Photo by Andrew Joslin

The Old Oak Dojo is stewarded by Deborah Frieze, an author, entrepreneur and social activist. After 10 years of working with leaders around the globe, Deborah was inspired to return home and build her own urban learning center. She stumbled across 14 Chestnut Place in Jamaica Plain in January 2012, and that was the beginning of listening to what this place would like to become.

Deborah’s focus on resilience began during her tenure as co-president of The Berkana Institute, where she encountered pioneering leaders who were walking out of organizations and systems that were failing to contribute to the common good—and walking on to build resilient communities. These leaders are the subject of her award-winning book, Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Nowco-authored with Margaret Wheatley.

The Old Oak Dojo is also the home of the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact investing fund that Deborah co-founded in 2013. The fund takes an integrated capital approach, combining investing, lending and giving, to locally owned enterprises that address the growing wealth gap and ecological challenges of our times.