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Field Building

We promote & communicate our vision, engaging in the collaborative partnerships needed to co-create the Community Wealth Building field.

The strength of community wealth building as an approach to lifting up economically marginalized communities lies its comprehensive nature: it cuts across traditional sectors and silos to create truly comprehensive strategies for community-focused economic development.  The Democracy Collaborative has and continues to play a key role in developing the community of practice and analysis that makes up the field.

Our 2005 report Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems was a key document in an emerging movement, bringing together diverse models for democratizing wealth and ownership in a multitude of different sectors.  The companion website,, quickly established itself into what is now an essential ongoing resource for the growing field, providing a single location that draws together important new developments from the different areas of focus that comprise it. Our monthly email newsletters and blog likewise highlights the latest and best publications and projects from across the entire field.  

Today, our researchers and community development associates spend significant amounts of time on the road, helping knit together a broader and stronger community wealth building field through panel discussions, conference presentations, intensive training workshops, and other conversations and exchanges at the national (and international) level.  Facilitating and participating in these exchanges with the wider community wealth building network helps us make sure that our advisory services for local policymakers and neighborhood stakeholders represent the cutting edge of best practice across the field.  And our experiences implementing and studying local best practices help us develop programmatic recommendations that help expand the horizon of the field as a whole.  

For The Democracy Collaborative, the success of Community Wealth Building as an emerging paradigm of community/economic development is directly tied to the strength and sophistication of a national network and field of practice; an infrastructure capable of bringing together experts, researchers, policymakers, community foundations, anchor institutions, and grassroots organizations in relationships of mutual support and communication. Our work as field builders is oriented towards building these absolutely essential links.