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  • Democracy Collaborative Newsletter Archive
March 12, 2020

Democracy Collaborative Newsletter Archive

Our monthly updates on community wealth building and the democratic economy.

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April 21, 2020
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April 2020

The COVID-19 crisis poses a double challenge: beyond the terrifying public health emergency, the vitally necessary immediate response has been an economic shutdown of unprecedented proportions. But that is only the beginning of our difficulties. When the medical emergency passes, we will re-emerge into a shattered economic landscape. The challenge of restarting—and in some sectors, even rebuilding—a severely stressed economy will remain, with the inequalities of wealth, power, and control we faced beforehand now amplified many times over.
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March 21, 2020
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March 2020

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks, we are facing unprecedented social and economic challenges and it is becoming abundantly clear that our current systems are woefully insufficient and inadequate. For instance, due to our profit-driven model of medicine, many Americans fear the economic consequences of going to the doctor if they are feeling ill or being tested for disease. Due to our lack of a social safety net, millions of working families are facing financial catastrophe as businesses close, schools shut, and cities are locked down. Millions more are being expected to work in increasingly dangerous conditions due to lack of paid sick leave and child care. All the while, financial markets are becoming increasingly volatile and many analysts now see a deep recession as an inevitability.
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February 21, 2020
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February 2020

Increasingly, people around the country and the world are realizing that the series of intersecting crises we face are not by chance, but by design. From staggering wealth inequality, to the looming threat of climate change and irreversible damage to our ecosystem, to surging xenophobia, racism, and authoritarianism, these crises are generated by an economy structured to concentrate ownership and power. And yet, many of the solutions being put forward focus on merely regulating or reforming the existing institutions that make up this extractive economy. The time has passed for simply tinkering at the edges of this system. Instead, we need to develop the architecture of a more democratic and just economy, and we need to do it fast.
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January 22, 2020
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January 2020

From all of us at The Democracy Collaborative, we wish you a happy near year. We are more convinced than ever that we are at the precipice of a political and economic transformation in this country and around the world, and we will be redoubling our efforts this year and beyond to see this come to pass. As my colleague Marjorie Kelly, Executive Vice President of TDC, recently stated in an interview with Laura Flanders, “the economy is designed for the outcomes that we have where three billionaires have more wealth than the bottom half of Americans combined. But a different kind of economy is growing.”
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December 16, 2019
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December 2019

As we look ahead to a new decade, it is apparent that our world has reached an inflection point. The old ways of operating simply do not work anymore and we face an uncertain and ever more challenging future. As The Democracy Collaborative’s (TDC) Director of European Programs Sarah McKinley remarked at the recent Meaning Conference in Brighton, England, “we’ve spent too long cleaning up the edges of a system that puts extraordinary power in the hands of a few.”
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November 20, 2019
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November 2019

Climate change is an unprecedented global social, political, and economic crisis and will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent political and economic challenges of the 2020s. As we explore potential solutions, we can look at our history for tools to catalyze action at the scale and magnitude we need. Our latest report, authored by Director of Research Thomas M. Hanna, explores the surprisingly rich history of nationalization in the US, demonstrating that there is historical precedent for leveraging the economic power of government to address large-scale social and economic crises.
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October 23, 2019
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October 2019

Earlier this month, The New York Times featured an article about the work of The Democracy Collaborative’s Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN), highlighting how this growing collaboration of 45 health systems is shifting the healthcare field to invest in addressing one of the root causes of poor health: economic insecurity. The article features quotes from myself and Director of Healthcare Engagement David Zuckerman, as well as leading voices in the field and local residents at the heart of these anchor strategies.
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September 2019

This month, I am excited to share two new transformative proposals that drive equity and affordability in the critical sectors of medicine and housing. Authored by Dana Brown, Director of the Next System Project, Medicine For All: The Case for a Public Option in the Pharmaceutical Industry, proposes a series of public interventions at various scales as a way to push back against privately owned drug companies that put profit over the needs of patients and communities.
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August 2019

I am excited to announce the launch of The Democracy Collaborative’s Climate and Energy program, which will be led by co-managers Johanna Bozuwa and Carla Santos Skandier. This program will build on our existing work in these areas and focus on the intersections between a just transition and the development of a democratic economy. Johanna and Carla recently authored “a transatlantic proposal” for making public power a core feature of the Green New Deal, which was published by the UK-based think tank Common Wealth.
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July 2019

At The Democracy Collaborative, we believe that community wealth building is more than just inclusive economic development—it offers a blueprint for how we can win the fight for an economy that’s equitable, not extractive. This idea is at the heart of a new book being released tomorrow, authored by myself and Executive Vice President Marjorie Kelly. Entitled The Making of a Democratic Economy, the book brings together stories from community wealth building initiatives that are shifting how our economy functions and broadening local ownership and control.
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June 2019

We are excited to see increasing support around the world for bold policies that broaden ownership and control over the economy. One such policy we have been working on at The Democracy Collaborative is Inclusive Ownership Funds (IOFs), which would require corporations to place a percentage of shares into a trust operated on behalf of workers. Recently, The Democracy Collaborative partnered with YouGov to conduct polling on these types of policies and found that 55% of respondents would support a policy requiring companies with over 250 employees to put 10 percent of their shares into a workers’ fund.
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May 2019

This month, I am excited to announce the official launch of the Anchor Collaboratives Network, which convenes leaders of place-based initiatives who are working to leverage the resources of anchor institutions to advance local, inclusive economic development. The Network allows the people and organizations convening anchor institutions to connect, share best practices, and develop new resources to accelerate this approach.
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April 2019

In recent months, I’ve been excited to see The Democracy Collaborative increasingly become a hub for the transatlantic exchange of bold proposals and ideas around building a democratic economy. We recently hosted numerous colleagues from the UK and Europe, including architects of the UK Labour Party’s inclusive ownership fund proposal—which would give workers an ownership stake in their companies—who recently briefed the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
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March 2019

This month, I am pleased to share our latest report from the Next System Project, Energy Democracy: taking back power. Authored by Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa, the report examines both the benefits and challenges of publicly owned energy utilities and the steps needed to bring about energy democracy as part of the fight against climate change. Johanna and Research Director Thomas Hanna also published an article in Jacobin on the need to assert public control not only over utilities, but the financial system as well in order to decarbonize the economy.
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February 2019

I am pleased to share the latest edition of the Metropolitan Universities Journal, published by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and guest edited by The Democracy Collaborative’s Manager of Higher Education Emily Sladek. The issue brings together leading voices from the growing anchor movement within higher education, offering insights on how to leverage university assets to build community wealth.
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January 2019

Happy new year from all of us at The Democracy Collaborative! 2019 is shaping up to be a critically important year in the struggle for a more equitable and environmentally sustainable political economic system. “If our goal is to design an economy that lives within planetary boundaries, we need to better understand the relationship between enterprise design and sustainability outcomes,” writes Democracy Collaborative Executive Vice President Marjorie Kelly in a recent op-ed in Fast Company.
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December 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on two incredible statistics. The first is that US life expectancy has dropped for the third year in a row, the longest sustained decline since World War I; and the second is that in order to avoid climate catastrophe, we need to take drastic action to curb emissions to 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030. These findings highlight what many in our communities are already keenly aware of—that our current political-economic system fails both people and the planet.
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November 2018

At The Democracy Collaborative, our goal is to surface and accelerate solutions that shift our economy so that equity and inclusion are inherent outcomes of, not at odds with, economic development. This month, I am excited to share a number of developments that start to give shape to the institutions and practices—new and longstanding—that point to the type of systemic transformation we are working to bring about.
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October 2018

This past month, I had the opportunity to attend The World Transformed (TWT), an international gathering of scholars, policymakers, and activists in Liverpool, England that “is about imagining the world we want to live in and planning how we get there.” The convening, hosted alongside the Labour Party’s annual conference, featured multiple panels from The Democracy Collaborative, highlighting groundbreaking work happening across the US and UK and the real, growing movement to bring about a more democratic economy.
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September 2018

Last month, we released a groundbreaking new report from Senior Research Associate Jarrid Green on community control of land and housing. It highlights the need to rethink our current housing system—rooted in racial exclusion and displacement—and instead implement strategies rooted in broad-based ownership and democratic control. With the release, we also launched a new series, Elements of the Democratic Economy, which will highlight the strategies and institutions that can form the building blocks of a more just and democratic economic system.
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August 2018

For the past several years, The Democracy Collaborative has been building a transatlantic learning and action network between our organization and like-minded colleagues in Europe. This dialogue has particularly grown throughout the United Kingdom. For me, what’s especially rewarding is seeing how this growing relationship is leading to the proliferation of new approaches to community wealth building. The latest issue of Renewal focuses on some of these shared learnings.
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July 2018

This is an exciting time at The Democracy Collaborative. First and foremost, I am pleased to welcome Ronnie Galvin as our new Vice President of Engaged Practice. Ronnie has 18 years of experience in community building, organizing, and advocacy, most recently serving as Executive Director of IMPACT Silver Spring and Senior Advisor to the Economic Justice Campaign at The Center for Community Change. I am confident that his leadership and vision will help us deepen our work to advance a more inclusive and democratic economy.
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June 2018

During the last month, The Democracy Collaborative convened two powerful gatherings of leaders who are working to leverage anchor institution resources to catalyze inclusive, economic development: the inaugural Anchor Collaborative Convening and the two-year old Healthcare Anchor Network’s bi-annual gathering. More than 200 participants in these two meetings demonstrated not just a genuine interest in learning from one another, but a commitment to creating new tools and resources to accelerate and deepen anchor mission work.
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May 2018

I am pleased to report that last week we celebrated the expansion of Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL), one of the worker-owned enterprises that is part of the Evergreen Cooperatives. ECL will be taking over the management of the Cleveland Clinic’s laundry facility, more than tripling its workforce (who are on an expedited track to becoming worker owners) and increasing access to wealth building opportunities for Cleveland residents.
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April 2018

Over the last month, staff at The Democracy Collaborative have been reflecting on the connections across our work in 2017 (read more in our annual impact report below). Perhaps most exciting is when stories of how our work positively impacts local communities emerge on their own. Take Newark, New Jersey: A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the ways that hospitals and health systems can leverage their hiring and buying power to improve resident wellbeing.
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March 2018

This month, I am pleased to share several new community wealth building developments ranging from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to the West Side of Chicago. Earlier this month, the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation launched Owíŋža Quilters Cooperative, the first business in a social enterprise strategy to create jobs and build community wealth on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Thunder Valley CDC, a participant in The Democracy Collaborative’s Learning/Action Lab, has provided investment to start the enterprise as well as technical assistance to help grow this women-owned cooperative.
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February 2018

We are excited to announce the launch of a new partnership with the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), a network of 100 of the country’s urban-based institutions of higher education. Building off of the work of The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort, the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative will focus on supporting participating institutions as they accelerate the adoption of anchor mission strategies such as local hiring, local sourcing, and place-based investment, both at their university and across the sector.
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January 2018

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Miami, Florida to join in conversations around building community wealth and health. Convened by Health Foundation of South Florida, Citi Foundation, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the event brought together leaders from local anchor institutions to envision what their collective impact could be in the areas of diverse purchasing, hiring, and investment. More than just discussion, those in the room generated concrete action steps and a shared commitment around leveraging their economic power to build prosperity in their surrounding communities.
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December 2017

2017 was a challenging year for this nation. It was a year of natural disasters and white supremacy on the march, a year in which much of our federal infrastructure for the common good was targeted, rolled back, or destroyed outright, a year in which our most vulnerable communities saw their suffering deepened and their fears multiplied.
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November 2017

I’m often asked if any city or region is deploying a full-blown, comprehensive Community Wealth Building agenda to rebuild the basis of their local economy. While there are many exciting elements of such an agenda in cities across the U.S., perhaps the most integrated approach to date is in Preston, England, an older industrial city that has been hard-hit by the national Tory “austerity” program.
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October 2017

We are delighted to announce a strategic partnership between The Democracy Collaborative and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU)—the nation’s largest membership organization of urban university leaders—to help scale the anchor mission approach within higher education. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to present at CUMU’s annual conference, the first that had an explicit focus on anchor strategies.
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September 2017

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Youngstown Iron Sheet and Tube Company’s Campbell Works in Ohio, a pivotal moment that illustrated the failure of economics-as-usual to protect local livelihoods. Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Next System Project Gar Alperovitz, who was involved in the effort to try to re-open the Campbell Works under community-worker ownership, contributed a chapter to a new volume commemorating this historic anniversary, published in Truthout.
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August 2017

For more than a decade, The Democracy Collaborative has worked with anchor institutions across the country to leverage their economic power to benefit their surrounding communities. This approach has transformative potential: taken together, just three types of anchors—hospitals, universities, and community foundations—represent around $2 trillion in resources that can advance inclusive, equitable economic development.
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July 2017

On either side of the Atlantic, overlapping economic, political, and social challenges—from climate change and austerity to the growth of reactionary populism—are producing powerful countervailing responses and innovations at the level of both ideas and action. In both Europe and North America, cities are where much of the innovation on alternatives is already occurring and where city-level initiatives are having a large impact and demonstration effect. In the current political climate, cities offer the most promising venues in which to successfully pursue tangible progressive change.
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June 2017

I am pleased to announce the publication of The Pluralist Commonwealth, a new book authored by Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Next System Project Gar Alperovitz. For nearly a half-century, Gar has been working to renew and rebuild the very concept of “community” as the foundation of a next American system. His vision is one in which democratic life is built from the ground up; broadly shared ownership linked to community transformation serves as the basis for equitable and inclusive local economies; and a new array of democratic institutions and local political engagement set in motion an “evolutionary reconstruction” of our political-economy.
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May 2017

We are pleased to welcome Valerie Piper as the new Vice President of Engaged Practice at The Democracy Collaborative. Prior to joining our staff, Valerie served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development at HUD, where she led the development and launch of President Obama’s Promise Zones Initiative.
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April 2017

In light of recent developments such as the newly released White House budget, we have redesigned our Rolling Back Inclusion tracker to capture attempts to dismantle the Federal infrastructure that supports community and economic development. Our hope is to bring light to the programs and agencies that might not receive regular coverage, but are critical supports for poverty reduction, job creation, affordable housing and providing much needed capital to disinvested communities.
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March 2017

Later this month, I will be travelling to the United Kingdom to keynote the ‘Transforming our Economy’ Conference in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, part of the Labour Party’s Regional Economy Conference series. I will also join members of parliament and other public officials at Co-operative Party roundtables in Manchester and London on advancing inclusive economic development. These events build on a growing number of exciting developments across the UK.
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February 2017

In the first few weeks since the new President took office, it has become clear that the chilling rhetoric of the campaign is translating into action. We at The Democracy Collaborative are deeply concerned that the new administration and the current Congressional majority will attempt to dismantle essential elements of the nation’s Federal community development infrastructure. If this goes forward, it will severely impact affordable housing, job creation, environmental justice, and capital investments in underserved communities, both rural and urban.
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December 2016 & January 2017

Happy New Year from all of us at The Democracy Collaborative. We hope you had a restorative holiday season, and we extend our deep gratitude for the difference your work is making and for your continued interest in our own efforts to build a next system grounded in community, equity, inclusion and prosperity for all.
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November 2016

Now is the time to double our commitment to inclusion, and it is exciting to see this shift is already taking place. Last month, I had the opportunity to keynote Chicago Anchors for A Strong Economy’s inaugural conference, Driving Collective Impact through Anchor Collaboratives. It was incredibly powerful to be in a room full of people working to advance inclusive, economic development in cities across the U.S. and to dive deep into conversations about how to focus anchor work on addressing racial and wealth inequity and how to sustain impact.
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October 2016

This past month at The Democracy Collaborative has been one of the most productive I can recall since our founding in 2000.
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September 2016

It has been a busy summer at The Democracy Collaborative. Last week, we released a new animation that describes how strategies such as employee ownership, public banking, and local procurement fit into the Pluralist Commonwealth, a systemic vision for a more democratic and inclusive society developed by Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz.
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August 2016

Welcome to our August 2016 newsletter. This month I am pleased to announce the release of Conversations on Community Wealth Building, a new book that features over 30 interviews conducted by Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb with leaders in the field of community wealth building.
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July 2016

I am pleased to announce that starting this month the author, attorney, activist, and former candidate for California State Treasurer Ellen Brown will be joining The Democracy Collaborative as a Fellow. Ellen is a founder of the Public Banking Institute and has dedicated her life to democratizing the global financial system. She will be assisting our team on a number of projects and initiatives related to banking and finance.
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June 2016

I am pleased to announce the release of our latest report, “Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative: An Anchor-Based Strategy for Change,” co-authored by Walter Wright, Kathryn Hexter, and Nick Downer. This report is the first in our new Community Wealth Innovator Series, in which leading practitioners will document community wealth building best practices and lessons learned.
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May 2016

This spring, The Democracy Collaborative catalyzed more than 30 teach-ins on college campuses across the country. Next System Project teach-ins were recently held at the University of Washington Seattle, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the University of Texas-Arlington. The history of teach-ins and their role in igniting conversations about systemic alternatives was discussed in a Truthout op-ed, written by Next System Project Co-Chair and Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz and Next System Project Director of Special Initiatives Ben Manski.
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April 2016

I am excited to share our latest report, Rochester’s Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation. Prepared on behalf of Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, New York, the report includes a feasibility analysis and implementation plan for the creation of employee-owned businesses in targeted low-income neighborhoods. The Democracy Collaborative will continue to work with the City of Rochester and other local partners to coordinate the next phase of the initiative and transition management to permanent local leadership.
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March 2016

This month also marks one year since the launch of the Next System Project, and one of the busiest months yet. We hosted the first Next System Project Teach-ins in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, released a new curriculum on system change, published four new papers on alternative systemic models, released a new video on economic democracy, and published several new articles and interviews.
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February 2016

The year of 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year for community wealth building. Last month The Democracy Collaborative, in partnership with the CUNY School of Law and the Surdna Foundation, hosted the Cities Building Community Wealth gathering, which brought together mayors, leaders of city economic development departments, philanthropy, and community advocates for a discussion on creating more inclusive cities.
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January 2016

We begin 2016 with a number of exciting developments, not least of which is a new case study and evaluation of Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives published by REDF. We also send heartfelt congratulations to our good friend, cooperative scholar and activist Jessica Gordon Nembhard on her recent induction to the Cooperative Hall of Fame.
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December 2015

This month alone, we released a new healthcare white paper co-authored with a Vice President of Kaiser Permanente, launched the Next System Project’s Teach-In initiative, and began planning for a New York City convening focused on our most recent report, Cities Building Community Wealth.
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November 2015

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest report, Cities Building Community Wealth, written by Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly and Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley. The report profiles the work of local officials who have taken up the community wealth building approach to creating inclusive and sustainable economies. Already, this report has received favorable coverage from Forbes, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Next City, and YES! Magazine.
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October 2015

It is with great sadness that all of us at The Democracy Collaborative join in mourning the passing of Detroit-based activist Grace Lee Boggs. Grace leaves behind a seven-decade legacy working for systemic change as a community organizer, deeply rooted in the labor, Black Power, environmental justice, and feminist movements. The Next System Project released their newest video which explores innovative models at the local level that have begun to lay the groundwork for systemic change.
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September 2015

Our latest report, Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth, written by Senior Associate for Policy and Strategy Keane Bhatt and Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb, was profiled in Forbes magazine, Shareable, and MassLive. Steve discussed the centrality of education in inclusive economic development in an article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), and last week The Democracy Collaborative hosted an online discussion on practical strategies to empower residents to participate in community economic development.
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August 2015

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest report Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth. Written by Senior Associate for Policy and Strategy Keane Bhatt and Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb, the report documents how community-based organizations committed to economic inclusion address critical questions related to education, training, and empowerment.
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July 2015

We are pleased to announce the re-launch of our Community-Wealth.org website. Our redesign highlights various opportunities to foster democratic ownership and build community wealth. To mark the re-launch, we have also released a new animated film explaining the community wealth building approach to building collaborative, inclusive, and locally controlled economies. We maintain the Community-Wealth.org website free of charge as a resource to advocates and practitioners everywhere. Help us keep the site thriving with a tax deductible donation.
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June 2015

Our Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, developed with the support of the Northwest Area Foundation, gathered May 28-29 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Learning/Action Lab brings together five Native American organizations from Minnesota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Washington to develop strategies for their communities that foster ownership of enterprise, increase access to local assets, and create and anchor jobs locally.
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May 2015

We are pleased to release the public summary of our work for the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA). Titled Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis, the report identifies ways area hospitals can use local procurement to support economic development in low-income, African American neighborhoods in New Orleans. We continue our work on anchor-linked development in other cities as well.
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April 2015

On March 31, we launched the Next System Project, a multi-year initiative designed to catalyze a wide-ranging discussion about the deep systemic challenges – economic, political, and social – we face as individuals, communities, and as a nation. The project is co-chaired by Democracy Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Fellow Gus Speth. More than 350 leading scholars, activists, business people, labor leaders, and policymakers have endorsed the founding statement, including Leo Gerard, Sarita Gupta, Danny Glover, and Ai-jen Poo.
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March 2015

We are pleased to release our first annual impact report, providing a snapshot into programs and initiatives in 2014, including an overview of our work with mayors, community foundations, community-based organizations, anchor institutions, and other partners nationwide. We hope it captures the growing breadth of the community wealth building movement and the sense of hope and innovation that we observe across the country.
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February 2015

The Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Collective released a free e-book, Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement, co-edited by Democracy Collaborative Senior Research Associate Thomas Hanna and cooperative development consultant Andrew McLeod. Among the contributions to the edited volume are essays by Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Fellow Joe Guinan. Additionally, Thomas’s blog on locally owned power in Nebraska was featured in Yes! Magazine.
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January 2015

Our most recent report—A New Anchor Mission for a New Century—about the role community foundations play in building wealth through impact investing, was profiled earlier this month in Forbes magazine. The Stanford Social Innovation Review also featured an article by Marjorie Kelly, co-author of the report with Violeta Duncan. In an Al Jazeera article, Democracy Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz argues for a guaranteed income to improve the plight of veterans, many of whom struggle with poverty and homelessness.
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December 2014

We have published four major reports this year, including Pathways to Scale, written by coop expert and thought leader Hilary Abell and A New Anchor Mission for a New Century, a survey of cutting-edge community foundations by Marjorie Kelly and Violeta Duncan. We also produced a guide to state and local community wealth building policies and An Action Plan for Northwest Jacksonville (FL). Our national staff partnered with local leaders in New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, and other communities around the country to design wealth building strategies.
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November 2014

We join in the celebration of the 25th annual Community Foundation Week with the release of our most recent report, A New Anchor Mission for a New Century: Community Foundations Deploying All Resources to Build Community Wealth, authored by Democracy Collaborative Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly and Community Development Associate Violeta Duncan. I hope you will join Kelly and Duncan on December 4 for a free webinar, where they will discuss their findings.
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October 2014

We are pleased to showcase our new animated video on the Cleveland Model, explaining how anchor institutions can support worker cooperatives and green development while building community wealth in low-income neighborhoods. We have also contributed a number of entries to Naomi Klein’s new website Beautiful Solutions which outlines some of the best strategies for building a more just and democratic world.
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September 2014

For more than a decade, The Democracy Collaborative has been tracking state and local policies that provide a supporting environment for the expansion of community wealth building models and innovations. As interest grows across the country, we have assembled some of the most important existing and proposed policies in this new report: Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources.
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August 2014

I am pleased to let you know that The Democracy Collaborative has just re-launched our organizational website. The site brings together our Community Wealth Building advisory, research, and field building work in one place for easy access. The site also features information about our ongoing “system change” initiative, co-chaired by our co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Fellow Gus Speth. You’ll also find many other resources: upcoming staff appearances, ongoing projects, videos, and, publications, as well as point of contact for media inquiries, among other features.
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July 2014

Produced on behalf of the City of Jacksonville, Florida, The Democracy Collaborative is pleased to share our latest report, Building Community Wealth: An Action Plan for Northwest Jacksonville. See below for more on this publication and video highlights of the Community Wealth Building Roundtable that we co-organized with the Mayor’s office and Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation, and Empowerment (ICARE) in March 2014.
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June 2014

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest report, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, by one of the nation’s leading co-op advocates, Hilary Abell. Last weekend, Hilary and our Research Director Steve Dubb discussed pathways to success for worker cooperatives at the Worker Cooperative National Conference.
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May 2014

Our staff continues to promote community wealth building across the country. Last month, I had the honor to speak at the City of Memphis’s 2014 Neighborhood Redevelopment Conference on Building Healthy Communities from the Inside Out.” At the end of April, I delivered the keynote address on “Closing the Wealth Gap: the Community Wealth Building Paradigm” at the German Marshall Fund’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities National Network Workshop in Cleveland.
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April 2014

Last month in Jacksonville, Florida, The Democracy Collaborative, the Office of Mayor Alvin Brown, and ICARE (Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment) organized a day-long Community Wealth Building Roundtable, attended by roughly 100 local leaders from city government, businesses, anchor institutions, philanthropy, the public sector, faith-based organizations, and community groups.
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March 2014

Last month, our co-founder Gar Alperovitz , spoke with Peter Buffett, chairman of the NOVO Foundation, about the challenges and opportunities of systemic change. Read more about their conversation below. On March 21st and 22nd, Gar will appear at A Celebration of Pittsburgh’s New Economy, to discuss strategies to democratize wealth.
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February 2014

We are delighted to welcome James Gustave Speth as a Senior Fellow with The Democracy Collaborative. Gus is a law professor at Vermont Law School, former Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, and founder of the World Resources Institute.
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January 2014

The Collaborative is delighted to welcome Marjorie Kelly to our staff as a Senior Fellow and Director of Advisory Services. Marjorie has authored several books and reports on ownership strategies and led projects on social enterprise development with both the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Since June, Marjorie has partnered with The Democracy Collaborative as Project Director for the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building.
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December 2013

For our December www.Community-Wealth.org newsletter, we have a host of new developments, including: Our Anchor Dashboard paper continues to encourage conversation about how best to measure the impact of an anchor mission for low-income communities. Tomorrow I will participate as a speaker on the Federal Reserve’s “Redefining Rustbelt: The Role of Anchor Institutions and the Arts” audioconference.
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November 2013

Join us in person or via webcast November 18 from 1 to 3 pm Eastern Time when Democracy Collaborative Research Associate Sarah McKinley and I present the findings of our new report, the Anchor Dashboard, at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Charles Rutheiser of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and HUD officials from the Office of University Partnerships will also participate in the dialogue on how anchor institutions can consciously assess their impact on low-income communities.
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October 2013

Our Anchor Dashboard paper, designed to help institutions assess the long-term impact of their economic development activities, was profiled in Next City and on the San Francisco Federal Reserve’s “What Works” website. The Dashboard identifies twelve indicators that anchor institutions can use to assess current local conditions and evaluate institutional progress in aligning their activities with community needs.
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September 2013

We are pleased to announce the release of The Democracy Collaborative’s Anchor Dashboard. This paper, and a companion research report, are based on extensive Democracy Collaborative research (including 75 interviews of anchor institution and community leaders). Our goal is to help institutions reflect and assess broadly the long-term impact of their anchor-mission activities, and particularly the extent to which they may benefit low-income children, families and communities.
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August 2013

The Democracy Collaborative, along with the Responsible Endowments Coalition, hosted a webinar on July 19 to announce our jointly published report Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment. The Chronicle for Higher Education released a blog review of the report, highlighting how everyone benefits when students, community organizations, and universities work together to invest in local businesses and sustainable economic development.
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July 2013

Mark your calendars for July 19 at 1pm when The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC) host a webinar presenting the findings of our jointly published report Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment.
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June 2013

We are pleased to announce the release of a new report, Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment, a joint publication with the Responsible Endowments Coalition. Nationally, institutions of higher education control more than $400 billion in endowment investments. The study explores ways students, faculty, community organizations, and college administrators can work together to help ensure institutional investment policies benefit the communities in which America’s colleges are based.
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May 2013

Today, May 8 from 4-6 pm (eastern) in Cambridge, MA, The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT present the findings of our recent case study: The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth. The report focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals that targeted more than $1 billion of procurement locally to create a “new normal” for responsible, community-focused business practices in the region.
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April 2013

Today, May 8 from 4-6 pm (eastern) in Cambridge, MA, The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT present the findings of our recent case study: The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth. The report focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals that targeted more than $1 billion of procurement locally to create a “new normal” for responsible, community-focused business practices in the region.
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March 2013

Today, The Democracy Collaborative releases our latest report: Hospitals Building Healthier Communities. Authored by research associate David Zuckerman, the report examines how hospitals strengthen local communities through engagement and economic development, as they embrace an anchor mission.
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February 2013

Today, February 8, The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT will release the findings of our case study: The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth. The report focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 Program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals.
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October 2012

Our Community-Wealth.org web portal has undergone a major redesign. We hope this will provide you with even better access to the vast array of community wealth building resources, innovations and developments across America and in many places around the world.
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July 2012

We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Evergreen Cooperatives website, which we hope will serve as a resource for community wealth building efforts in many localities. The site contains information about the overall Evergreen strategy as well as detailed information on individual Evergreen companies. One of these, Green City Growers, was recently profiled on Cleveland’s Channel 5 news program.
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April 2012

Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative Initiative has developed a new 6-minute video featuring Evergreen’s worker-owners and anchor institution partners. University of California, Berkley’s two research centers — the Institute on Urban and Regional Development and Institute for Research on Labor and Employment — have co-published a paper by The Democracy Collaborative titled Leveraging Anchor Institutions for Local Job Creation and Wealth Building along with a related issue brief.
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January 2012

Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative Initiative continues to gather momentum. Last fall, Ohio Cooperative Solar completed its largest solar installation to date: nearly 700 panels generating more than 150,000 watts of clean energy for the city of Euclid, Ohio. The on-line environmental magazine, Grist, published an interview. The Los Angeles Times featured an article on a cooperative development initiative underway in Richmond, California.
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October 2011

In a just published article in Dissent magazine, Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz argues that the current political deadlock in the face of stagnation and financial crisis may be setting the stage for something unexpected: a thoroughgoing long-term “evolutionary reconstruction” of the American economic system. In Cleveland, Ohio, the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative continues to expand its network of cooperative businesses with the formal groundbreaking on October 17 of Green City Growers.
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July 2011

An article by Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz recently appeared in The Nation. It addresses the significance of the growing “new economy” movement, suggesting that innovative models for sustainable growth and ownership have real potential to create long-range systemic economic change. Last month, the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank produced a video about the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, which was shown at the Fed’s June policy summit.
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April 2011

In a recent interview with Shelterforce magazine, Ron Sims, the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), called Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative model “brilliant” and outlined how HUD aims to revise its own Section 3 program to encourage co-op formation. Earlier this month, we were invited to give a presentation about Evergreen to the Cleveland TEDxCLE conference. The topic: Owning Your Own Job Is a Beautiful Thing.
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January 2011

Our latest report, The Road Half Traveled: University Engagement at a Crossroads, examines the challenges and opportunities universities face in realizing an anchor institution mission that leverages university intellectual and economic activity to benefit local communities. Now with its own dedicated webpage, you can easily access direct links to report sections, case studies, and more.
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December 2010

The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative was prominently featured in a nationwide PBS broadcast in late November.Fixing the Future, hosted by the journalist David Brancaccio, contains a 6 ½ minute segment on our work in Cleveland with Evergreen. You can access it on line here. Scroll down the page to find the segment on Evergreen, featuring operations manager Medrick Addison of the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry.
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October 2010

What is the relationship between climate change and population growth, on the one hand, and stabilizing cities and building community wealth on the other? The Democracy Collaborative’s latest report examines how new community and economic development strategies can help America meet the sustainability challenge.
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July 2010

The Democracy Collaborative has released a new study entitled Growing a Green Economy for All: From Green Jobs to Green Ownership. Authored by Deborah B. Warren, former Executive Director of the Southern Rural Development Initiative, and Steve Dubb, Research Director of the Democracy Collaborative, the report provides the first comprehensive survey of community wealth building institutions in the green economy. Featuring ten cases, the report identifies how policy and philanthropy could build on these examples to create “green jobs you can own.”
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April 2010

In tribute to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, The Democracy Collaborative has prepared an overview report titled Community Stability and the Challenge of Climate Change. Authored by Thad Williamson, Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, and Gar Alperovitz, Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative and the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, the study surveys the implications of climate change for our nation’s future and the critical role stabilizing the economies of our cities can play in reducing carbon emissions.
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January 2010

The Evergreen Cooperative network in Cleveland continues to garner widespread recognition. Recent articles have appeared in The Economist, Time, The Christian Science Monitor and Alternet. In the thirteenth interview in our continuing series of conversations with community wealth-building leaders, Hilary Abell, Executive Director of Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES), discusses her group’s growing network of worker cooperatives that are providing “green housecleaning” services in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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November 2009

“Something important is happening in Cleveland.” That was the theme of the community event that inaugurated the opening of the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry on October 21st - a worker-owned commercial-scale “green” business based in the Glenville neighborhood, one of the most severely disinvested areas in Cleveland.
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July 2009

For the past year, we’ve reported on our work with The Cleveland Foundation and our anchor institution partners in the Greater University Circle Initiative, a path-breaking program to create green collar jobs and ownership opportunities for residents of some of Cleveland’s most underserved neighborhoods. We are pleased to report that this month the doors will open on the first cooperatively owned business that has been created through the Initiative - the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry.
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April 2009

The Democracy Collaborative continues to work with the Cleveland Foundation and other partners (including ShoreBank Enterprise and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center) to implement a comprehensive community wealth building strategy in six of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods. As reported in March in the Cleveland Plain Dealer the Foundation has awarded a $2.25 million grant to help capitalize the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund.
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January 2009

The Democracy Collaborative continues to work with the Cleveland Foundation in implementing an innovative “economic inclusion” and wealth-building program in six of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Crain’s Cleveland Business reported on the initiative in early January. The Foundation has also produced a brochure on the economic inclusion strategy, which provides an overview to the entire initiative.
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October 2008

In support of our ongoing work with The Cleveland Foundation’s Greater University Circle Initiative economic inclusion strategy, ShoreBank Enterprise has established the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund to help provide financing to start-up cooperative businesses in some of Cleveland’s most underserved neighborhoods.
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July 2008

The Democracy Collaborative continues to work with the Cleveland Foundation to build wealth in Cleveland’s Greater University Circle neighborhoods while also meeting environmental objectives. A recent case study by Living Cities, Blueprint for a Green Economy, outlines this path-breaking initiative in more detail.
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April 2008

The Democracy Collaborative will be participating in a LISC webinar on “Linking Your CDC to Local Anchor Institutions.” Our nation’s capital is not only the seat of the Federal government, but also home to a network of local community wealth-building models and initiatives. This quarter we present the eleventh in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: Washington, D.C.
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January 2008

In November we published an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy highlighting efforts that mobilize colleges and other anchor institutions to use their resources to build communities and reduce economic inequality. Fans of NBC’s hit TV program “The Office” may recognize Scranton, PA as the home of fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin. But in the real world, Scranton is now the site of an ongoing community wealth building process that began in late 2006 following an economic roundtable of city leaders.
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October 2007

Our report on Linking Colleges to Community: Engaging the University for Community Development has just been published. The ninth in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: Miami, Florida. The fourth of our continuing series of conversations with community wealth building leaders.
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July 2007

We are pleased to announce our latest report: Linking Colleges to Community: Engaging the University for Community Development. University-community partnerships are becoming an important element in reinvigorating our civic life. Yet, overall, higher education remains a “sleeping giant” when it comes to strategically using its considerable resources to meet the challenges facing our communities.
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April 2007

The seventh in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth-Building Cities: Atlanta, Georgia. A new section of models, research resources, publications and more about Anchor Institutions. Here you’ll find the latest information about how the economic impact of place-based institutions including universities, nonprofit hospitals, foundations, churches, and museums is being leveraged to benefit communities.
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January 2007

Our updated home page features the sixth in our continuing series of profiles ofCommunity Wealth-Building Cities. The citizens of Durham, North Carolinahave implemented a wide variety of methods to build community wealth, including community development groups, co-ops, employee-owned companies, and university-community partnerships. This quarter’s newsletter also includes the first of a continuing series of conversations with community wealth building leaders.
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September 2006

Reclaiming the Commons - In the past decade, efforts to “reclaim the commons” — that is, create a sphere of economic activity that benefits the public by creating common rights— has gained increasing prominence in a number of areas, including the digital realm (“information commons”), environmental and natural resource protection, and the promotion of public spaces. This section highlights these innovative efforts to establish and protect a broad sphere of public assets.
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June 2006

Once again, we have added dozens of new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find the most recent additions. We also have added two new categories to the “Strategies and Models” section. State Asset Building Initiatives - These programs represent attempts by state policymakers to combine different models and approaches into comprehensive community wealth building initiatives.
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March 2006

Our updated home page features the third in a continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth-Building Cities. The citizens of Cleveland, Ohio have implemented a wide variety of methods to build community wealth, including community development corporations, city land banking, foundation investments, and community-university partnerships.
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Winter 2005

We call attention once more to our newest web section: C-W Cities. Our featured city this time is Portland, Oregon, a city that is home to a wide variety of community wealth-building efforts, including community development corporations, a community development bank, co-operatives, social enterprises, and city efforts designed to support environmentally sustainable community development.
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September 2005

This month, we highlight Oakland, California, a city that is home to numerous innovative community wealth-building efforts, including community development corporations, credit unions, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) companies, co-ops, community land trusts, and related wealth-building efforts.
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August 2005

This month, a new feature of our site is a survey of the high leverage community investment strategy known as Program-Related Investments or PRIs. Most of us think of foundations only as grant-making philanthropies. PRIs are long-term, low-interest loans to community development corporations, community development financial institutions, nonprofit businesses, and other institutions that anchor capital locally. One foundation estimates that $1 million invested in a PRI is the equivalent of $5 million in grant expenditures.
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July 2005

Now and in the future, just look for this symbol *NEW* to find our most recent additions. I particularly want to call your attention to one new feature: “New Directions in State & Local Policy” which showcases a broad range of wealth-building policy innovations and interventions from all over the country, including state-level “millionaires’ taxes,” living wage campaigns, and community benefit agreements.
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June 2005

I’m writing to announce the launch of a new Democracy Collaborative web site: Community-Wealth.org. As you will see below, there’s much to report. There’s also much more to explore at our new site, as well as in the “Spotlights” and recommended site links below.
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