Our Staff

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Andrew Delmonte

Executive Director

They/them pronouns

Andrew is an organizer, facilitator, and business developer who believes in the power of communities and workplaces to govern themselves. A lifelong resident of Buffalo's West Side, Andrew has 10+ years' experience assisting cooperatives, social enterprises, independent small business owners, and frontline community organizations with planning and management decisions, financial strategy, governance, group dynamics, and conflict resolution. As a business advisor for the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Buffalo State, they launched the Social Enterprise Center, a project to support small businesses pursuing a triple bottom line. Andrew previously organized and advocated for independent businesses as President and Program Director of Buffalo First, helping to shift public opinion, public policy, purchasing dollars and community investment into Buffalo's local economy. Nationally, they serve as a representative to the Seed Commons General Assembly and as a member of the Seed Commons Sustainability Committee, which makes lending decisions for the cooperative.

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Michael Heubusch

Cooperative Developer

He/they pronouns

Michael is a community organizer and economist who works as a cooperative developer and educator for Cooperation Buffalo. Michael began their professional relationship with Cooperation Buffalo as an intern while they were a graduate student at Buffalo State College, where they graduated with an M.A. in Applied Economics in December 2018.Their areas of interest include cooperative economics, radical political economy, and macroeconomic policy. Michael hopes that they can use their knowledge and experience to contribute to the democratization of Buffalo's economy.

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Cecilia Johnson

Cooperative Developer

She/her pronouns

Cecilia is an organizer and social media manager who is passionate about working to build a new economy that meets everyone’s needs. After spending more than a decade at a large international bank, Cecilia was glad to leave behind the extractive, exclusionary, and profit driven big banking industry and join the movement to normalize non-extractive financing and democratize our workplaces with Cooperation Buffalo. During her time in banking, she served as the head of the company’s Latine Employee Resource Group in Buffalo, organizing cultural and educational events and fostering a sense of community for Latine employees. Outside of work, Cecilia served for five years as a board member and volunteer of a local nonprofit summer camp for young women; recruiting staff and campers, establishing policies and procedures, managing camper enrollment, designing camp activities, and working directly with campers as a counselor.

Our Board

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Andre Mayes

Director

He/him pronouns

Andre is the full-time Organizer at Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 71 based in Buffalo. In this role, he recruits construction workers and educates the general public on the benefits of working union. In his personal life, he is a proud father, husband and long suffering fan of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres who grew up playing the sports he revered. Coming up as a football and hockey player helped to instill in him the values of teamwork, cooperation and putting the whole above self in the pursuit of a goal. In his adult life, that goal is to make America a truly equitable society.

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India Walton

Director

She/her pronouns

India is a native and lifelong resident of the “city she loves,” Buffalo, New York. She is the proud mother of four awesome sons. Walton graduated from Buffalo Public Schools, Erie Community College and is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing leadership and informatics. Her toolkit having been enriched by AFL- CIO organizer training, Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo Training, Open Buffalo’s Emerging Leaders program, and Leadership, Organizing, and Action at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. India has grown into a fierce advocate for labor and community, working diligently with the Community First Alliance, Fruit Belt Advisory Council, and a broad coalition of partners in Buffalo’s historic Fruit Belt neighborhood to establish the first of its kind residential parking permit system in Buffalo and incorporate the FB Community Land Trust. Currently, India serves as the first Executive Director of the FB Community Land Trust. India is the First Vice-President of the Fruit Belt Advisory Council and serves on the Board of Directors of Locust Street Art.

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Adam Alas

Director

He/him pronouns

A native of Staten Island, NY, Adam developed a passion for learning and service as a high school student after working part-time at the Specialized High School Institute. This stuck with him though college, leading to him earning his BA in Sociology from SUNY Stony Brook, and his MSW from Washington University in St. Louis. Six years later, Adam has worked mostly in the non-profit sector with experiences as a DEI educator, college access mentor, community organizer and project manager. His hobbies include writing, traveling and attending concerts. Adam is currently studying the field of data science and hopes to use his expanding skill set to continue to support nonprofits, co-ops, and other mission based organizations. 

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Tori Kuper

President

She/her pronouns

Tori is dedicated to growing people, business, and community. Tori is a Cooperative Developer and Board President of Cooperation Buffalo and is also the Operations Coordinator for the New Economy Coalition, where she organized logistics and programming for CommonBound 2016 and 2018. She is part of the 2016 Democracy at Work Institute Cooperative Developer Fellowship Program. In Buffalo, she is a founder of BreadHive Worker Cooperative Bakery; former member, President, and Treasurer of Nickel City Housing Cooperative; and founder of The Buffalo Barn Raisers. She wrote the Worker Cooperative Resolution passed by the Buffalo Common Council in 2014, and is currently working to advance statewide legislation to support worker cooperative development. Nationally, she has sat on the Property and Education Boards for North American Students of Cooperation, where she sat on the Inclusion Committee and led board trainings in anti-oppression. She has led several co-op themed workshops, lectures, and speaking engagements, and enjoys providing new cooperatives with peer support.

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Kathryn Franco

Board Chair

She/her pronouns

Kathryn is a lover of community and connection. Having been raised in Buffalo, she is a proud product of Buffalo Public Schools and has witnessed the many changes to her city over the last decade. After working in the field of HIV/AIDS, Kathryn returned to school to pursue her Masters of Social Work and Public Health. She currently chairs the Buffalo Niagara Community Reinvestment Coalition fighting for racial and economic justice as it relates to the enduring impacts of redlining in Buffalo-Niagara. In this role, Kathryn helps to not only hold banks accountable for their lending practices, she also explores with community based organizations and members alternative ways of understanding and building wealth and ways to bring about a more equitable means of investment into our communities. 

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Harper Bishop

Treasurer

He/they pronouns

Harper is the Deputy Director of Movement Building at PUSH Buffalo, whose mission it is to mobilize residents to create strong neighborhoods with quality, affordable housing; to expand local hiring opportunities; and to advance economic and environmental justice in Buffalo, New York. He has a decade's worth of professional experience in community-based organizations. In that time, Bishop has trained and developed grassroots leadership, written and advocated for progressive policies, and organized for economic, social, and racial justice in his hometown of Buffalo, most recently as the Director of Economic Development at Open Buffalo. He has been a Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Economy Fellow, and Co-Chair of the New Economy Coalition. Bishop is a staunch defender of LGBTQ rights and firmly believes that everyone has the right to live their truth free from fear. He is committed to continuing to push for an intersectional analysis that affirms collective liberation and centers the lived experience of those most impacted by state-sanctioned violence and white supremacy. Bishop is a proud trans man, who lives with his partner on Buffalo's West Side and wholeheartedly believes in building the Beloved Community.