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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our April e-newsletter. This month, we have a host of exciting updates and features to bring to you:


  • Mark your calendars for May 8 from 4-6 pm in Cambridge, Massachusetts when The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT present 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. Over a five-year period, the initiative targeted more than $1 billion of procurement locally to create jobs, empower minority- and female-owned businesses and create a “new normal” for responsible, community-focused business practices in the region. Among the speakers at the event will be Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and University Hospitals CEO Tom Zenty. You can watch their presentations and others through a live streaming feed.


  • Democracy Collaborative staff continue to write and place articles on a number of important topics. In an article that appeared in the Neoprogressive and Truthout, senior research associate Thomas Hanna examines how public ownership by cities and states can promote democracy, participation, pluralism, transparency, and sustainability. In The Baltimore Sun, Gar Alperovitz and research associate David Zuckerman explore how a little known provision of the Affordable Care Act provides an incentive for nonprofit hospitals to engage in community wealth building strategies. Finally, an Association of American Colleges and Universities Diversity & Democracy journal article highlights how Research Director Steve Dubb’s recent book (co-authored with Rita Axelroth Hodges), The Road Half Traveled, “examines pathbreaking practices” by university and college anchor institutions.

As always, we have added new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find the most recent additions.
Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative




New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Book Offers Strategy for Transforming Our Economy and Our Politics

Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz’s new book, What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution, looks at why the time is right for a new economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin.  The book calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into a new system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely — and something entirely American. This new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities, and be governed by democratic institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, developed economy.   Read More»

Film Provides Common Sense Roadmap for Building a New Economic System


Accompanying his new book, Gar Alperovitz’s new film, The Next American Revolution, offers practical, politically viable solutions to the structural crisis plaguing the American economic and political system — from wage stagnation and chronic unemployment to unchecked corporate and state power and growing inequality. Pointing to efforts under way in thousands of communities across the United States, from co-ops and community land trusts to innovative municipal, state, and federal initiatives, Alperovitz marshals years of research to show how bottom-up strategies can work to check monopolistic corporate power, democratize wealth, and empower communities. Read More»








Recommended Reads

World Bank Report Warns that Climate Change Will Adversely Affect Poor

Reviewing scientific literature, this World Bank report warns that greenhouse gas emissions will lead us to a four degree Celsius global warming in this century. The report outlines a range of risks that a four degree increase could provoke including extreme heat waves, severe droughts and floods, a decline of global food stocks, and a loss of ecosystems and biodiversity — all of which would disproportionately affect the world’s poorest regions and undermine development efforts. The authors contend, however, that a warmer world can be avoided and advocate for mitigation, adaptation, inclusive green growth, and climate-smart development policies.  Read More»












United Steelworkers Bring Mondragon Cooperative Model to the Rust Belt

In a recent article in YES! Magazine –— whose Spring 2013 issue is centered on cooperatives in the new economy — author Amy Dean looks at how the United Steelworkers (USW) union is aiming to use employee-run businesses to create new, middle-class jobs to replace union work that has shifted overseas. Union co-ops differ from other worker-owned co-ops in that they allow worker-owners to appoint a management team and then bargain collectively with management. Citing the Evergreen Cooperatives as a model, USW has started pilot cooperative organizing efforts in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the Pittsburgh Clean and Green Laundry Cooperative and the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative. The latter already has one co-op up and running — an urban food hub enterprise called Our Harvest.  Read More»













Community Organizing Creates Jobs and Stabilizes Communities

Gamaliel’s latest study, Community Organizing As Job Creator, argues that more investment in community organizing leads to multiple economic benefits, including job creation and community stabilization. Examining the achievements of the Gamaliel network over the last five years, the study finds that community-organizing efforts within the Gamaliel network led to the redirection of $16.6 billion toward infrastructure development, education, and transit that created and saved a total of nearly 640,000 jobs. The report is intended not just for community organizers, but also elected officials, businesspeople, government agencies, and any advocate for the common good. Read More»











Report Shines a Light on Wasteful State Relocation Subsidies

A new report from Good Jobs First shows how state and local governments waste billions of dollars in subsidies used to lure business across state lines while businesses use job creation “blackmail” to demand greater rewards. The result is a shrinking tax base for states, reduced funding for education, infrastructure development, and job development as well as unfair job redistribution. After examining the states where these practices are most common and harmful, the authors recommend policies that reduce interstate job competition.  Ultimately, the authors call on the federal government to use incentives to curtail these practices.  Read More»








CW Interview: Rob Witherell


This month we interview Rob Witherell, representative for the United Steelworkers union in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In addition to working on contract negotiations, benefits analysis, research and organizing, Witherell has also led the United Steelworkers’ efforts on developing union co-ops and is the union’s lead liaison with the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation. In this interview, Witherell discusses what elevated co-op organizing to the top of the Steelworker agenda, commonalities between labor unions and cooperatives, how the union co-op model will work, what its challenges will be, and key accomplishments of the movement to date. Read More»


Featured Websites

Mosaic Solar

Mosaic is an online tool that connects investors to solar energy projects in an effort to open up and democratize the way clean energy in produced and financed.  A project of the Community Power Network, this website allows individuals and organizations alike to invest directly in carefully vetted solar projects that will not only maximize benefits for investors but also for the environments. Investors create an online account with Mosaic through which they can manage and track their investments, receive monthly payments, and then easily re-invest in new projects or transfer earnings to bank accounts.  Find Out More»








USDA Food Access Research Atlas

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Access Research Atlas is an interactive map that allows users to find food deserts, or areas where residents lack access to fresh and healthy food, across the United States. The Atlas provides users with highly detailed information and specific data on food access indicators for low-income and other census tracts using different measures of supermarket accessibility. It is an update of the USDA’s two-year-old Food Desert Locator and is intended as a tool for policy makers, local planners, and nonprofit groups.   Find Out More»

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Publication date: 2013-04-01

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