This past Saturday we received the heartbreaking news that a fellow colleague and champion of community capital causes had passed away, suddenly and without warning, at the age of 43. Liz Dahl MacGregor was an attorney in my town of Ypsilanti, Michigan and leaves behind her husband Ken and their two young children, Maggie and Gabriel.
While her passing has left our community devastated because of how involved she was here, there has also been a reverberation throughout the national community capital movement as the news spreads. She was one of only a handful of attorneys in Michigan that worked on sustainable economy law, specializing specifically in cooperative law. She helped shaped the movement here in Michigan and worked relentlessly to help bring legal services to groups of people who wanted to start and grow coops.
Liz was a fellow with the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland, California and had just been awarded a fellowship with the Center for Community-Based Enterprise in Detroit. She had a long list of roles and causes she helped shepard in our town as well, including as the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op past board President, a member of the City Planning Commission, a member of the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council, a founding member of the hOur Exchange Ypsilanti time bank, and she provided council, time, and energy to dozens of others who like her had a vision for a better future. Liz dedicated her life to causes of justice and equity, while at the same time being the best wife and mother she could be to her family.
While there is no other Liz, there are thousands of people in communities like ours across the U.S., people like Liz who are making the sacrifices, building the connections, putting bold ideas out there, and traveling roads their neighbors have never traveled, all in the pursuit of a generative economy that serves everyone. Liz was energized by NC3’s work and she gave input for next year’s ComCap conference, which is coming to Detroit. Part of the reason why NC3 came together over the past couple of years is because all of us as individuals share a journey in this movement and if we’re connected we can commune around that shared experience, even if we’re thousands of miles apart. I hope all the Liz’s in our country feel that connection as they find their way to this tribe.
Liz’s passing hits home for me personally, but it also hits home for our community capital community. I would like to take this moment to pause, reflect, and say ‘thank you’, ‘you are not alone’, and ‘I love you’ to all of our allies in the field. You are what makes our communities vibrant and just, and our future one that I am confident will serve us all. Let’s make each new day another opportunity to make this world a better place, as Liz Dahl MacGregor did with every day of her life.
Peace be with her family and community, and with you.
Board Chair, NC3