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Highlights

Evergreen Cooperatives take the spotlight in Cleveland, OH during GOP Convention

The employee-owned trio of social enterprises exemplifies equity and sustainability

The presence of the 2016 Republican National Convention cast a national spotlight on Cleveland, Ohio. Looking to highlight the struggles and hopes of ordinary low-income local residents, many visiting journalists found their way to the Evergreen Cooperatives, a group of three linked employee-owned social enterprises based in the Greater University Circle area of Cleveland's East Side. Read more about Evergreen Cooperatives take the spotlight in Cleveland, OH during GOP Convention...

Highlights from our Cities Building Community Wealth convening

There's a movement building in cities across the country to reinvent economic development with a new focus on community wealth. Earlier this year, with the help of the Community and Economic Development Clinic at the CUNY School of Law and the Surdna Foundation, we hosted a daylong conversation with leaders from city governments and community-based organizations to explore this emerging movement—here's a short video highlighting the key insights and inspiring takeaways from the gathering. Read more about Highlights from our Cities Building Community Wealth convening...

Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative: An Anchor-Based Strategy for Change

Walter Wright, Kathryn W. Hexter and Nick Downer

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?

State legislatures attacking community wealth building

Municipal policies for inclusive local hiring shouldn’t be illegal

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: Investing in Co-ops Builds “Stairway Out of Poverty”

Oscar Perry Abello
Next City

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.

How Hospitals Can Help Heal Communities

Ted Howard and Tyler Norris
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

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

Jessica Bonanno, Violeta Duncan and Ted Howard

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.

Looking back at our impact in 2015

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...

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