Emily Kawano

Co-Director, Wellspring Cooperative Corporation

Springfield, MA

Share Ownership  |  Advocacy, Community Economic Development, Worker Ownership

Emily builds economic democracy, currently by developing a network of worker co-ops alongside local anchor institutions to create jobs and wealth in under-invested neighborhoods.

Emily is the founder and co-director of Wellspring Cooperative in Springfield, Massachusetts. Previously she was the director of the Center for Popular Economics, a collective of economists dedicated to helping people understand how the economy works. She also worked with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on popular economics in Belfast, North Ireland, served as Economic Justice staffer at the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia, and taught economics at Smith College. Emily is a founder and coordinator of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network and is on the Board of the Intercontinental Social Solidarity Economy Network (RIPESS). She was born in New Jersey, earned her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and currently lives in western Massachusetts.


  • Wellspring Cooperative provides a model advancing worker cooperative model in underserved and urban communities in Springfield.
  • Wellspring Cooperative launched the first worker-owned cooperative in Springfield, MA, which includes seven workers and was profitable in its second year of operation.
  • At U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, raised visibility of and connections among solidarity economy practitioners, organizers, activists, educators, and researchers on national and international levels.