Steering Committee Members
Ruth Caplan, Co-Chair
Ruth comes to Boston from Washington DC where she co-chaired the campaign for a public bank. She has campaigned for economic and environmental justice for more than four decades from local fights opposing nuclear plants in upstate New York, to lobbying for safe energy in Congress, to creating the Economics Working Group with economists and social policy experts to imagine a just, sustainable economy grounded in local communities. As director of Environmental Action, a national grassroots organization, she appeared on the Today Show as well as national news networks and authored Our Earth, Ourselves, published by Bantam. She was elected the first co-chair of the Alliance for Democracy in 1996 and continues to serve on their national council.
Barbara is national coordinator for the Alliance for Democracy. Her interest in public banking is rooted in her longtime concern with community development, affordable housing, and food insecurity in small-city and exurban/rural settings, especially outside the Boston area. She lives in Stow.
Jonathan is policy director for Progressive Massachusetts. He is co-founder of the Issues Committee and Elections Committee and has chaired both since 2017, expanding the reach of the organization’s legislative agendas and candidate questionnaires and representing the organization in statewide advocacy coalitions on voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and economic justice. He is a professional editor, with a focus on global sustainability and twentieth-century political history.
Christine is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the author of Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2014), a book arguing that a radical transformation in the way societies produce money ushered in capitalism as a public project. She is the founding editor of Justmoney.org, a website that approaches monetary and financial design as matters of governance, and co-founder of Harvard’s Program on the Study of Capitalism. Other work includes Beckert and Desan, eds., American Capitalism: New Histories (Columbia University Press, 2018), and Desan, ed., A Cultural History of Money in the Age of Enlightenment (Bloomsbury Pub. Co., 2019).
Gerardo Espinoza is Executive Director of LEAF, Local Enterprise Assistance Fund, which develops financing programs and technical assistance for small businesses in Massachusetts. He serves as an advisory member of the Federal Reserve’s Financial Innovations Roundtable and is a member of the Boston Federal Reserve’s Working Group on Wealth Inequality. He serves on the boards of the Food Coop Initiative, the Boston Industrial Development Financing Authority, and Third Sector New England.
Nia Evans, Co-Chair
Nia Evans is Director of the Boston Ujima Project, which pursues innovative strategies for economic transformation to bring people together across a range of social and economic justice issues. Her advocacy includes a focus on eliminating barriers between analysts and people with lived experiences as well as increasing acknowledgement of the value of diverse types of expertise in policy.
Ryan “Rei” Fielder
Rei is an organizer, educator, social worker and artist who hails from the Motor City, Detroit. Rei has been organizing around issues that impact BIPOC Michiganders since they were 15. Their dedication to movement work is fueled by their desire to see true liberation come to fruition. Before coming to the Boston Ujima Project as Director of Coalitions, Policy, and Grassroots Organizing, Rei served as the Climate Justice Campaign at Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. They also worked as a clinical therapist at Havenwyck Hospital. Rei is a 2016 graduate of Marygrove College where they received a Bachelor of Music degree. In December 2020, Rei received their Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan.
Richard Krushnic, Treasurer
Richard is a community economic development professional, doing financial management and housing and business projects financial restructuring at Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development. He has a good deal of experience in Latin America, and works with several Latin American support groups. He brings his expertise in public housing and business financing to the public banking issue.
Timothy F. Havel
Tim is a scientist and cleantech entrepreneur, who became interested in banking and finance following the crash of 2008. He learned about “system dynamics” modeling while studying the management of technology at MIT, and has begun to apply it to the emerging vision of a new economy and its implementation via monetary reforms such as public banking.
Nancy Ryan, Co-Chair
Nancy holds a PhD in literature but left the academic life for community activism promoting racial and gender justice. She is the retired Executive Director of the City of Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women, a post she held for 25 years. During that time she helped create a number of ground-breaking institutions including a full service Teen Health Center in the city’s high school, a free-standing Birth Center staffed with midwives, Cambridge Cares about AIDS and an internationally recognized domestic violence education and intervention program. She has been an active member of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of MA for three decades and past president for three terms. Nancy is a founder of the Area 4/Port Neighborhood Coalition and the Cambridge Residents Alliance, dedicated to policies that promote housing rights and an affordable, livable and diverse city. She lives in Central Square, Cambridge.
Steve joined the movement for public banking in 2010, after interviewing homeowners facing foreclosure in Roxbury and Dorchester. Steve’s thesis in Community Economic Development found that mortgage companies, banks and some owner-investors committed fraud but not owner occupants. A member of City Life/Vida Urbana, Steve is also an avid community gardener, writer and poet.
Bob Van Meter
Bob is a consultant on housing and community development and an adjunct faculty member at Boston College. He served as executive director of the Allston Brighton CDC and executive director for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Boston program, a community development financial institution investing in affordable housing and economic development. He is vice chair of the Acton Community Housing Corporation and chair of Housing for All, Acton advocating for more inclusive housing policies in his community.