Mission & Strategy
ILSR works with citizens, activists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to design systems, policies and enterprises that meet
local or regional needs; to maximize human, material, natural and financial resources; and to ensure that the benefits of
these systems and resources accrue to all local citizens.
Name:Institute for Local Self-Reliance
For more than three decades ILSR has worked in the trenches, working with sanitation workers, engineers, bond counselors,
small business owners, neighborhood organizations, city planning departments, city councilors, activists and others to develop
strategies and projects that enable and manifest local self-reliance. In the process we have learned what works and what doesn't.
- Sanitation Workers
- Bond Counselors
- Small Business Owners
- Neighborhood Organizations
- City Planning Departments
- City Councilors
- Communities: Our technical assistance often is requested by communities fighting against something—a huge new big box store, a garbage
incinerator, a high voltage transmission line, an unresponsive cable or telephone company. We work with them to overcome the
negative but at the same time we stress the positive. We provide the assistance needed to defer garbage incinerators and then
work in an ongoing fashion with communities to maximize recycling, reuse and zero waste strategies as a new foundation for
economic development. We assist communities in fighting against Wal-Mart superstores while building an alliance of locally
owned businesses and environmentalists and others that later focuses on ways to nurture the local economy. We work with communities
fighting extra high voltage transmission lines while at the same time helping them to maximize a decentralized energy approach.
We respond to communities dissatisfied by the glacial pace at which current telecommunication service providers are building
a high- speed information network by providing them the justification, information, and expertise needed to move toward a
publicly owned telecommunications network with universal access.
- ISLR Staff
- Nicola Chin: (nee Wells) Director of Strategy and Development -- Nicola brings eight years of experience in community organizing and organizational
growth to the Institute as the lead for fundraising and strategic planning. Before joining ILSR, Nicola served as the Director
for the Maine League of Young Voters where she worked with diverse young Mainers to build power for local and state organizing
campaigns and young voter engagement.
- John Farrell: Senior Researcher, Energy -- John Farrell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its
work on democratic energy. John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local
ownership of decentralized renewable energy.
- Lisa Gonzalez: Research Associate, Telecommunications -- Lisa Gonzalez researches and reports on telecommunications and how those networks
impact life on the local level. Her background includes experience in state politics, law, writing, and freelance journalism.
- Christopher Mitchell: Director, Telecommunications as Commons Initiative -- Christopher's work focuses on telecommunications — helping communities
ensure the networks upon which they depend, are accountable to the community. He has published several reports, articles,
and interviews while also offering technical assistance to communities around the country.
- Stacy Mitchell: Senior Researcher, Banking and Independent Business -- Stacy Mitchell directs ILSR's initiatives on independent business and
community banking. An advisor to business groups, grassroots organizations, and policymakers, Stacy produces research and
analysis, and develops policies and innovative strategies to curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.
She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and has written for Business Week, The Nation, Grist, and many other publications.
- David Morris: Vice President, Defending the Public Good -- Dr. David Morris is co-founder and vice president of the Institute for Local
Self-Reliance. He directs its initiative on The Public Good. He has served as an adviser or consultant to local, state and
national governments and to private businesses large and small.
- Brenda Platt: Program Director, Waste to Wealth and Sustainable Plastics -- Brenda Platt is a recycling expert and composting advocate,
and co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). She directs ILSR's Sustainable Plastics and Composting Makes
$en$e projects and co-chairs the Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative.
- Neil Seldman: President -- Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in 1974 and continues to serve as its President.
An economic development planner and former manufacturer, Dr. Seldman specializes in approaches to municipal and commercial
solid waste management that emphasize environmental quality and create economic development opportunities for small businesses,
community organizations, and other targeted populations.
- Leigh Crenshaw: Development Associate -- Leigh Crenshaw assists with ILSR's fundraising efforts. She also works with the Washington, DC office
on zero waste economic development and composting.
- Sarah Pickell: Finance Director -- Sarah Pickell is responsible for the fiscal management of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Having
spent the previous 16 years with The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Sarah brings over 25 years of financial
and administrative expertise to ILSR.
- Linda Knapp: Director, MACREDO Project -- Linda Knapp is a Senior Program Manager for ILSR, overseeing the Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Recycling
and Economic Development Officials, a recycling market development group funded by US EPA Region 3. Her current work focuses
on increasing on-farm composting.
- ISLR Board of Directors
- Becca Vargo Daggett: Financial Consultant
- Jolie Jones: Take It Back Foundation
- Kirk Marckwald: California Environmental Associates
- David Morris: ILSR
- Roy Priest: Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority
- Andy Reicher: Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB)
- Neil Seldman: ILSR