Who We Are
The time has come to consider new, bold ways to make our economy work again for all Americans.
The Economic Security Project is a network committed to advancing the conversation on cash benefits and basic income in the United States. In a time of immense wealth, no one should live in poverty, nor should the middle class be consigned to a future of permanent stagnation or anxiety. Automation, globalization, and financialization are changing the nature of work, and these shifts require us to rethink how to create economic opportunity for all.
Now is the time to think seriously about how expanding unconditional cash could work, how to pay for it, and what the political path might be to make it a reality. Join us.
Economic Security Project Team
Natalie is an expert on the future of work. She co-founded and co-chairs the Economic Security Project. In 2013, Natalie co-founded and launched Peers.org to support people who work in the sharing and on-demand economy. Prior to Peers, she was the CEO and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for people–driven economic change, with Van Jones. Previously, Natalie served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) and the Democratic National Committee. Natalie built the first digital department at the Sierra Club and served as the deputy organizing director for MoveOn.org.
Chris Hughes has spent his career working at the intersection of politics and technology. He was a co-founder of Facebook, a digital architect for President Obama’s campaign, and the publisher of the digital and print magazine The New Republic. In 2016, he co-founded the Economic Security Project, a project to explore how to provide financial security for all Americans through cash transfers. Hughes also works on a range of progressive causes from his home in New York City. He is an investor and board member in several New York- and California-based start-ups, and he graduated from Harvard in 2006 magna cum laude with a degree in History and Literature.
Dorian T. Warren is President of the Center for Community Change Action (CCCA) and Vice-President of the Center for Community Change (CCC). He is also a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Co-Chair of the Economic Security Project. A progressive scholar, organizer and media personality, Warren has worked to advance racial, economic and social justice for over two decades. He previously taught for over a decade at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, where he was Co-Director of the Columbia University Program on Labor Law and Policy. After growing up on the Southside of Chicago, Warren received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.
Taylor Jo Isenberg
Taylor Jo Isenberg is the Managing Director of the Economic Security Project. She was previously the Senior Advisor to the CEO & President and Vice President of the National Network at the Roosevelt Institute, an organization working to redefine the rules that guide our social and economic realities.
She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Scalawag Magazine, a publication advancing social justice through the South’s diverse thinkers, writers and activists. She was a Forbes 30 under 30 for Law and Policy in 2015 and Fusion 30 under 30 Women Shaping Politics in 2016. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Adam Ruben has two decades of experience at the leading edge of online campaigning and fundraising, grassroots organizing, communications, and progressive political campaigns. He was the architect behind MoveOn’s successful campaigns to take over the House, Senate, and White House, creating a tech-enabled model of scalable field organizing that has spread throughout the progressive movement. He spent more than four years growing the Fight for $15, melding traditional communications with digital strategy, and has consulted with organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Working Families Party, Voter Participation Center, Run Warren Run, PCCC, and Global Zero.
Cara Rose DeFabio
Special Initiatives Director
Cara Rose DeFabio is a writer, artist and producer working at the intersection of culture and technology, who believes that the future should not be a privilege, but a universal right. Her tech-integrated theater shows have garnered critical acclaim in the Bay Area, examining such issues as mourning on Facebook, and AI and intimacy. Working at Fusion Media she brought her love of live events to journalism, creating the Real Future Fair, a conference focused on technology and social justice. Cara lives and works in her hometown of San Francisco and is thrilled to bring her storytelling skills to the fight for economic equality.
Research and Administrative Associate
George-Ann is an Antiguan-British-American recent graduate from Pace University, NYC where she was awarded a B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude with a focus on quantitative research methods and the French language. Prior to her present post at the Economic Security Project, George-Ann presented her research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Economic Scholars Conference, attended the UN Women’s Commission on the Status of Women with the Feminist Majority Foundation and Girls Learn International, and worked in Communications and Development for the social enterprise VisionSpring.
Senior Fellow, Economic Security Project
Mia Birdsong is a family and community visionary who has spent more than 20 years fighting for the self-determination, and pointing out the brilliant adaptations, of everyday people. As Co-Director of Family Story, she is updating this nation’s outdated picture of the family in America (hint: rarely 2.5 kids and two heterosexual parents living behind a white picket fence). She is a Senior Fellow at the Economic Security Project, where she is expanding the current universal basic income movement to include perspectives and leadership from communities experiencing economic and racial injustice. Previously, Mia was the Vice President of the Family Independence Initiative, an organization that leverages the power of data and stories to illuminate and accelerate the initiative low-income families take to improve their lives.
Mia’s 2015 TED talk, “The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn’t True,” has been viewed over 1.6 million times already. She publishes widely, including her occasional cult-favorite column #advicefromagrownandsexyblackwoman, and speaks at universities and conferences across the country. Mia is also modern Renaissance woman. She has spent time organizing to abolish prisons, teaching teenagers about sex and drugs, interviewing literary luminaries like Edwidge Danticat, David Foster Wallace, and John Irving, and attending births as a midwifery apprentice.
Mia is a graduate of Oberlin College, an inaugural Ascend Fellow of The Aspen Institute, and a New America California Fellow. She sits on the Board of Directors of Forward Together and the North Oakland Community Charter School. She lives and dreams big in Oakland, California.
Managing Partner, General Catalyst
Hemant Taneja is a managing partner at General Catalyst and founded its Silicon Valley operations. His investment thesis — “economies of unscale” — says that small, tightly focused companies can leverage web services, datasets, and AI to compete against larger established competitors. Hemant’s investment portfolio includes companies in the fields of medicine, finance, and education, including Stripe, Snap, Color Genomics, Gusto, Livongo Health, TuneIn, ClassDojo, Fundbox, Digit, and Fractyl. Alongside his venture work, he has co-founded the public policy advocacy group Advanced Energy Economy and serves on the board of directors of the non-profit education organization Khan Academy, and board of fellows of the Stanford School of Medicine. Hemant holds five degrees from MIT and has lectured at MIT and Stanford University.
President & CEO, Roosevelt Institute
Felicia Wong is the President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, which seeks to reimagine the social and economic policies of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt for the 21st century. Felicia came to the Institute from the Democracy Alliance, and previously ran operations and product development at a venture-funded education services company. Her public service includes a White House Fellowship in the Office of the Attorney General and a political appointment in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.
President Emeritus of SEIU
Andy Stern is the President Emeritus of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Stern has been featured on The Colbert Show, 60 Minutes, CNN, Charlie Rose, and on the covers of the New York Times Magazine, Fortune, and BusinessWeek. Mr. Stern was a Presidential Appointee on the Simpson- Bowles Commission, and is now a Senior Fellow at The Economic Security Project. His new book –Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Restore the American Dream calls for America to take bold action to prepare for the massive potential of job disruption.
Serkan Piantino is a technology executive and entrepreneur in New York City, and currently Founder and CEO of Spell. Previously he was Founder and Site Director of Facebook New York and Co-Founder of Facebook AI Research. While at Facebook he lead the development of infrastructure and algorithms for News Feed, Timeline and Messenger. Serkan is also an active advocate for the tech community in New York City, having served on Mayor Bloomberg’s Council on Technology and Innovation and currently on the boards of Tech:NYC and AFSE. Serkan holds a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, where he serves on the Advisory Board of the College of Computer Science.
Misha David Chellam
Misha is one of the founders of Tradecraft, an education & consulting company that helps people learn and decision-make efficiently. He previously co-founded Scanadu and was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Blumberg Capital. His interest in universal basic income is rooted in the belief that robots will most likely take our jobs. Even if they don’t, severe income inequality leads to an unhealthy society.
Future Justice Fund
Future Justice Fund is a grantmaking organization rooted in the belief that all people deserve a free, vibrant, and productive life. FJF currently has two core initiatives: ending mass incarceration in the United States, and exploring bold, cash-based solutions for ending poverty. FJF was founded in December 2015 by Mike Krieger, a co-founder of Instagram, and his wife Kaitlyn Krieger, who oversees FJF’s grantmaking strategy and runs day-to-day operations.
Co-founder, Credo Mobile and author, With Liberty and Dividends For All
Peter is an entrepreneur and writer who has co-founded and led several successful companies, including Credo Mobile. He earned a B.A. in history from Harvard and an M.A. in government from Georgetown. He was a Washington correspondent for Newsweek and west coast correspondent for The New Republic. He has served on numerous boards of directors, including the National Cooperative Bank, Greenpeace International and the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His books include Capitalism 3.0 and With Liberty and Dividends for All.
President of the Goldhirsh Foundation
TARA ROTH is the president of the Goldhirsh Foundation. Prior to this role, Tara bridged the worlds of marketing, media, and philanthropy as the founding COO of GOOD and a social strategy advisor. Tara began her career in marketing and business development for NBCinternet and Infoseek. She has worked with organizations such as Participant Media, Fifteen Foundation, and the New Schools Venture Fund. As a senior advisor to GOOD, Tara helped launch the Pepsi Refresh Project. Tara received a bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, and has an MBA from Oxford University where she was awarded a Skoll scholarship in social entrepreneurship. Tara serves on the board of Southern California Grantmakers and on the regional advisory boards of Opportunity Fund, FUSE Corps, First in the World, and 826LA. She is a Senior Fellow at USC’s Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab.
Co-Founder and CEO of GOOD
BEN GOLDHIRSH is the co-founder and CEO of GOOD, a global community of, by, and for pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress. Outside of GOOD, Ben is the Chairman of The Goldhirsh Foundation, an organization built to help social innovators implement and scale solutions to critical societal challenges. A co-founder and board member of City Year Los Angeles, Goldhirsh graduated from Brown University and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Assistant Professor , Political Philosophy, Stanford University
Juliana Bidadanure is an Assistant Professor in Political Philosophy with an affiliation to the Center for Ethics in Society. Before coming to Stanford, she completed her PhD in Political Philosophy within the School of Politics, Economics and Philosophy at the University of York (UK), and was then a 2014-2015 Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (Italy).
Albert Wenger is a partner at Union Square Ventures. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of del.icio.us through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early hosted data analytics company. Albert graduated from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT.
Tom Matzzie. A widely recognized entrepreneur and a respected leader in social impact, Tom Matzzie founded Ethical Electric in 2011 with the belief that everyone should have easy access to renewable wind and solar energy. Throughout his career, he’s developed powerful online communities designed to disrupt incumbents; he’s pioneered innovations now considered best practices in civic engagement; and he’s raised over $150 million for various cause-related donors and organizations.
Before starting Ethical Electric, Tom was a principal at Gladius Strategy LLC, the Washington director for MoveOn.org, an online mobilization director for the AFL-CIO, and a director of online organizing for the Democratic National Committee. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Tom was a finalist for the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Greater Washington region. He was also named “a rising star” by The New York Times Magazine for his innovative work with MoveOn.org.
Head of Bloomberg Beta
Head of Bloomberg Beta, a venture capital firm investing in the future of work, Roy has spent time making startups, as a corporate executive, in government, media, and academia — and is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. He teaches about media at U.C. Berkeley and also co-chaired, with New America’s Anne-Marie Slaughter, the Shift Commission, a national effort to understand the 10-20 year future of work in America.
Former Associate White House Counsel to President Barack Obama
James K. Boyce
Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Founding researcher, fast.ai
Founding Partner & CEO, 270 Strategies
Co-founder InnerSpace, former founder/CEO Flixster
EIC + CEO, NewCo
Former Executive Director, OFA
President, Golden State Opportunity
Professor of Philosophy, Stanford University
Basic Income Earth Network
Professor of Economics, Bucknell University
Executive Director, Institute for the Future
Founder, Leap Forward Project
Co-Director, Family Story
Co-founder, GiveDirectly and Segovia
President, Megaphone Strategies
Fellow, Institute for the Future and New America California
Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington
Co-Founder Credo Mobile, Author, With Liberty and Dividends For All
Co-founder Zipcar, Author, Peers Inc
Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Co-Founder, 2D BOY, Indie Fund
Co-founder & CEO, HandUp
Head, Bloomberg Beta
Niskanen Center, Poverty and Welfare Policy Analyst
President, Y Combinator
Co-Director, Universal Income Project
Vice President, David Binder Research
Alaska State Senator - Elect
Professor, Harvard Law School and Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society