Skip to main content
Default Image

The Democracy Collaborative announces new partnerships in New Orleans

Media Contact:

John Duda
(202) 559-1473 x102

September 24th, 2014                                                     

For Immediate Release

The need for transformative and racially inclusive economic development in New Orleans was recently highlighted in a report from the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy: over half the African American men in New Orleans are unemployed.  To respond to this challenge, Mayor Landrieu has launched an Economic Opportunity Strategy to create jobs, build wealth, and develop a stronger local economy.

“As we continue to make New Orleans the city we’ve always dreamed of, we will not leave anyone behind. The Economic Opportunity Strategy is our new comprehensive approach to creating pathways to prosperity for our citizens,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We will recruit, train and connect the hardest to employ to real jobs and match local businesses to strategic opportunities for growth. With the help of our partners from every sector, the Economic Opportunity Strategy will pave the way for New Orleans to close the income gap and create equity for all New Orleanians.”

Through the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), and in partnership with DMM & Associates, a local woman-owned firm specializing in disadvantaged business enterprise, The Democracy Collaborative will explore how best to use New Orlean’s anchor institutions to benefit the city’s most underserved communities. 

This work will build off our preliminary study and initial interviews with New Orleans anchor institution leaders conducted earlier this year at the request of Mayor Landrieu, with funding through the Fund for Louisiana.  In that study, we determined that anchors in New Orleans spend over $2 billion every year procuring the goods and services they need—not including the considerable amounts they spend on personnel. Additionally, our study highlighted that major anchor construction projects totaling $6 billion will be carried out in New Orleans over the next decade, representing a potential 30,000 construction job-years that could help address the crisis of unemployment facing the city’s hardest-hit communities.

The Collaborative will work to identify the strategic opportunities to leverage the considerable resources of anchor institutions in the service of building a more equitable and inclusive economy for New Orleans, with a focus on connecting the procurement needs of local hospitals and universities to the locally owned small businesses that can create much needed job opportunities. 

Anchor institutions are the focus of the Mayor’s entire Economic Opportunity Strategy, whose goals are to:

  • Establish a collaborative of local anchor institutions committed to expanding economic opportunity to disadvantaged job seekers and businesses.
  • Create a workforce intermediary that connects disadvantaged job seekers to employment opportunities through anchor institutions, providing case management, foundational skills training and supportive services.
  • Create a procurement intermediary that connects qualified disadvantaged businesses to contracting opportunities through anchor institutions.
  • Create a worker-owned cooperative that connects job seekers to employment by leveraging procurement and purchasing opportunities through anchor institutions.
  • Establish and align customized job training based on employer needs that prepares disadvantaged job seekers for in-demand jobs through anchor institutions and major infrastructure projects.

“Increasingly, hospitals and other anchors are beginning to ask themselves how they can do business in new ways that produce significant benefit to the communities in which they are rooted,” said Ted Howard, Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative. “Mayor Landrieu has made a top priority of creating employment opportunities for all New Orleans residents, particularly the 52 percent of African American  males who are unemployed. We look forward to working with the city’s healthcare sector to find creative ways they can help to address this challenge.”


Additional information:

Mayor Landrieu’s Press Release:

NOLABA Press Release:

About The Democracy Collaborative

Since 1999, The Democracy Collaborative has worked to build the deep knowledge, theoretical analysis, practical tools, network of relationships and innovative models representing a new paradigm of economic development in the United States: community wealth building. The hallmarks of this new approach include refocusing public and private resources to expand individual and family assets, broadening ownership over capital, restoring community banks and other local economic institutions, and returning wealth to communities as an essential strategy to end generational poverty, create quality jobs with family-supporting wages, stabilize communities and their environment, and address our nation’s growing wealth inequality.  For more information, please visit

About the New Orleans Business Alliance

The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is the official public-private partnership tasked with leading economic development initiatives for the City of New Orleans. NOLABA is a public-private partnership between the City of New Orleans and private investors from the local community. Its creation resulted from a long-term effort by the business community to adopt national best practices in economic development for the growth of Orleans Parish. The 17-member Board is composed of a cross-section of New Orleans leaders, including New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and a diverse group of business professionals. For more information on NOLABA and Prosperity NOLA, the organization’s five-year plan for economic growth, please visit


More related work

Default Image

Healthcare as a public service: Redesigning U.S. healthcare with health and equity at the center

The Veterans Health Administration—the country’s only fully public, integrated healthcare system—has a lot to tell us about how a national healthcare service for the United States might operate.

read more
Default Image

Preston is putting socialist policies into practice

Labor movements must pursue a social and economic vision that can address the deep structural inequalities these pandemic years have exposed. Preston gives a glimpse of the exciting possibilities that collaboration with unions could achieve.

read more
Default Image

This must be the year of climate action—we've wasted so many

The climate issue has grown too large and devastating to ignore. We need the demand for action raised to the highest decibel our civil society can generate.

read more