Congratulations Aaron Tanaka

Congratulations BII Senior Advisor Aaron Tanaka, founder of Center for Economic Democracy, for being selected as a 2016 Echoing Green Global Fellow!

“Aaron Tanaka is a Boston-based community organizer, grantmaker, and impact investor. As the director of the Center for Economic Democracy, Aaron stewards funding and technical assistance to grassroots groups that build power and vision in low-income communities of color for a new economy. As the startup managing director for the Boston Impact Initiative (BII), Aaron helped create Boston’s first local impact fund, directing loans and private equity investments toward Boston’s growing localist economy. Until 2012, Aaron was co-founder and executive director of the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA). From 2010 to 2012, Aaron served as a special commissioner appointed by the governor to advise on equitable job creation strategies for Massachusetts. He is a former Green For All Fellow, a current Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Fellow, and a visiting practitioner at Tufts University, and he is co-chair of the Asian American Resource Workshop and the national New Economy Coalition. Aaron holds a BA from Harvard University and an MS in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University.”

BII 2015 Annual Review

View Boston Impact Initiative’s 2015 Annual Review

Dear Friends,

Victoria Amador of Tremendous Maid is seeking to reverse her industry’s exploitative labor practices by paying her cleaning workers—mostly low income and immigrant women—a fair wage and full benefits. Diane Ivey is changing the face of textiles by manufacturing hip, urban-inspired yarns through Lady Dye Yarns. And the Dorchester Food Co-op is inviting neighbors to come together as owners and investors to launch a healthy, locally sourced grocery store.

What we’re learning from our entrepreneurs is that it is possible to be economic trailblazers. The companies we invest in are willing to challenge the status quo, to question assumptions and to courageously experiment with new ideas and models in order to build businesses that have meaningful and lasting impacts on the people and communities they serve. But it isn’t easy. If we want to create real prosperity for communities that have been excluded from economic opportunity, then we have to strengthen the networks of support around these entrepreneurs.

That’s why we’re committed to investing in incubators and accelerators like Commonwealth Kitchen and Smarter in the City. It’s why we believe in rebuilding social networks and grassroots organizing through the Solidarity Economy Initiative. And it’s why we think it’s critical to have a dream of what our economy could be—and a practice for finding our way there —through the Ujima Project.

The Boston Impact Initiative is not just an investment fund. We are organizers, field-builders, entrepreneurs, capital partners and friends alongside all of you who work so hard to address the growing wealth gap and ecological challenges of our community.

As we celebrate our 2015 achievements, we look forward to growing a more vibrant and powerful local economy movement in Boston and beyond.


Deborah Frieze, Founding Partner