John Cunningham was born in 1949 and grew up on the coast north of Boston, in Marblehead Massachusetts. He has an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and graduate degrees from Yale University, all in economics. There is an unfinished dissertation on communal economics, as his fields of study were industrial organization and comparative economic systems. While in school full time he supported his family with software gigs at Dartmouth and Yale.
He left academia in 1974 to help found Shannon Farm Association, an intentional community on the outskirts of the Blue ridge Mountains in Virginia, where he lives to this day, with his wife of twenty years, Rebecca L'Abbe. John has three children by two previous wives.
He helped create a Mondregon coop, Starburst Computer Group, which dealt in computer hardware, software, and support. That lead to his involvement with Interact Systems, where he has provided technical services and support for about thirty years.
As a systems analyst and programmer, he has designed and written extensive accounting and database software for small businesses, in addition to polling software, and a brief stint working with meteorologists.
He has zero public involvement, but a lot of professional work with small non-profit organizations, in addition to forty years of participatory democracy and consensus decision-making experience at Shannon Farm. This includes the design work and implementation of democratic and economic structures within communal and cooperative settings.