Cities are increasingly turning to their “anchor” institutions as drivers of economic development, harnessing the power of these major economic players to benefit the neighborhoods where they are rooted. This is especially true for cities that are struggling with widespread poverty and disinvestment. Urban anchors— typically hospitals and universities—have sometimes isolated themselves from the poor and struggling neighborhoods that surround them. But this is changing. Since the late 1990s, as population, jobs, and investment have migrated outward, these “rooted in place” institutions are becoming a key to the long, hard work of revitalization. In Cleveland, the Greater University Circle Initiative is a unique, multi-stakeholder initiative with a ten-year track record. What is the “secret sauce” that keeps this effort together?
The Democracy Collaborative, a national research institute dedicated to the development of innovative strategies for the democratization of wealth, seeks a skilled administrative and research assistant to help us advance our mission. Read more about Special Assistant to the Co-Founder (Washington, DC)...
The eyes of the country turned this spring to North Carolina, where the state legislature passed the infamous HB2 “bathroom bill” in order to overturn the efforts of the Charlotte city council to make public bathrooms inclusive and safe for transgender individuals. HB2—with its extraordinarily broad attacks on LGBT individuals’ rights to equal protection under the law—has been roundly condemned by everyone from grassroots activists to some of our country’s largest corporations, not to mention federal leaders from the DOJ and the White House. Read more about State legislatures attacking community wealth building...
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announces an amazing city initiative to build community wealth. We've been working with the Rochester municipal government to develop a plan to uplift communities by investing in worker-owned businesses, inspired in part by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. As this article from Next City describes, the plan involves the creation of a community-owned and -operated "Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation" to oversee the effort.
In this article for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's blog, Democracy Collaborative President Ted Howard and Kaiser Permanente Vice President for Total Health Partnerships Tyler Norris discuss the immense potential of hospitals to build wealth in their surrounding communities. In the article, Howard and Norris delve into issues addressed in their co-authored report, Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?. The Build Health Places Network also featured the article on their blog.
Rochester’s Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation: A Feasibility Analysis & Implementation Plan
The City of Rochester's Office of Innovation, under the leadership of Mayor Lovely Warren, has been coordinating a project to develop worker-owned cooperative businesses as part of a comprehensive wealth building strategy for Rochester, New York.
In 2015 the City engaged The Democracy Collaborative, a group with extensive expertise from similar work in Cleveland Ohio in connection with the Evergreen Cooperatives and the Greater University Circle Initiative. The Democracy Collaborative completed a study in February 2016 that documented incredible potential for the project, a high degree of community support including local Anchor Institution buy-in, as well as several potential business niches for future worker-owned businesses. The report also includes an implementation plan to move the project forward in two additional phases, the first of which was approved to proceed by the Rochester City Council on March 22nd, 2016.
If I may paraphrase my fellow co-founder here at The Democracy Collaborative, the political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz, I invite you to see this moment we are living in as the prehistory of a period of fundamental change: the next American revolution. As Gar emphasizes, behind every moment of seemingly sudden transformation—such as the New Deal or the Civil Rights movement—one finds the long, patient, careful work of people who prepared the foundation for that transformation. Read more about Looking back at our impact in 2015...
Position: Executive Assistant to the President and Executive Vice-President of The Democracy Collaborative
Location: Cleveland, OH
Evergreen Cooperatives program to help worker-owners purchase homes in their community highlighted by PBS & CNBC's Nightly Business Report
For more information on the home-buying program at the Evergreen Cooperatives, see this article from Yes! Magazine.
How can cities redeploy their economic development resources to focus on building a more inclusive economy grounded in broad, local ownership? How can policymakers get strategies like worker cooperative development the support and resources needed to reach truly meaningful scale? How can collaborations between communities, local government, and key institutional stakeholders build pathways to economic equity for the people left behind by the traditional trickle-down economic playbook? Read more about Municipal leaders share visions for cities that build community wealth...