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Sara Horowitz      

Founder & Executive Director of Freelancers Union

As the founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union – and CEO of the social-purpose Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC) – Sara has been helping workers solve their problems for nearly two decades. A MacArthur Foundation "Genius" fellow, Sara has long been a leading voice for the emerging economy, early on recognizing the vital role independent workers would play in our networked, interconnected world. Today, 42 million Americans are "independent workers" – about one-third of the entire workforce. With a membership of more than 246k nationwide, Freelancers Union is building a new form of unionism through creative, cooperative, market-based solutions to pressing social problems.

Sara was named one of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes in 2011, a Top 25 Most Promising Social Entrepreneur by Businessweek in 2011, one of Crain's New York's "25 People to Watch" in 2010, and one of 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow at the 2002 World Economic Forum.

In 1995, Sara used her experience as a union organizer and labor lawyer to found the nonprofit Working Today, which brings freelancers together to create power in markets and power in politics. That led directly to the creation of the nonprofit Freelancers Union in 2003, which promotes the needs of the independent workforce through advocacy, education, and services.

Sara recognized that one of the biggest challenges facing independent workers is the lack of access to affordable health insurance. Rather than wait on the government or private sector to solve this problem, Sara launched FIC in 2008, a social-purpose business wholly owned by Freelancers Union, whose mission is to provide independent workers with high-quality, affordable, and portable health insurance. FIC has been profitable since its second year and now insures close to 25,000 New Yorkers with revenues approaching $100 million.

FIC is a Certified B Corporation™, having met high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

Sara has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Wired, and Fast Company; PBS's NOW and NewsHour; and National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered.

Sara is the daughter of a labor lawyer and granddaughter of a former vice president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. After studying at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where she was awarded its labor prize, she earned a law degree cum laude from the SUNY Buffalo Law School and a master's degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a life-long resident of Brooklyn, NY.

She and the rest of the Union were instrumental in the passage of a historic bill in New York City: the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. Designed to protect freelance workers from nonpayment, the bill was passed unanimously by the City Council and is expected to be signed by Mayor de Blasio in the next few weeks. Traditionally lacking the protections of full-time workers, freelancers now make up 35 percent of the workforce nationally and 38 percent in New York City.

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Sara Horowitz

Sara Horowitz is the founder of Freelancers Union, a nonprofit organization representing the interests and concerns of the independent workforce. Read more ...

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