If you’re subscribed to CFNE’s Co-op Monthly or E-News, then you already know about our recently launched Co-op Navigator Fellowship.


The Co-op Navigator Fellowship

Thank You to Our Host Sites

In this three-year program, CFNE has partnered with Host Sites across the Northeast to hire, train, and mentor participants in the fellowship. Host Sites are community-based economic development organizations that support the cooperative ecosystem. These organizations are already doing impactful work in their communities; joining together creates the opportunity to support and amplify that work across the ecosystem. 

Host sites have already:

  • Participated in training and continues to participate in quarterly peer consultation sessions
  • Assisted with the search process for fellows
  • Provided onboarding to their fellow to introduce them to the community, contacts, and partner organizations

We look forward to continuing learning and growing with them.

Say Hi To Our Fellows!


Headshot of Kaciem Swain Name: Kaciem Swain

Pronouns: he/him

Connect with Swain on Linkedin!

Host Site: Capital Region Co-op Cnxn (Troy, NY)

Headshot of Desiree Nicole Lester Name: Desiree Nicole Lester

Pronouns: she/her

Connect with Desiree on Linkedin!

Host Site: Four Directions Development Corporation (Orono, ME)

Headshot of Steph Wiley Name: Steph Wiley

Pronouns: he/him

Host Site: Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust and Black Farmer Fund (Northeast Region)

Headshot of Varun Khattar Sharma Name:  Varun Khattar Sharma

Pronouns: they/she/he

Connect with Varun on Linkedin! 

Host Site: ReSET (Hartford, CT)

David headshot Name: David Molina-Hernández

Pronouns: he/el

Connect with David on Linkedin!

Host Site: Fuerza Laboral (Central Falls, RI)

These fellows are local to their Host Site and identify as co-op interested entrepreneurs and organizers. As participants in The Co-op Navigator Fellowship, they will serve their communities as Co-op Navigators

Since October 2022, fellows have been working with their assigned Host Site to co-op develop a cooperative project identified by their community. By the end of the fellowship, fellows will have built their projects up to eligibility for early-stage financing. This financing might look like crowdfunding, grants, or other forms of capital. As part of the program, the money would then be used to pursue more in-depth assistance toward launch or sustainability.

Stay Connected to the Fellows and the Fellowship

As we get deeper into the fellowship, you will be able to tune into each fellows journey through blog posts, videos, social media interactions, and other engaging ways. Connect with them on their social platforms and see how you can “connect to cooperate” with them on their projects.