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Steve Dubb

Senior Fellow

Steve Dubb is a Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative and has been with the Collaborative since 2004. Current projects include leading the Collaborative's Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort team and promoting the development of community wealth building policy. In addition to his research and project-based work, Steve regularly represents the Collaborative at public events and conferences.

At the Collaborative, Steve has written a wide body of work. In 2005, Steve was the lead author of Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems, published by The Aspen Institute. This report also served as the basis for the original website, which has expanded greatly since in its initial launch in May 2005. In 2007, Steve wrote a report on the role of universities in community economic development (Linking Colleges to Communities: Engaging the University for Community Development). Since then, Steve has been the author or co-author of reports on many topics, including community wealth building public policy (Rebuilding America’s Communities) and the importance of community wealth building in meeting sustainability goals (Growing a Green Economy for all and Climate Change, Community Stability and the Next 150 Million Americans). Steve has also co-authored a number of articles on political economy with Democracy Collaborative cofounder Gar Alperovitz and has written extensively on the role of anchor institutions (often known as “eds and meds”) in community wealth building. This includes being a co-author (with Rita Axelroth Hodges) of The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads (published by MSU Press in 2012) and, in 2013, leading the research team that produced The Anchor Dashboard, which aims to provide a framework for hospitals and universities to assess and improve their impact in low and moderate-income communities.

Steve has also been engaged in a wide range of project-based work. This includes working with Ted Howard in 2007 on the initial strategic planning that help lead to the development of the Evergreen Cooperatives initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, Steve has participated in writing a number of feasibility studies that seek to identify ways that area anchor institutions can leverage their purchasing strength to help create community-owned businesses and/or better support existing businesses in low-income neighborhoods. Cities where Steve has helped conduct feasibility studies and other consulting work include Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Jacksonville, New Haven, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. In addition, Steve is also part of the Collaborative’s Learning/Action Lab team that is partnering with the Northwest Area Foundation and Native American organizations in four cities to develop employee-owned businesses and social enterprises in Indian Country, both in urban areas and on reservation land.

Prior to his work at the Collaborative, Steve worked in various positions involving cooperatives and social justice work. From 1989 to 1998 he was a co-manager of the Groundwork Books Collective in San Diego, California, which operated a small textbook and bookstore business (sales of nearly $1 million a year). From 1999 to 2000, Steve worked as a researcher in the International Office of the Organizing Department of the United Steelworkers. From 2000 to 2003, Steve was Executive Director of the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), a U.S. and Canadian nonprofit association that provides education and technical assistance to university and community-based housing and retail cooperatives. 

Selected Publications: 

The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads

Rita Axelroth Hodges and Steve Dubb

Authored by Rita Axelroth Hodges and Steve Dubb as part of Michigan State University Press' series on Transformations in Higher Education, the book features ten in-depth cases and examines how universities, by pursuing an anchor institution mission to improve surrounding communities in cooperation with community partners, can positively impact the welfare of low-income residents.

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.


The New Alliance: Organizing for Economic Justice, Building a New Economy

Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb

This working paper, by The Democracy Collaborative‘s Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb, examines how “new strategies of worker ownership within a community framework can function as the linchpin of an approach capable of uniting economic justice organizers, progressives, labor, and environmental activists.”

Rebuilding America’s Communities: A Comprehensive Community Wealth Building Federal Policy Proposal

Gar Alperovitz, Steve Dubb and Ted Howard

Anyone concerned about the state of America's communities today must give serious thought to how public policy can support on-the-ground practitioners. This report from The Democracy Collaborative outlines an ambitious 10-year strategy to meet that goal.

Recent blog posts: