Marnie Thompson

Marnie Thompson and grandson Eli
Marnie Thompson and grandson Eli

Marnie is co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC), where she focuses on capacity-building for social justice activists and organizations and building a new kind of economy based in principles of cooperation, democracy, justice, and sustainability. This year, most of her efforts are focused on organizing funders in Shake the Foundations, strengthening the Southern Reparations Loan Fund, and providing technical assistance to the Renaissance Community Cooperative, a community-owned grocery store that eradicated a long-time food desert in low-income Northeast Greensboro. Marnie is a fool for knitting and weaving who has recently taken up archery. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has lived in North Carolina for most of her life. She lives in Greensboro with her farmer partner Stephen Johnson, their dog Uschi, and a bunch of chickens. Now that she’s a grandmother to six-year-old Eli and 18-month-old Ada, she’s on the road to Raleigh more often!


Ed Whitfield

Ed Whitfield
Ed Whitfield

Ed Whitfield is a social critic, writer and community activist who has lived in Greensboro since 1970. He is co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities.

Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Ed’s political activism started with attending Little Rock Central High School and beginning to do anti-war work as a teenager. Ed retired after 30 years in industry before becoming involved with philanthropy. He now speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development while continuing to be interested in issues of war and peace, as well as education and social responses to racism. Ed serves on the boards of the New Economy Coalition, The Working World, and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.

While he spends much of his time practicing bass guitar, Ed can often be found playing jazz or blues flute along with singer-songwriters and bands in Greensboro and wherever he goes in the world. He recently won the “Plays the Most Instruments” award at Greensboro’s long-running Open Mic night.


Sohnie Black

Sohnie Black
Sohnie Black

Sohnie joined the F4DC staff in 2012 as a community organizer. A native of Winston-Salem, she has lived in Greensboro for 35 years.

Sohnie brings with her a lifelong passion for justice and community organizing. At F4DC she focuses on food access, democratic ownership of natural resources, and ecological sustainability. Sohnie is deeply involved in the Renaissance Community Co-op project with our partners in Northeast Greensboro. She believes great cities are built through organized and empowered neighborhoods that are resilient, sustainable and democratic.

When she’s not organizing she can be found at home, reading and involved in a myriad of home improvement and home décor projects.


Mildred H Powell

Mildred H Powell
Mildred H Powell

Mildred Powell serves as the Organization Administrator for F4DC. Mildred’s career in Greensboro began in 1983 when she was hired by the Greensboro Housing Authority as Budget Analyst then as Assistant to the Executive Director. She later worked as the Community Relations Director for the Greensboro Police Department, Executive Director of the Greensboro Education & Development Council and Housing Services Administrator for the Greensboro Planning Department. She is a graduate of NC Central University and UNC Chapel Hill. She is married to Bob and they have two adult children. She is inspired by the work of F4DC.


Dave Reed

Dave Reed
Dave Reed

Dave is a community and cooperative organizer at the Fund for Democratic Communities. He is particularly interested in issues of democratic governance, technology development and use, worker-owned cooperatives, and community ownership of resources. His social justice work has included international human rights observing and community organizing, developing collectively run community centers, and organizing national speaking tours on a variety of issues.

Dave consults with nonprofits on website and communication development, has two dogs with his partner Mo, and plays the drums. He can often be found drinking coffee amidst the empty cups in his office.