UU Ministers Finalists in Forbes Social Entrepreneur Competition
Rev. Heather Concannon and Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen of the Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperatives (UUCC) in Roxbury, MA, were recently chosen as two of six finalists in Forbes magazine’s “Under 30 $1 Million Change the World” competition for social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who are creating solutions to global challenges.
Selected from more than 2,500 applicants, the young UU ministers won $100,000 to support their work of growing intentional housing communities of spiritual practice, sustainability, and social change, which includes The Lucy Stone Cooperative, an intentional community living the values and tradition of Unitarian Universalism through cooperative home ownership.
The two ministers traveled to Philadelphia to pitch their ideas on the main stage at Forbes’ Under 30 Summit in early October, a gathering of nearly 2,000 young entrepreneurs.
In their pitch, Concannon—a minister at First Parish in Sherborn, MA—and Nguyen—also a UUA staff member—talked about the incredible support the cooperatives provide in a world where online interaction, apps and social media have replaced many in-person, interpersonal relationships.
“New technology, new data will only take us so far,” Nguyen said. “We need to change our systems. We need to build alternative institutions grounded in justice and equity.”
They also spoke to the ways in which their nonprofit business model aims to change the paradigm of how people invest their money.
“We offer the chance to invest in the kinds of communities that will be necessary to face the crises of climate chaos, white supremacy and capitalism,” said Concannon. “We are committed to a world where everyone who is not served by the dominant housing market has access to cooperative home ownership and a community of real interdependence.”
The group is now in negotiations to buy a second house in Roxbury for a new co-op, The Margaret Moseley Cooperative, that will focus on parents and non-parents raising children in community.