Hacking The Economy: Investing Alternatives:A Policy Hackathon (Oakland Uptown)

Please join our friends at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) to hack California's securities laws and open doors to community-sourced capital for our local businesses (and perhaps for investment in cohousing neighborhoods/ecovillages, too)!

Securities regulations have created a two caste system among investors: accredited (meaning: rich) and not. Accredited investors are assumed to be capable of taking the risk of investing in small local businesses, in farms, in new solar projects, and a wide variety of opportunities while such investments are rarely open to regular investors due to our existing legal regime.

Cutting Edge Capital CEO and attorney Jenny Kassan will give an overview of current laws and options, including an update on how she has helped businesses to navigate the legal hurdles and do Direct Public Offering (DPOs). Janelle Orsi and Christina Oatfield of the Sustainable Economies Law Center will then give you the scoop on California's current crowdfunding legislation (AB 2096), discuss its possibilities and limitations, and lead a brainstorm of proposals for a potential 2015 bill to create more nuanced and easy-to-navigate crowdfunding laws for California.

EBCOHO Note: this is not a cohousing-focussed event and we are not an official sponsor (although our statewide arm, Cohousing California, is a SELC Sustainers Circle member, but we believe that participating in the conversations leading to crowdfunding bills can make it easier to do Slow Money for Homes initiatives that can make cohousing development easier in CA.


Jenny Kassan has over eighteen years of experience as an attorney for and creator of social enterprises.  She is the CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, a consulting firm that helps social ventures raise capital in alignment with their goals and values.  Jenny is also an attorney at Katovich & Kassan Law Group, a law firm that serves social enterprise.  Her legal practice areas include small business start-up and financing, securities regulation, nonprofit law, and cooperatives.

Jenny earned a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School.  She worked for eleven years at the Unity Council, a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.

Jenny is the President of Community Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and social development of communities.  She also co-founded the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal information to support sustainable economies.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Post Carbon Institute.


Janelle Orsi is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), which facilitates the growth of more sustainable and localized economies through education, research, and advocacy to support practices such as barter, sharing, cooperatives, urban agriculture, shared housing, local currencies, community-supported enterprises, and local investing. Janelle is also a "sharing economy lawyer" in private practice, specializing in helping communities share housing and cars, form cooperatives, launch urban farming initiatives, and form social enterprises.

Janelle is the author of Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, and Local Sustainable Economies (ABA Books 2012), and co-author of The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community (Nolo Press 2009), a practical and legal guide to cooperating and sharing resources of all kinds. In 2014, Janelle was selected to be an Ashoka Fellow, joining a robust cohort of social entrepreneurs who are recognized to have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society.

Christina Oatfield profile picture

Christina Oatfield, Policy Director at the Sustainable Economies Law Center, works with a diverse array of stakeholders to propose and advocate for laws that pave the way to more sustainable, local and resilient economies. She managed the successful grassroots campaign to enact the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616), a cottage food law for California. Her policy work currently focuses on small food enterprises and cooperatives of many kinds. She serves on the Steering Committees of both the California Food Policy Council and Slow Money Northern California. Christina is pursuing an attorney license as part of the Law Office Study Program of the State Bar of California, which is an alternative to law school for aspiring attorneys seeking experiential learning and expertise in topics not often taught in accredited law schools. She studies with support from attorneys at Kassan at Katovich & Kassan Law Group in Oakland. Christina earned her B.S. in Environmental Sciences at UC Berkeley where she wrote a thesis about student-run food cooperatives and co-founded the Berkeley Student Food Collective. Prior to working for SELC, Christina identified and counted insects in an agroecology lab, worked for a tech start-up, managed a green retail store, planned events and was an assistant at another nonprofit organization.

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  • Raines C.

    Also, we had an inquiry from one of you about ride-sharing and transit. For any event on MeetUp, just click on the venue name and you'll see a map, and in this case see that it is 3 blocks from 19th Street BART (North exit). The free "B Shuttle" runs up Broadway in time to get you there, but stops by the end of the event. AC Transit's 51 bus goes here from Alameda and Rockridge BART. If you're looking for or want to offer a ride, make a public comment here and indicate what neighborhood you're coming from; people can click on your name and send a private message using the envelope icon to coordinate.

    July 26

  • Raines C.

    I won't be able to make it myself, but Betsy will be there. Be sure to RSVP via EventBrite to secure your ticket (RSVPing on EBCOHO/MeetUp is not enough): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hacking-the-economy-investing-alternatives-a-policy-hackathon-tickets-12219263145

    July 26

23 went

  • Betsy M.
    Cohousing Coach, Organizer
    Event Host
  • Tony S.
    Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage founder now at Mariposa Grove
  • Luke
    Supporting EBCOHO Member through 9/15/2015
  • Janelle O. +10
    Sharing Solution co-author, attorney & Supporting Member-1/10/14
  • A former member
    +1 guest
  • A former member
  • A former member

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