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Looking back at our impact in 2015

Fighting for a new systemic vision

If I may paraphrase my fellow co-founder here at The Democracy Collaborative, the political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz, I invite you to see this moment we are living in as the prehistory of a period of fundamental change: the next American revolution. As Gar emphasizes, behind every moment of seemingly sudden transformation—such as the New Deal or the Civil Rights movement—one finds the long, patient, careful work of people who prepared the foundation for that transformation. There were people quietly creating the infrastructure, helping people see themselves in new ways, running hopeful experiments pointing toward a better future, and all the while building to larger and larger scales. What they were building was, quite simply, the fabric of a new common sense. 

I can think of no better way to describe what it’s felt like here at the Collaborative over the past year. Our growing staff has been reaching more and more people and institutions, getting into their hands the tools of this new common sense—the tools of community wealth building. We’ve been convening mayors to help break local economies out of the cycle of poverty and disinvestment … working alongside major hospital systems to promote real visions of health equity … designing strategies for inclusive economies with small community foundations and some of our largest financial institutions. We’re also been deepening our analysis—with a research agenda that’s uncovered key levers to build grassroots power, and traced the rise of an emerging paradigm for inclusive economic development in more than 30 cities. With the launch of our major new initiative on “the next system,” we’re knitting together this powerful work on the ground with a broader, long-term framework, aiming to help our nation better understand how to confront the undeniably deep challenges—economic, ecological, and political—facing our communities. 

I encourage you, with the map and timeline we’ve prepared here, to look back with us on the impact we have had in this past year, and help us envision what we can—with your support—accomplish in the years to come. 

Ted Howard

President and Co-Founder

The Democracy Collaborative 

See below to download our 2015 Impact Report as a PDF.

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