In many cities around the world, people whose lives have been enriched by the sharing economy were getting together to work out how to find new opportunities to share or overcome barriers. We realized that, with the right tools and support, we could achieve more by working together, across communities, cities, counties and the globe.
We started meeting with small groups of people who share their cars, homes, skills and time to build a grassroots organization, from the ground up. Within a few months, we had meetups and house parties happening in cities across the globe, from Boston to Barcelona and San Francisco to Seoul.
In summer 2013 we launched Peers to provide support and tools for people who want to see the sharing economy thrive. We support the movement in three ways:
- Mainstream the sharing economy By raising the profile and visibility of sharing
- Advocate for the sharing economy Through policy campaigns for smart regulation
- Grow the sharing economy By helping people to connect and discover how to make their lives shareable
We are proud of the progress we made in our first two months of action!
- Mainstream Our work has received widespread attention and started important conversations in the media. You can read about us in CNET, The Next City, Bloomberg Business Week, the SF Business Times, Politico, Fast Company, Forbes, and Salon.
- Advocate We’re supporting members in shaping the future of sharing in their communities. Matt, a Peers member in Silver Lake, started a petition and organized his neighbors to protect homesharing in his city. Peers members had a big victory when the state of California legalized ridesharing. And Peers member Mishelle is currently fighting in New York to legalize homesharing.
- Grow We’re bringing our founding community together in 90 cities around the world for potluck Dinner with Peers.
Please help us continue the momentum. Sign up to join Peers today!
Our Structure and Funding
We launched Peers with the support of individual contributors, both large and small, as well as foundational support. If you’re inspired by our work, please join us by contributing here. Please note that contributions are not currently tax-deductible.
Peers is structured as a non-profit organization with a benefit corporation subsidiary.
Our Staff and Board
NATALIE FOSTER | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CO–FOUNDER
Natalie spent the last decade at the intersection of social movements and technology. Prior to joining Peers, she was the CEO and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for powering people–driven economic change. Before that, she was the digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) and the Democratic National Committee. While there, she built and directed the team responsible for web content, grassroots fundraising social media and mobile for BarackObama.com as well as Democrats.org. She also built the Sierra Club’s first online organizing department and served as the deputy organizing director for MoveOn.org. Follow Natalie: @NatalieFoster
MILICENT JOHNSON | DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS AND COMMUNITY BUILDING
Milicent draws on her extensive involvement at the forefront of the sharing economy movement. She comes to Peers after co–founding Bayshare, an advocacy group dedicated to building a thriving environment for sharing in San Francisco, and several years as community manager for Shareable.net. Prior to Shareable.net, Milicent served as a community reinvestment fellow at the Greenlining Institute and a program coordinator at the Organization for a New Equality. Milicent’s passion for empowering communities to find meaningful solutions and resilience led her to work on asset building and economic development through education, policy, research, and community organizing with a focus on new economic models, low income communities, and communities of color. Follow Milicent: @MilicentJohnson
ALEX LOFTON | MANAGING DIRECTOR
Alex has been heavily involved with progressive politics, startup organizations and peer–to–peer community engagement. He’s also a vice president with 270 Strategies, a grassroots consulting firm launched by alumni of President Obama’s reelection campaign. During the 2012 election, he was the Obama campaign’s get out the vote director in Cleveland, Ohio. Alex helped launch Organizing for America — the grassroots organization born out of the 2008 campaign and dedicated to supporting the President’s policy initiatives — in 2009 after holding several positions in the 2008 Obama campaign. Additionally, he has served as managing director of a small nonprofit called Groundswell, Inc., and worked in business development for two tech companies, Organizer Inc. and NationalField. Follow Alex: @AlexLofton
Joshua Peck | Director of Campaigns
Joshua Peck is an expert in using emerging technology to facilitate mass participation in issue advocacy. Before Peers, Josh worked as the Deputy Director of New Media for Organizing for America and the Democratic Party. While there, he oversaw president Obama's online strategy in the successful fight to pass comprehensive health reform. Before that, Joshua was the Senior Director of New Media for the ONE Campaign, where he directed online strategy, communications and organizing efforts to increase and improve G8 investment in international development.
Ashley Baia | Director of Organizing and Community Engagement
Ashley has been heavily involved in organizing and community engagement since 2003. Her organizing career started in college organizing communities in her home state around global poverty issues. Ashley later went on to work on President Obama's 2008 campaign. After the 2008 campaign, she continued on to the White House in the Office of Public Engagement. Her time in the Office of Public Engagement was focused on making sure every day Americans had access to the White House and a seat at the table when decisions were being made that would most affect their community. Most recently, Ashley ran the Virginia field program for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. Follow Ashley @ashleybaia
Sam Witherbee | Director of Community and Member Services
Sam is a pioneer in applying grassroots organizing strategies to create positive social change in sustainability markets. Before joining Peers, he co-founded the non-profit social enterprise Groundswell. Sam led Groundswell's Community Power Project, a renewable-energy purchasing collaborative comprised of faith institutions, schools, and affordable housing developments across the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Also while at Groundswell, Sam launched WeatherizeDC, a campaign that created green jobs by using community organizing to drive demand in energy efficiency markets. Prior to Groundswell, Sam worked as an organizer for President Obama's 2008 campaign and as a leader in the climate movement with Clean Air-Cool Planet.
Rachel Botsman | Board Member
Rachel Botsman is a global thought leader on the power of collaboration and sharing through network technologies to transform the way we live, work and consume. She has inspired a new consumer economy with her influential book What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing The Way We Live. Rachel was a founding partner in the Collaborative Fund, an early stage investor in disruptive ventures and a former director at President Clinton’s Foundation. She is currently the founder of Collaborative Lab, the leading source of expertise for businesses and governments that want to embrace the collaborative economy. Follow Rachel: @rachelbotsman
JAMES SLEZAK | Board Member and Co-Founder
James Slezak co-founded Peers and is founder of the New Economy Practice at Purpose. A longtime activist on sustainability and progressive social causes, James now heads New Economy Lab, building innovative forms of social enterprise in partnership with leading global organizations. He previously consulted at McKinsey & Co, leading projects on sustainability, internet technology and economic development. James holds a PhD in Physics, serves on the board of a number of social-impact oriented nonprofits and businesses, and is an affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Follow James: @jslez
Douglas Atkin | Board Member and Co-Founder
Douglas Atkin co-founded Peers and is Head of Community at Airbnb. He is founder of theglueproject, a blog and venture to create social glue through Community and a founding Partner of Purpose, an organization that mobilizes millions for social change. Douglas is a board Member of AllOut.org, the world’s largest LBGT movement. Douglas is also a Meetup Fellow and former Partner and Chief Community Officer at Meetup-the world’s largest network of communities. Follow Douglas: @datkin
Peers was incubated with support from Purpose and guidance from the following thought leaders:
- Antonin Leonard Creator of Conso Collaborative and co-founder of OuiShare
- Arun Sundararajan Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business
- Jeremy Heimans Co-founder and CEO of Purpose, Co-founder of Avaaz, AllOut and GetUp
- Jessica Jackley Venture Partner at the Collaborative Fund, and Co-founder of Kiva
- Lisa Gansky Author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing
- Neal Gorenflo Co-founder and Publisher of Shareable Magazine
- Robin Chase Founder and CEO of Buzzcar, and founder and former CEO of ZipCar