Transform Finance Cohort: Session 2 Recap, Session 3 Preview

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For years I have heard people say that power comes from organized people and organized money. I don’t feel like the second half of that equation really sank in until participating in the Transform Finance Cohort. As a movement we have ceded too much of our power, often leaving our money for Wall Street to control. Transform Finance has helped peel back the veil of power behind money to explore ways for us to reclaim our full power.
— Merle Payne, CTUL

Through education on capital and the financial system, connections to investors and institutions, and strategizing around winnable campaigns, the Transform Finance Cohort and its members are building the next wave of innovative approaches and strategies with capital and financial actors for worker justice. 

Last month, Cohort members from around the country came together for two days in New York City to take their bespoke approaches to the next level via coaching, workshopping sessions, and mutual support. Cohort members took part in direct and individualized strategy development sessions with over 15 values-aligned finance experts with experiences ranging from pensions funds, private equity, and real estate investment to venture capital, community development, and municipal finance.

We thank the coaches for coming out in support of worker justice and our friends at NRDC for hosting us at their beautiful headquarters!

SESSION 2 - KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • BRIDGING THE DEMAND: According to several coaches, labor and finance oftentimes struggle to communicate with each other due to a lack of shared language (not necessarily values). That said, the desire to break down this wall and work more effectively together has been palpable throughout the Cohort. We saw this phenomenon play out as we cultivated our coaches. When it came to finding and pairing coaches with participants, we had more interest on the coach front than we could absorb and match with participants. We're seeing a tremendous potential to build partnerships and collaborate with "unlikely allies" right in front of our eyes.

  • ORGANIZING, WITH A DIFFERENT TWIST: For many participants, the worlds of capital and finance have always been shrouded in mystery. This has led many to feel powerless and unsure how to engage. By reframing it so that their skills organizing people are seen as assets that are directly transferable to organizing money, light bulbs went off. The simple act of reframing, plus education and access to the world (and individuals) of finance, has empowered participants to dive deeper, straight into the nuts and bolts of the (previously esoteric and exclusionary) world of finance, to harness it for their workers.

  • SHARED NEEDS: Despite "peeling back the veil," there was still a lot of unfinished business coming out of Session 2. Since capital and finance are new to so many participants, there was a clear and consistent need around what the right ongoing research, skills and movement infrastructure would be needed to translate knowledge to action and impact for workers, as well as embed this "financial analysis" up and down their organizations.

SESSION 3 - THE LAUNCH

On November 14-15, the Cohort, coaches and supporters (from fund managers to grant makers and asset owners) will convene for the third and final time in New York City. Session 3 will showcase the Cohort’s strategies - a perfect opportunity to learn how you can support this novel approach to worker justice!

If you are interested in joining us, please email Eric Horvath at eric@transformfinance.org