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Advisory

We engage with communities and institutions to connect them with innovative strategies, models and training to build community wealth in their neighborhoods.

Research

We build knowledge and leadership for the community wealth building field with cutting-edge research and analysis.

Field Building

We promote & communicate our vision and engage in collaborative partnerships to co-create the community wealth building field.

System Change

We work to raise awareness of the need for systemic change, designing models that better realize fundamental values of equality, democracy, and sustainability.


Our recent work

Community Wealth Building

Fighting inequality with comprehensive and transformative solutions for community economic development.

Cities Building Community Wealth

Cities Building Community Wealth

In cities across the nation, a few enjoy rising affluence while many struggle to get by. This situation is created in part by the practices of traditional economic development. Current trends threaten to worsen, unless we can answer the design challenge before us. Can we create an economic system—beginning at the local level—that builds the wealth and prosperity of everyone?

Inequality’s Dead End—And the Possibility of a New, Long-Term Direction

Gar Alperovitz
Nonprofit Quarterly

It is easy to be distracted by what passes for economic news these days, focused as it is on short-term fluctuations and assurances of recovery and revitalization. The simple truth, however, is that year by year, decade by decade, life in the United States is steadily growing ever more unequal.

Democratizing ownership

Developing new models to promote equity and anchor capital in communities.

Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb and Violeta Duncan

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.

Taking Employee Ownership to Scale: Learning + Design Session

Democracy at Work Institute, The Democracy Collaborative

On June 13 and 14, 2016 in Washington, DC, many of the nation’s leading experts in employee ownership, sustainable business and finance, community and economic development, and philanthropy came together in a Learning + Design session. Co-hosts for the meeting were Marjorie Kelly and Jessica Bonanno of The Democracy Collaborative and Camille Kerr of Democracy at Work Institute. The purpose of the session was to discuss how to achieve unprecedented scale of employee ownership by focusing on achieving an audacious goal: 50 million U.S. employee-owners by 2050. This report summarizes and expands upon the June meeting:

Connecting the Field

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

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. 

Vision and Strategy

Helping orient our work today as community wealth builders towards the world we want to see tomorrow.

Anchor Institutions

Engaging with eds, meds, and other anchor institutions to help them help communities.

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?

Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?

Healthcare’s role in creating healthy communities through increasing access to quality care, research, and grantmaking is being complemented by a higher impact approach; hospitals and integrated health systems are increasingly stepping outside of their walls to address the social, economic, and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, shortened lives, and higher costs in the first place.

Best practices and policy

Resources to advance community wealth building and help it scale.

Municipal leaders share visions for cities that build community wealth

A report from our gathering at the CUNY School of Law

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...

Community-Wealth.org

Our Community-Wealth.org site is an essential resource for practitioners and policy makers working to build community wealth.  For almost a decade, our site has served as a central clearinghouse for key research and reports from the field, cutting across traditional community development silos and offering a comprehensive guide to local wealth building strategies.   

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