that value back and share it more equitably within our communities.
Driving racial justice and social equity
Racial justice and social equity are more than just ideals. No society can claim to be healthy while it marginalizes any of its own members. Racial justice and social equity are critical to the health and sustainability of thriving communities because they allow space for all members in a community to participate fully. We work to dismantle systems of oppression, redress inequality, establish respectful relationships of mutual benefit, promote fairness, and practice equality. We strive to foster community resilience, and eventually, to help establish new rules of the game.
Relocalizing most production and consumption
Globalized production and consumption lead to pace, scale, and power imbalances that make it virtually impossible for shareholders and executives to prioritize regard for ecological or social limits. Relocalizing most production and consumption is about building local self-reliance, resilience, and trust so that our land, life, and labor are part of a balanced web of stable, interdependent relationships focused on taking care of our places and each other. Drawing more money and power down to the local level, while practicing the other Just Transition principles described here, can lead us away from an extractive economy and toward a regenerative one.
Retaining and restoring cultures and traditions
As biodiversity is essential to the long-term survival of life on earth, cultural diversity is vital for the long-term survival and cultivation of the best of our humanity. Our country’s history of occupation and colonization, and the impacts of blind capitalism, have caused so much destruction and disruption to the cultures and traditions of many peoples. It has also forced many communities to sacrifice culture and tradition for economic survival. We seek to do and support work that honors, respects, and contributes to the restoration of the life-supporting traditions of the array of cultures connected to our region.
The Hudson Valley Fellowship: A full-scholarship, multi-month fellowship program that builds skills, connections, and capacity for change agents throughout the Hudson Valley region.
The Greenhouse: Work/event spaces and a resource library for non-profits, impact organizations, and community organizers in the Hudson Valley.
The Place Corps: A residential, learning year dedicated to helping 18-25 year olds cultivate a calling to know, love, and serve their places.
Events and Workshops: A regular series of lectures, workshops, and events focused on the skills and wisdom needed to live and work in ways that make our lives, our communities, and the Earth thrive.
Fiscal Sponsorship/Mentorship: A program designed to support the work and ongoing development of new, mission-aligned non-profit organizations in the Hudson Valley .
I do the work that I do because I believe that we are each the social architects of our society. So we can manifest whatever it is we choose and in fact, we do.
I see choice as the only force in the universe. I am an artist and though my work is only occasionally in tangible form, my life is my art. The way I walk, talk, move and breathe is my expression. I believe in living in possibility, and want to prove to my kids that anything is possible, even world peace. Anything is possible. I believe that we are moving towards oneness. I work to unify where there is division. I work selfishly to expand my own definition of self till I can act selfishly and towards the good of the universe simultaneously knowing that they are one in the same. In seeking unity I work to counter-measure the us vs. them paradigm. I do all of this as a yoga teacher at Mudita, as creator of DAY 1, on the board of Wild Earth, Radio Kingston and the Center for Creative Education, as a part of O+, working at the Kingston Farmer’s Market, a facilitator with TMI, as a City of Kingston Art Commissioner, just as a human being working in my community and especially as a father.
As Director of Operations, Caitlin is responsible for developing the organization through strategic planning, human resources, communications, development support, and financial management.
Her passion for process is born from her work supporting and organizing local business owners to build a better, more compassionate economy. In 2005 Caitlin was part of a City-hall lead initiative to increase capital access in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where she worked with community leaders and residents to develop a wide range of community based programming. More recently, as the Director of Planning and Community Development at Evergreen, a north Brooklyn industrial development non-profit, she built a network of food manufacturers focused on building the skills and relationships necessary to power a renaissance in NYC local food production.
Caitlin holds a B.A. in Political Science from Fordham University and a M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University.
Susan Grove is committed to facilitating collaboration, connecting across difference and creating lasting conditions for greater equality.
She has dedicated more than twenty five years to supporting diverse mission-driven organizations – faith-based, economic and rural development, anti-poverty, food system change, and holistic adult education. She has worked in Romania, India, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, Mali, the Philippines, Ethiopia and China as a consultant to Oxfam America, director of the US Office of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, and Peace Corps Volunteer. In 2008, she shifted her focus to community-based work in New York’s Hudson Valley, serving for five years as the first Executive Director of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project and coordinating the grassroots Poughkeepsie Plenty food justice initiative. Most recently, she managed the cross-departmental community engagement strategy of the Omega Institute. Her work has involved participatory facilitation, strategic planning, program development and implementation, resource development, financial management and governance. She holds a graduate degree in international affairs from Columbia University. She is a founder of slowPOK (history walking tours), the Poughkeepsie City Organizer for Jane’s Walks, and a member of the Race Unity Circle, the Board of the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, the Community Advisory Board of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, the Inclusive Communities Working Group and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee of Hudson River Housing, Daily Voice Community Advisors, and sPOKe Poughkeepsie (bicycle advocates).
Terri Hall joined GWI as Network & Communications Manager after many years of collaboration and engagement as part of Omega institute’s Development department. Prior to becoming a part of the GWI team, Terri worked as the Omega Women’s Leadership Center’s Community Engagement Specialist. A native of New York City, Terri has been a Hudson Valley resident for 14 years and brings with her a diverse professional background including the worlds of modern dance (Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater) and public television and radio (Thirteen/WNET, Children’s Television Workshop, Public Radio Management). The mother of two teens, Terri has served on the board of CultureConnect, a Rhinebeck-based non-profit committed to preparing youth to interact with their local and global communities with intelligence, compassion, and cultural competence. She also has served on the Rhinebeck Central School District’s Wellness Committee and helped lead fundraising efforts for Rhinebeck’s 2017 student cohort to the World Summit of Nobel Laureates in Bogota. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a friend. I am an artist, an activist, a musician, a hiker, a kayaker, a gardener, a music lover, a sports fanatic and a damn good cook. I am an agent of change. In the past 15 years, I have held a number of positions from Art Director to Distillery Consultant. And while I enjoyed all of these jobs enormously, I knew there was something missing. I believe that a successful community is not made up of individuals working separately, but of individuals working collaboratively on all fronts. That is why my roll at GWI is so meaningful to me. Creating avenues for people to come together to build healthier, thriving, more sustainable communities benefits us all.
Vonda is the Program Manager for the Just Transition Project at Harvard University’s Initiative for Responsible Investment. Before joining the IRI, she was the Director of the Capital Stewardship Program at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which was created to engage the capital markets and financial institutions in innovative ways. Prior to her time with SEIU, Vonda worked as a community organizer in Chicago, New York, and Boston with the Industrial Areas Foundation. In addition, she co-founded the Trustee Leadership Forum for Retirement Security at the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University. Vonda is also a GWI Fellow.
Austin Dubois is an attorney that helps primarily middle-class families in protecting their assets from long-term care costs and serving as general counsel to a select group of triple-bottom-line businesses and entrepreneurs. He is a seventh-generation resident of Orange County, and multiple generations beyond that of the Hudson Valley. Austin serves on a variety of civic and charitable boards of directors, and in his spare time enjoys the outdoors, music, wine and craft beer, or preferably some combination thereof with his family, friends and neighbors. Austin and his family reside in the beautiful City of Newburgh, NY
Konda Mason is a social entrepreneur, activist and spiritual teacher who works at the intersection of business, social and economic justice and spirituality. She is the Co-Founder and founding CEO of Impact Hub Oakland, a beautiful inspiring co-working space that supports and connects socially engaged change makers and social entrepreneurs. She is the Project Director of the Runway Project Oakland, a micro-lending fund for African American entrepreneurs intended to close the “Friends & Family” gap funding that is often unavailable to them. Additionally, Konda is the co-founder of the annual COCAP (Community Capital) conference in Oakland, with a focus on “Building the We Economy”.
Konda is also a co-founder of Jubilee, a new initiative of wisdom keepers and wealth holders, focused on joyfully preparing the next generation of investors to meet this moment and to defend the sacred.
Marlena Sonn, CFP(r), is the President and Founder of Amazonia Wealth Management, LLC, a New York City based firm. Marlena, a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, is a Certified Financial Planner™, and has ten years of experience in the financial services industry. She specializes in working with progressive, Ultra High Net Worth millennials, women, inheritors, and family offices to align their wealth with their values. Her personal mission is to plant 10 million trees in the Amazon rainforest in her lifetime to drawdown CO2 from the atmosphere, regenerate our most precious natural capital, and restore the balance necessary for a healthy economy and society.
Before founding and heading up the Good Work Institute, Matt was the longest serving employee and the VP, Values and Impact at Etsy.com. In that role he oversaw the stewardship of the company’s vision mission, and values, and worked to give all employees the means and the desire to maximize the benefit their work has on people and the planet.
In 2013, he was named a GOOD Magazine ‘Figure of Progress’. The next year he was named as one of the Purpose Economy 100. In 2016, He became a BALLE Local Economy Fellow. In addition to chairing the board at GWI, Matt also serves on the Board of Directors for the Schumacher Center for New Economics (Chair) and the Hawthorne Valley Association. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and a candidate for a Master’s degree in Climate Science and Policy at Bard College. He lives in Rhinebeck, NY with his wife and three children.