Jonathan Welle bio

Jonathan Welle

Executive Director, Cleveland Owns

Jonathan is a co-op developer and community organizer who fights for economic democracy as the Executive Director and a co-founding board member of Cleveland Owns. He first tasted the power of economic democracy in 2009 when a group of working class women in rural Dominican Republic invited him to join them in starting a cheese cooperative. The cheese was delicious, the solidarity even better, and he was all in.

After a time building co-ops in Peru, a year on President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and public policy grad school, Jonathan moved to Cleveland to learn — plot twist! — how powerful capitalists grow their power as a corporate consultant.

He left in 2018 to start Cleveland Owns with a close group of comrades. It was a much-needed change. In building an economic democracy ecosystem with Cleveland Owns, his dream job, Jonathan finds energy and purpose similar to what he felt working on the cheese co-op the DR.

He lives with his partner Molly in the Catholic Worker community in Cleveland’s near west side. You can find him playing volleyball with friends at Edgewater Park.