Skip to:

Sarah McKinley

Director of European Programs and Next System Project European Representative

Sarah McKinley is the Director for European Programs for The Democracy Collaborative and the European Representative for the Next System Project, working out of her home-office in Brussels, Belgium.

In her capacity directing TDC’s European Programs, Sarah is building transatlantic partnerships to develop new community wealth building models and learning exchanges to advance the democratic economy in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. During her time at TDC she has managed the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, a multi-year initiative supported by the Northwest Area Foundation, assisting five organizations in Indian Country to create social enterprises and employee-owned companies. She supported the publication of An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building: A Lakota Translation and co- authored Cities Building Community WealthThe Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs, and Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

She has a background in community development and has worked with community development organizations at different levels, including with the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, a Chicago-based community development corporation, and the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations in Washington DC. While earning her master degree in urban and regional planning at Cornell University, Sarah was a co-author and coordinator of “A People’s Plan for New Orleans,” a bottom-up community development plan for the 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. She holds a bachelor’s degree in urban history from the University of Chicago.

Selected Publications: 

An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building: A Lakota Translation

Stephanie Gutierrez, co-founder of Hope Nation LLC, explores hows effective community wealth building in Native communities depends on an active process of cultural translation. Read more about An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building: A Lakota Translation...

Cities Building Community Wealth

Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley

In an era of persistent urban inequality and chronic unemployment disproportionately impacting historically marginalized communities and communities of color, new alternatives to the traditional economic development strategies that have failed to bring broad and evenly distributed prosperity to America's cities are clearly needed.

The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs

Steve Dubb, Sarah McKinley and Ted Howard

This study seeks to introduce a framework that can assist anchor institutions in understanding their impact on the community and, in particular, their impact on the welfare of low-income children and families in those communities.

Download the report and learn more about our work to help anchors measure their impact on community wealth.


Economic Democracy

Ted Howard, Steve Dubb and Sarah McKinley
Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices

Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb along with Executive Director Ted Howard and Research Associate Sarah McKinley contributed the chapter “Economic Democracy” to the two-volume encyclopedia, Achieving Sustainability, now available courtesy of Gale Publishing. They outline the history of the economic democracy movement, highlighting community wealth building strategies such as community development finance institutions and cooperatives. 

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. 

Recent blog posts:
  • The State of the Housing Market

    More than Just Streamlining the Mortgage Process

    In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that our “housing market is healing.”  Still he conceded that more needs to be done for families struggling to buy a home and to simplify regulations that prevent them from doing so. All of which negatively impacts our entire economy in the process.  He added that a bill before Congress would streamline the process of refinancing for responsible homeowners and urged Congress to take action to pass the bill. 


    Read more about The State of the Housing Market...