40 Under 40 The Class of 2012

Tim Fisk: 38

Executive Director, the Alliance to Develop Power

Fisk-TimTim Fisk was asked to provide a concise explanation of what the Alliance to Develop Power (ADP) does, and, more importantly, how it goes about that assignment. He chuckled at first, because explaining it isn’t easy, but then he managed to effectively sum up this grassroots organization, now with more than 5,000 members in low-income areas and communities of color in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.
“What ADP has done is develop an alternative economic model,” he noted, “that puts power in the hands of those who have historically been cut off from civic life.”
Elaborating, he quoted the ADP mission — to “create a sustainable community economy that leverages power, relationships, and resources,” and said this work manifests in many different ways.
“ADP addresses racial and economic inequalities,” he explained, “ and we do it in three very distinct ways — first, through community organizing, changing policy locally, statewide, and nationally on many issues such as workers’ rights, affordable housing, immigration, and more. And we also do it through community-building initiatives, whether it’s youth-tutoring programs, peer groups, access to health resources, our four food cooperatives, and others.
“And then, the one that’s getting a lot of national attention is our economic-development initiatives,” he continued, adding that ADP owns a number of assets, including 770 units of affordable housing, worker cooperatives, and its most recent initiative, the Bodega Project, which involves neighborhood grocers that will open across the region.
Fisk brings to his job boundless energy, imagination, and skills honed through years of work in the arts, first with the Foundry Theatre in New York City, where he tripled revenues, and later with On the Boards, a renowned contemporary performing-arts facility in Seattle, where he managed the bottom line while also handling marketing, branding, development, and creation of new revenue streams.
Today, he’s taking center stage himself, through innovative, nationally acclaimed work to create and maintain local wealth. In other words, his achievements have always been a work of art.
— George O’Brien