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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our latest e-newsletter. This spring we bring you a host of new developments and site features:

Ted Howard

Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative



Public Policy Can Expand Impact Investing
Impact investing has emerged in recent years as a strategy to maximize both financial and social or environmental returns. In Impact Investing: A Framework For Policy Design And Analysis, the authors examine how government might influence financial markets, either through direct participation in the market or through well-designed policies that enable targeted, private investing. Drawing upon 16 case studies from around the world, including New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), CDFI Funds, and the Energy Star Program, this report identifies a range of public policies currently in place, and suggests specific policy design and evaluation criteria for supporting impact investment strategies at a larger scale.
report-wood-thornley.pdf (8MB)

Local Food Production Generates Large-Scale Economic Benefits
What would happen if the 16-county Northeast Ohio region moved a quarter of the way toward fully meeting its demand for food with local production? The 25% Shift: The Benefits of Food Localization for Northeast Ohio and How to Realize Them suggests that if the region could source one quarter of its total food production locally, that action would generate 27,664 new jobs, increase the annual regional output by $4.2 billion, and expand state and local tax collection by $126 million, while increasing food security for hundreds of thousands of people and reducing obesity and Type-II diabetes. 
report-masi-et-al.pdf (2.7MB)

Alternative Economic Development Strategies Stabilize Urban Economies
Acute poverty and social and economic injustice in urban America is exacerbated by ineffective government and the reigning doctrine of gentrification and corporate redevelopment schemes, contends author David Imbroscio. In his latest book, Urban America Reconsidered, Alternatives for Governance and Policy, Imbroscio proposes a compelling alternative for remaking urban economies with an array of local economic alternative development strategies (or LEADS). Community-based development institutions, worker-owned companies, publicly-controlled businesses, and webs of interdependent entrepreneurial enterprises exemplify this type of alternative development strategy, centered on fostering homegrown, stable, and balanced growth in urban economies.

A New Vision for Business Enterprise Promotes Broader Stakeholder Participation
In The Responsible Business, new-economy author and consultant Carol Sanford advocates a complete, connected, systemic approach to responsible business that re-imagines business philosophy. Refuting the claim that business will “naturally” respond to social and environmental concerns based on consumer demands or governmental regulation, Sanford argues that firms must focus attention beyond shareholder return—but also serve its employees, local communities, investors, and even the natural environment. Through in-depth case studies, which includes a section on Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, The Responsible Businessdemonstrates how transforming corporate visions and missions not only leads to a better world, but improves companies’ overall profitability.



Living Cities Calls for a “New Normal”
Living Cities issued its 2010 Annual Report, which outlines a new direction for the leading national funders’ group in the area of community economic development. Among the new directions taken in 2010 was the launching of its Integration Initiative, which is supporting multi-stakeholder partnerships in five cites, including Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Newark, and the Twin Cities. 
report-livingcities.pdf (14.6MB)

Business Network Creates Green Economy ToolKit
Are you building a green jobs movement in your community? Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia documents best practices and lessons-learned from the Green Economy Task Force in their recently-released publication, Green Economy ToolKit. Packed with research, resources, and templates, the ToolKit features an introduction to green jobs and training opportunities in Philadelphia, followed by a “How-To” manual with resources, templates, and practical advice for getting started.

Rural Communities Build Community Wealth
A project of the Wealth Creation in Rural Communities initiative of the Ford Foundation, this report examines the different forms community wealth takes in rural areas. Exploring how to create and use community wealth indicators, reviewing case studies, and offering lessons learned and next steps, Measuring Community Wealthlooks at building a comprehensive framework of community ownership and wealth-creation models in low-income rural areas. 
report-hoffer-levy.pdf (1.5MB)

Shared-Equity Housing Shares Rights and Risks, Not Just Equity
Since their inception, community land trusts (CLTs), limited equity cooperatives (LECs), and other types of shared-equity housing models have evolved, as has the conceptual meaning of how these models operate. Previously, they were called “limited” equity housing, a term that focuses on the limitations imposed on resale value. More Than Money: What Is Shared in Shared Equity Homeownership? explores how shared-equity homeownership can protect affordability, housing quality, and community wealth by sharing the rights, responsibilities, risks, and rewards of homeownership between a low-income household and an organizational steward. The author, John Emmeus Davis, is also the subject of this month’s C-W Interview [link to John’s interview below, as well].
article-davis10.pdf (150KB)

Payments in Lieu of Taxes: Balancing Municipal and Nonprofit Interests
Payments made voluntarily by tax-exempt nonprofits as a substitute for property taxes, or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs), have become increasingly of interest to local governments under revenue pressures. This report provides case studies of several PILOT programs and a broader picture of PILOT use in the United States. Highlighting how PILOTs can provide critical revenue for cities with large non-profit sectors, it also discusses major problems with current collection models and how to avoid them. Offering general guidelines for when to consider PILOTs, this report also provides detailed recommendations for how to design PILOT programs that are fair to nonprofits while raising meaningful revenue for municipalities. 
report-kenyon-langley.pdf (4.4MB)

New City Strategies Build Economic Security for Low-Income Americans
This report describes the emergence of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition (CFE), an alliance of 11 city governments. Focusing on the opportunity presented to mayors and local municipalities for advancing the economic security of their entire city’s population through access to mainstream banking, financial education and counseling, asset building and consumer protection, this report explores innovative and proactive strategies to help people out of poverty instead of mere crisis intervention or maintaining safety nets. 
report-rademacher-et-al.pdf (5.3MB)

Bank-On Programs Bring Banking Services to the “Unbanked”
Many working poor live without bank accounts. Building Better Bank Ons: Top 10 Lessons From Bank On San Francisco explores the top ten lessons from Bank On San Francisco, a pioneering public effort that aimed to bring 10,000 of San Francisco’s 50,000 unbanked households into the banking system. Today, five years later, an estimated 71,000 starter bank accounts have been opened. Six states and approximately 70 cities are developing or have started Bank On programs, and in 2010, the Obama Administration announced that it intends to create a national Bank On USA initiative. Analyzing lessons learned to date, this paper reflects on how the original model can best be spread across the country. 
paper-phillips-stuhldreher.pdf (1.6MB)

Social Impact Bonds Aim to Shift Public Funding to Focus on Results
Current public sector funding models for social services like workforce training often pay for program-based deliverables (e.g., how many workers are trained?), rather than ultimately desired results (e.g., how many workers who are trained get jobs, and, if they do, do they earn a living wage?). Social Impact Bonds aim to free nonprofits to bid for government contracts based on delivering desired public policy outcomes, while allowing much greater flexibility on how they reach the desired results. By so doing, social impact bonds offer the promise of improved social services, increased innovation and greater cost effectiveness. 
paper-liebman.pdf (600KB)

Community Ownership Advocated in Renewable Energy Study
Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California presents the numerous advantages that come with a decentralized generation of electricity: including local community economic development, cost-effectiveness, minimization of environmental impacts, the potential to rapidly meet renewable energy targets, and increased system security. Author Al Weinrub also identifies obstacles to local renewable power and outlines policies that can promote its development. By prioritizing local, small-scale, decentralized renewable energy, this report argues, renewable power can support both healthy communities and equitable economies.
report-weinrub.pdf (1.2MB)

Report Evaluates Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy
The desegregation of the national education system led to substantial changes in the structure of public schools and sparked a community-minded approach to educational reform that continues today. This report explores modern educational movements in places like South Central Los Angeles and New Haven, Connecticut, among others. The general principle bolstered by this research is the idea that organized communities lead to stronger schools. “Smart education systems,” the authors contend, build on these principles by creating “networks of schools, community organizations, and services that promote high-quality student learning and development inside and outside of schools.” 
report-renee-mcallister.pdf (550KB)



Interviews with Community Wealth Builders
John Emmeus Davis, Founding Principal of Burlington Associates and Dean of the Academy of the National Community Land Trust Network discusses the history and present state of the community land trust movement in this wide-ranging Interview. Among the topics covered: the origins of the movement in civil rights activism, the sector’s rapid growth, innovation within the community land trust movement, and the challenges of remaining true to the movement’s community roots as governments take on a larger role in promoting community land trusts across the country and beyond. 
interview-davis.pdf (200KB)



The twenty-third in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: Memphis, Tennessee
Capitol of the “Mid-South,” Memphis is home to a range of community wealth-building institutions and initiatives, including community development corporations, university-community partnerships, and innovative land reclamation strategies. For example, LeMoyne Owen College, a historically black university, has helped launch a community development corporation that has fostered revitalization in Memphis’ “Soulsville” neighborhood, pictured here.



Green Jobs Advocates Aim to Build Movement 
at the Grassroots

More than 2,500 people came to Washington, DC on February 7 and 8 to participate in the fourth “Good Jobs, Green Jobs” conference. Sponsored by the Blue-Green Alliance, a group formed in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, speakers advocated a shift to grassroots organizing in states and cities across the country in an effort to build a groundswell of support for green jobs with the ultimate goal of shaping a new politics at the national level. 
article-dubb-green11.pdf (110KB)



American Sustainable Business Council
If the Chamber of Commerce largely represents the ‘old economy,’ the ASBC is an essential organization representing the ‘new economy.’ Focusing on how issues like sustainability and economic justice shape economic policy, businesses and business strategy, their multilayer approach engages their partners, the media, and businesses to influence and monitor policy making in Washington. The ASBC network now includes more than 70,000 businesses.
With articles, educational resources and a community portal for use by the coop community and those interested in coops, this website features free access to user-generated content. Their articles allow people to build on each other’s work and knowledge, creating a Wikipedia-like interactive encyclopedia on a broad range of cooperative subjects, from what cooperatives are to coops as community economic development and much more.

Fair Food Network
Based in Michigan, the Fair Food Network works to improve justice and sustainability in how food is regulated, grown, accessed, understood and funded. For example, in Detroit, they’ve implemented the Double Up Food Bucks project, which matches every $2 spent on fresh food by Food Stamp recipients at farmer’s markets with $2 of Food Buck tokens, thus incentivizing healthier food choices while supporting local farmers. FFN also provides grants and technical assistance to food enterprises, entrepreneurs and communities as part of Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development.

LeMoyne-Owen College CDC
Situated in the Soulsville neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, LeMoyne-Owen College CDC offers technical assistance, loans, and training to local businesses, while also supporting comprehensive community development in Soulsville. In 2003, the CDC began acquiring properties for the four acres of land where a $11.5 million Towne Center project is now located. The CDC envisions that the building will be 77,000 square feet when complete, with about 30,000 of that occupied by a new, locally owned grocery store. Roughly 30 percent of the remaining space is to be reserved for storefront businesses owned by community residents.

Public Banking Institute
Quoting Thomas Jefferson, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs,” the Public Banking Institute seeks to do just that by promoting the development of state-owned banks that can foster community economic development while reducing reliance on Wall Street. Publicly owned banks, like the enormously successful Bank of North Dakota, use a state’s assets as their capital base to provide financial services in the public interest.

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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