BALLE - Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

BALLE (the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was founded in 2001 to nurture and curate the emergence of a new economy. With a focus on real change within a generation, BALLE works to identify and connect pioneering leaders, spread solutions, and attract investment toward local economies. BALLE provides a national forum for visionary local economy leaders and funders to connect, build their capacity, and innovate. Among the transformative communities of practice that BALLE hosts are a Local Economy Investors Circle, the Community Foundation Circle, and the nation’s only Fellowship program dedicated to cultivating the emergence of a new economy. By connecting leaders, spreading solutions, and attracting investment toward local economies, BALLE advances the Localist Movement to create real prosperity for all. Within a generation, they envision a global system of human-scale, interconnected local economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems to meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life.


Collaborating members of BALLE

Michelle Long - Executive Director

Michelle Long is the executive director of BALLE. Before going to BALLE, Michelle co-founded and was executive director of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, Washington—one of BALLE's first member business networks. Its membership, now comprised of 700 locally owned businesses, has made Bellingham into what NPR Marketplace called the “epicenter of a new economic model.” Michelle was named one of the West Coast's "top five leading ladies of sustainability" by the Sustainable Industries Journal. A regular keynote speaker, she is also the co-author of Local First: A How-to Guide and the author of the new Building a Community of Businesses: A BALLE Business Network How-to Kit.

Pamela Chaloult – Chief Opportunity Officer

Pamela is an accomplished professional with expertise in executive management, marketing, communications, facilitation, event management and organizational development. She possesses a passion for sustainability and the advancement of women leaders. Previously, Pamela served as Managing Director and COO for Renewal, VP of Renewal2 Investment Fund, Co-Executive Director of Social Venture Network (SVN), Communications & Marketing Director for California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), and Communications Director for Planned Parenthood. Before joining the nonprofit sector, she led the marketing and advertising efforts for the CBS affiliate KPIX TV & Radio and for a variety of film and entertainment groups in Los Angeles. Pamela is a member of the Women's Executive Network, Association of Women in Finance, and the Women Speakers Association. She is VP of the Board of Hollyhock, where she also Executive Produces the annual Social Venture Institute (SVI) conference. When not in the BALLE office, you can find Pamela racing after her 5 year old daughter at any number of parks across the Bay Area.

Nikki Silvestri – BALLE Fellow

Over the last ten years, Nikki has been a thought leader in creating social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. She had the honor of being named one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2014. Read more about her impact, awards, and media coverage.

José Corona – BALLE Fellow

As the leader of Inner City Advisors (ICA) since 2004, José has built a reputation as a leader with strong and innovative management and as a convener of public, private, and community leaders working towards fundamentally changing the way communities and all its residents benefit from economic development efforts. José serves as vice chairman the board of the YMCA of The East Bay and on the GreenLight Fund advisory committee. He holds a B.S. degree from UC Davis, and Entrepreneur Management Development Certification from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Born in La Piedad, Michoacan, Mexico, and raised by a family of farming entrepreneurs in Watsonville, California, José understands by way of practical experience how growing businesses have the power to transform communities. Read more about his impact, awards, and media coverage.

Erin Kilmer-Neel – BALLE Fellow

Erin Kilmer Neel currently serves as Deputy Director and Chief Impact Officer at Benificial State Foundation, where she supports overall Foundation operations and helps to protect, strengthen, measure, and communicate the social and environmental impact of Beneficial State Bank. Erin is also Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Alliance of the East Bay. Erin previously served as program officer of One PacificCoast Foundation, helping to build programs and provide strategic direction to one of the country's most innovative and socially responsible financial institutions. She founded Oakland Grown, Oakland Unwrapped!, and the Oakland Indie Awards to make it more compelling and easier for people to support independent businesses. Erin held positions at Oracle Corporation and California Resources and Training, and helped build grassroots eco-tourism operations in Thailand.  She has a Master of City Planning from MIT, a Master of Education from ASU, and has served on several boards, including AMIBA and the Oakland Merchants Leadership Forum. Read more about her impact, awards, and media coverage.


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