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Connecting the Field

Building a stronger network of practice for community wealth builders across the country.

Over the past decade, The Democracy Collaborative has become the nation’s preeminent integrator, knowledge source and theorist within the Community Wealth Building field. Indeed, when we began our work in this field, the term “community wealth” was so uncommon that it almost invariably appeared within quotation marks whenever it was used. Today, a Google search for the term “community wealth building” identifies 115,000 entries, and groups that we have never been in direct contact with regularly use the term themselves to describe the work they do.

The current moment is a key one, with a historic opportunity in this emerging field to think boldly, beyond isolated projects and toward a comprehensive system-focused approach. Without such a vision, community wealth builders will continue to fight a holding action against negative trends. Our work to map out and co-create this new field, building connections between practitioners, policymakers, philanthropic institutions, and the public at large, is aimed at helping community wealth builders move beyond their project-based work to more fully address the deeper roots of the problems that are undermining our nation’s families and communities.

Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building

Our new Learning/Action Lab program helps amplify local capacity to deploy new strategies for building wealth in low-income communities, connecting grassroots leaders with the models and best practices they need for transformative economic development.  Our first cohort of Lab participants is bringing together five Native organizations for ongoing training and consultation as they develop new community-owned enterprises. 

Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

Joe Guinan, Sarah McKinley and Benzamin Yi

This new report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives and three student-led initiatives, as well as five potential future partnerships, where institutional investments are directed into local communities in a way that empowers low-income residents, develops small businesses, and generates sustainable economic development. 

Conversations on Community Wealth Building

Conversations on Community Wealth Building

There's a movement afoot to build a more equitable, democratic economy in the United States. It's a movement led by community-based activists who, each in their own way, are building new institutions to support social and economic justice, rooted in community-controlled land and enterprises. This movement has a name: it's called community wealth building.   Read more about Conversations on Community Wealth Building...