Ricardo Samir Nuñez
Director of Economic Democracy
Building just and resilient local economies through the power of cooperative enterprises
Contact Ricardo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricardo S. Nuñez is currently the Director of Economic Democracy at the Sustainable Economies Law Center where he co-coordinates educational programs, legal services, and policy advocacy to create pathways for grassroots economic development. He endeavors to co-create policies, structures, and institutions that empower communities to liberate themselves from systems of economic and social oppression. He is on the board of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the California Center for Cooperative Development. He is also becoming a lawyer without going to law school through California’s Law Office Study Program (likelincoln.org).
Programs and projects that Ricardo has supported or led at the Law Center include the Worker Coop Academy, Co-opLaw.org, policy advocacy at the regional and state level, building a cooperative support ecosystem, and much more! Previously, Ricardo was a Rural Education Development specialist with the Peace Corps in Kasama, Zambia. Ricardo will be forever indebted to the strong, proud, and gracious women who introduced him to cooperative economics in the villages of Zambia. After serving in Zambia, Ricardo worked at Our Place Housing Solutions coordinating homeless rehousing and eviction prevention services in south Los Angeles county.
As the Cooperatives Program Director, Ricardo coordinates the Law Center's legislative strategies, popular education, and legal research around worker-owned businesses.
He is the lead coordinator for the Bay Area Worker Coop Academy, a semester long business Academy for worker coop entrepreneurs and worker coop developers. He also co-coordinates Co-opLaw.org, a collaborative national legal resource library for US based cooperatives. Co-opLaw.org is constantly being revised, updated, and added to, so let us know what areas you'd like us to research and create resources for! We are currently working with legal professionals and universities around the country to create a State-by-State guide for cooperatives enterprises. Please email Ricardo to let him know if you can support this effort!
He is also on the Board of the California Center for Cooperative Development and the Southern California Focus on Cooperation. He supports Southern California cooperative entrepreneurs and technical assistance providers. If you'd like to connect to the Southern California cooperative community, whether related to housing, food, worker, or other types of coops, please like the Southern California Coops Facebook page!
Ricardo also supports SELC's direct legal services programming, the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. The Legal Cafe is a program that provides direct legal support to individuals and groups creating new solutions for resilient economies in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and beyond. Ricardo works primarily in the Cooperatives and the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Programs and energizes roles within the Rethinking the Legal Profession and Work in the New Economy Programs. He also energizes multiple administrative roles within the Operations Circle.
Regarding the Law Center's distributed administrative responsibilities, Ricardo supports in social media strategy, intern programming, grant funding, and membership engagement.
Ricardo is not an attorney. He is becoming an attorney without going to law school through the Law Office Study Program of the State Bar of California. The Law Office Study Program is an alternative to law school that allows would-be lawyers to obtain their attorney’s license through a four-year legal apprenticeship. Ricardo is working with current and past legal apprentices to create a support, advocacy, and match making organization for legal apprentices across the United States.
Prior to Sustainable Economies Law Center
Ricardo began working domestically with cooperatives at the Los Angeles Eco-Village with the Los Angeles Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services (LAWORCS) Committee. LAWORCS is an initiative to start a worker cooperative incubator and resource for the greater L.A. area. Prior to LAWORCS, Ricardo was a Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Case Manager working with low-income families to stop pending evictions and re-house homeless neighbors in southern LA County, primarily in Bellflower and Paramount. Prior to his housing work, Ricardo was a Rural Education Development Specialist in Zambia with the U.S. Peace Corps. Ricardo led efforts in capacity building with 15 rural, up-country schools. His focus within as a RED Specialist was on teacher training, teacher monitoring, and strengthening administrative management systems. His heart, though, belonged to the two village based Women’s Cooperatives that he supported and co-founded. Working with the Women's Cooperatives displayed the transformative power of the cooperative model in action. Ricardo also worked in concert with multiple Farmer’s Cooperatives providing trainings on sustainable farming practices and connections to resources.
Ricardo is from Long Beach, California, and he doesn't mind if you know it. #StrongBeach!
Projects, Publications, and Interviews
Interview with Grassroots Economic Organizing (Spring 2015)
Ricardo enjoys bodyboarding, cycling, traveling, and the ocean breeze. He is deeply committed to family, friends, and community.
Education, Training, and Notable Achievements
Ricardo is a graduate of Cal State University Long Beach where he majored in Political Science (International Relations) and International Studies (Western Europe) with a minor in Anthropology (Cultural). He is also a graduate of St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, CA.
Ricardo was voted Orange County Weekly's 2007 Best Bartender of the Year.
Updated January 2019