Hilary Abell

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Hilary Abell

2014 Black Male Achievement Fellow
Founder of Project Equity with Alison Lingane

Hilary Abell 2014 Black Male Achievement Fellow

Bold Idea 

Build economic resiliency in low-income communities by developing scalable cooperative businesses, and creating local entrepreneurial ecosystems that increase worker ownership.


Project Equity builds economic resiliency in low-income communities by increasing worker ownership. We incubate and grow scalable cooperative businesses, and we catalyze change-makers across business, nonprofit, government and education sectors to integrate worker ownership into local ecosystems for economic development. Our place-based "impact and influence" strategy creates tipping points where worker ownership has demonstrable lasting impact on local communities. Low-income workers gain high quality jobs with above market pay, health care, professional growth, and ownership stakes within profitable companies. Co-creating economic stability and empowerment with black men and our diverse local workforce, we anchor quality jobs and wealth in communities.


Hilary Abell is co-founder of Project Equity, which builds economic resiliency in low-income communities by increasing worker ownership. She has worked in nonprofits and cooperatives for more than twenty years, advancing co-op development, fair trade, and community empowerment. As executive director of Women's Action to Gain Economic Security from 2003 to 2011, Hilary led the organization through a period of major growth, resulting in a network of five worker-owned green cleaning businesses that sustain 100 high quality jobs in San Francisco Bay Area communities. Since then, Hilary has been a consultant and thought leader in the growing field of worker co-op development in low-income communities, authoring a white paper called Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, published in 2014 by The Democracy Collaborative. Her consulting clients include leading cooperative developers, such as Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, and local nonprofits. Hilary graduated from Princeton University and is pursuing her MBA in Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School while launching Project Equity with co-founder Alison Lingane. Presidio recently awarded Hilary its first Big Idea Prize for Project Equity.

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