From Here: Making Our Future

From Here: Making Our Future is dedicated to forming deep, inclusive relationships and partnerships on the Lower East Side of New York City that foster a new collaborative vision for economic democracy. Together we can understand the root causes of the Great Recession, share our stories of hardship and survival, move beyond the culture of complaint, and imagine alternative economic practices that support cooperation, ecological sustainability, and mutualism.


We envision being present and connected to community through person-to-person engagement, by embracing residents at this moment, and by working with their stories to facilitate the making of a future built on shared prosperity. 


  • To share our personal experiences of the Great Recession so that we are able to mobilize our emotions, build new cultural identities, and take ownership of a larger narrative that supports collective action toward a new democracy.
  • To educate one another about our economy in order to demystify existing economic relationships and to explore alternative economic models.
  • To create and promote a new set of economic relationships that supports a solidarity economy by active participation in alternative models such as credit unions, bartering systems, and food cooperatives and by incubating worker-owned enterprises.

Project Director Bio

Donna Gabriel Ellaby is an organizer, activist and storyteller who has lived and worked in the Lower East Side of New York City for many years. She has served as executive director, president and board member of a number of local and citywide organizations dedicated to social and economic justice. Donna, a former Revson Fellow at Columbia University, holds an advanced degree in drama therapy from New York University and is a graduate of Columbia’s International Trauma Studies Program at the Mailman School of Public Health.