This essay is the product of a six-year collaborative project to analyze the modern California economy and imagine innovative ideas to tackle extreme inequality.
The initial Leap Forward Convening was held in early 2014 in Los Angeles, with 65 organizations from across California and the United States, including economists, policy experts, issue advocates, as well as labor and community organizers considering a dozen innovative policy ideas.
The subsequent Next Steps Convening was held in late 2016 in Palo Alto, with 25 participants, including academics, think tank experts and organizers, grappling with the structure of the tech economy and a set of wage, income, asset and jobs policies.
mission and funding
The Leap Forward Project was founded in 2013. It is dedicated to facilitating the research and development of innovative ideas to tackle extreme inequality, end racial economic exclusion and drive enduring prosperity. The project’s fiscal sponsor is LUNA, a.k.a. Latinos United for a New America.
This essay and related workshops were made possible through the support of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, the Economic Security Project as well as the Irvine Foundation.
project founder, essay author
This essay’s author, Mark Gomez, is the founder of the project. For more than a decade, he was a strategist with California’s Justice for Janitors campaign. At the community organization ACORN he led campaigns to win renter protection legislation. At SOL, a Latino civic engagement organization, he created an innovative story telling workshop series to develop community spokespeople.
Mark studied history and economics at the University of Chicago and Cornell University. He enjoys watching films from back in time and around the world. He was born in Havana Cuba, grew up in New York City, began his career in Washington D.C. and now calls the Bay Area home.