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Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Curriculum Vitae 212.237.8764

JESSICA GORDON-NEMBHARD is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City, USA. She is also Director of the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. She is an affiliate scholar at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, and was a member of the Canadian “Measuring the Difference of Cooperatives Research Network” (from 2010-2015). She was an affiliate scholar with the Economics Department’s Center on Race and Wealth at Howard University from 2008-2015. In May 2016 Dr. Gordon-Nembhard was inducted into the U.S. Cooperative Hall of Fame (

Gordon-Nembhard’s most recent book, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014), was a finalist for the 2014 Benjamin Hooks Book Award (University of Memphis). See

Dr. Gordon-Nembhard is a political economist specializing in community economics, Black Political Economy and popular economic literacy. Her research and publications explore problematics and alternative solutions in cooperative economic development and worker ownership, community economic development, wealth inequality and community-based asset building, and community-based approaches to justice.

Gordon-Nembhard’s publications include: “Understanding and Measuring the Benefits and Impacts of Co-operatives” (in Co-operatives for Sustainable Communities: Tools to Measure Co-operative Impact and Performance, St. Mary’s University Halifax, 2015); “Community-Based Asset Building and Community Wealth” (2014 Review of Black Political Economy); “Community Development Credit Unions: Securing and Protecting Assets in Black Communities” (2013 Review of Black Political Economy); Wealth Accumulation and Communities of Color in the US (co-edited with Ngina Chiteji, University of Michigan Press, 2006); “Micro Enterprise and Cooperative Development in Economically Marginalized Communities in the US” (in Enterprise, Social Exclusion and Sustainable Communities, 2011); “Theorizing and Practicing Democratic Community Economics: Engaged Scholarship, Economic Justice, and the Academy” (in Engaging Contradictions, University of California Press, 2008); “Cooperative Ownership in the Struggle for African American Economic Empowerment” (2004 Humanity & Society); and “Educating Black Youth for Economic Empowerment: Democratic Economic Participation and School Reform Practices and Policies” (in Handbook of African American Education, 2008).

Dr. Gordon-Nembhard is the 2017 recipient of the CASC Merit Award for exemplary contributions to the field of co-operative studies (Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation). She is also the 2014 recipient of the “ONI Award” from the International Black Women’s Congress (to an “unsung heroine” who “protects, defends and enhances the general well-being of African people”), and the 2011 recipient of the “Cooperative Advocacy and Research” Award from the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy. She is Co-Chair of the Shared Leadership Team of Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC, and member of the board of directors of: the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE, Vice President), Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter (and Ecological Democracy Institute of North America Vice President), Green Worker Cooperatives (Treasurer), the CEJJES Institute (past President and current Treasurer), the Southern Reparations Loan Fund; and former board member of the National Economic Association (past President and past Treasurer) and founding board member of the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (currently on the advisory board). She is a co-founder of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network; the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy; and the Democracy Collaborative (at the University of Maryland). In addition, Gordon-Nembhard is a charter member of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, and a member of The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. She is a charter member of the Council of Cooperative Economists of the National Cooperative Business Association (2007 – present); and a former member of the Black Enterprise Board of Economists (from October 1999 to 2009).

Dr. Gordon-Nembhard was a visiting scholar in the Economics Department at Howard University (2008-09), and was Master Teacher (July 2007 and 2009) at its Center on Race and Wealth’s Summer Institute for Research on Race and Wealth. She was previously Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park; Research Director of the Preamble Center (Washington, DC); Senior Economist at the Institute for Urban Research, Morgan State University; and Acting Deputy Director and Economic Development Analyst for the Black Community Crusade for Children at the Children’s Defense Fund. She is the recipient of a Henry C. Welcome Fellowship Grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission (2001-2004). She received a 2008 USDA grant on the economic impact of cooperatives (distributed through the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Cooperatives) to study wealth accumulation through cooperative ownership. Gordon-Nembhard has been the Principal Investigator for and Director of John Jay’s Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, winning consecutive 5-year grant awards from the U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO Program since 2011.

Jessica Gordon-Nembhard earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1992 and 1989, respectively). She earned her B.A. degree, magna cum laude, in Literature and Afro-American Studies (with Distinction in the A-AS Major) from Yale University (1978); and an M.A.T. in Elementary Curriculum and Teaching from Howard University (1982). She is the proud mother of two children (Stephen and Susan) and two grandsons (Stephon and Hugo Nembhard).

More information about Dr. Gordon-Nembhard’s book can be found here: Grassroots Organizing Collective and Penn State University Press.

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