Farhad Ebrahimi: Widening Our Circles for a Just Transition Toward a Regenerative Economy

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.


Farhad Ebrahimi is the founder and chair of the Chorus Foundation, which works for a just transition to a regenerative economy in the United States. The Chorus Foundation supports communities on the front lines of the old, extractive economy to build new bases of political, economic, and cultural power for systemic change.

Farhad’s family history has been defined by multiple cultures, nationalities, political revolutions, and refugee experiences. To say that his parents talked politics at home when he was growing up would be an understatement, and the experience of being a first­-generation Iranian American throughout the 1980s had a profound impact on Farhad in ways that he’s still unpacking. These early experiences – combined with a lifelong love of punk and subversive art in general – have defined a political trajectory that’s informed both his personal and professional outlook.

Through his work with Chorus, Farhad is most interested in the question of how philanthropy might play a role in putting itself out of business. Which is to say, how can the redistribution of consolidated wealth support the transition to a world in which such wealth is no longer extracted and consolidated in the first place? It is in this context that Chorus will be spending down its entire endowment by 2023.

Farhad serves on the boards of the Democracy Alliance and the Wildfire Project. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics with Computer Science, and currently lives in Brooklyn.

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Some highlights from Shawn’s interview with Farhad include:

  • How Farhad’s unique mixed-race family and background in punk music and art informs his work with the Chorus Foundation

  • Spending time with and funding communities directly impacted by climate change and resource extraction resulting in support for the Just Transition framework and 3 key learnings: 1) social change requires social movements 2) systemic problems require systems systemic solutions 3) local place-based engagement is where it all comes together

  • How and why philanthropy should be putting itself out of business in order to realize a regenerative and just economy

  • A closer look at the communities and enterprises the Chorus Foundation supports

 

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Shawn Berry is a Partner at LIFT Economy, where he works as an organizational strategist inspired to harness the power of business to create resilient local economies as patterns to be documented, open sourced, scaled globally and adapted regionally.

LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Shawn on Twitter @sd_berry or email him shawn@lifteconomy.com.