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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our latest e-newsletter. This quarter we bring you the following new developments:

  • 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, article-alperovitz-et-al.pdf (108KB).
  • 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. Initiatives are now underway focused on joint local purchasing by the city’s anchors, employee ownership, and community-based strategic planning. article-burke-myers.pdf (72KB)
  • Detroit, Michigan is one of our nation’s most economically distressed cities. But Detroit is also the center of a robust network of community wealth building models and innovations. This quarter we present the tenth in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: Detroit, Michigan.
  • We also offer the fifth of our series of conversations with community wealth building leaders: Maggie DeSantis of Detroit’s Warren-Conner Development Corporation. For more than 20 years, this CDC has effectively combined community organizing and community development work.
  • And last, but not least, we continue to add postings to our C-W Blog, where we feature items about up-to-the-moment developments, breaking stories, new legislation, and more. If you see something we should announce or feature, please let us know!

As always, we have added dozens of new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol to find the most recent additions.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative



Policy Support for Social Enterprise
Using case studies of eight social enterprises, Andrew Wolk, CEO of Root Cause and a Senior Lecturer of Social Entrepreneurship at MIT, examines how social entrepreneurship can meet needs that are neglected by the market. The report also explores how government policy can help foster social enterprise innovations. To date, most policy support for social enterprise has been ad hoc, but recent events, including the formation in the State of Louisiana in 2007 of an Office of Social Entrepreneurship, illustrate the promise for the development of more comprehensive policy support. 
report-wolk.pdf (346KB)

Community-Campus Partnerships
This special issue of Community-Campus Partnership for Health’s Partnership Perspectives contains eleven articles that address issues facing health-promoting community-higher education partnerships. Among them: ways to balance power and share resources among community and higher education partners; how anchor institutions such as universities can most effectively partner with communities of color and immigrant groups; and strategies for translating partnership principles into standard practice. 
report-seifer-et-al.pdf (6MB)
For more information, see the organization’s website at:

Supporting Sustainable Community Development
Just Partners, Inc. of Baltimore, MD, has issued Sustainable Communities for All Ages: A Viable Futures Toolkit. The tools focus on five key areas: education and civic engagement; community and economic development; individual and family wellness; affordable quality housing; and land use, transportation and natural resources. 
tool-just-partners-sustainable.pdf (12.2MB)
For more information, visit the toolkit website at:



Universities Take On Increased Local Economic Development Role
“Today, many schools may be going back to their land-grant roots and revitalizing the role for higher education in local and regional economic development,” concludes an October 2007 article in Profitwise News and Views, a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Highlighted in the article are the efforts of Purdue University, which has established a series of goals in both economic development and community outreach. 
article-mattoon.pdf (972KB)

Pittsburgh Medical Center Commits to Funding Local Scholarships
As a December 2007 New York Times article highlights, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has pledged up to $100-million over 10 years to the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program. According to the Times, the hospital sees the program as playing a key role in supporting the city’s economy by encouraging talented students to seek higher education in their home city. As the Chronicle of Philanthropy observed, the gift is the latest example of the efforts from “anchor institutions—universities, hospitals, and other nonprofit groups—to benefit disadvantaged neighborhoods.”
article-hamill.pdf (64KB)

Rhode Island Social Enterprise Enjoys Rapid Growth
In the wake of dwindling federal and state funding and increased competition for foundation grants, more nonprofits are launching earned-income ventures, notes the author of a January 2008 article in Communities & Banking, a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The article profiles the catering operation of the Providence, R.I. nonprofit Amos House (picture at right]. Rhode Island now boasts over 100 social enterprises statewide.
article-watkins.pdf (196KB)

State Legislatures Support Community Development Finance
In 2007, “there were more [state legislature] bills introduced to support opportunity finance than any other previous year,” with a total of 98 bills introduced in 38 states. So reports the Opportunity Finance Network, the leading trade association of community development loan funds. Bills enacted into law include the creation of a statewide community development financial institution (CDFI) Fund in New York, a line-item appropriation in a Virginia budget bill, and a community development act that benefits CDFIs in Louisiana.
paper-williams.pdf (340KB)

Brookings Report Highlights Growing Importance of Metro Regions
“Despite consuming just 12 percent of our land mass, the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas harbor 65 percent of our population, and generate 75 percent of our gross domestic product,” observes Alan Berube, Research Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. In this report, Berube calls for a new federal focus on supporting regionally specific strategies for community wealth creation in the nation’s metropolitan areas.
report-berube.pdf (8.2MB)

Federal Reserve Paper Makes Case for Economically Targeted Investments
A November 2007 discussion paper authored by Anna Steiger of the Federal Reserve of Boston, Tessa Hebb of Harvard, and Lisa Hagerman of Oxford, finds that: “There are opportunities to attract larger amounts of institutional capital to the emerging domestic markets while promoting the mechanisms that help ensure these investments have a meaningful impact on underserved communities.” In particular, the authors note that institutional investors such as insurance companies, large commercial banks, public sector pension funds, and foundations have a critical role to play in community development finance since they “can provide the patient capital needed for community investments, many of which do not yield returns for several years out.” 
paper-steiger-et-al.pdf (664KB)



Maggie DeSantis is President of the Warren/Conner Development Corporation, a community-based organization that has been working for more than two decades on Detroit’s Eastside. Founded in 1984, WarrenConner has undertaken a number of initiatives, including youth development, community organizing, business development, and affordable housing. Over the past two decades, the group’s work has helped create 200 jobs and generate nearly $20 million in private investment. interview-desantis.pdf (148KB)



The tenth in our continuing series of profiles ofCommunity Wealth Cities: Detroit, Michigan. Long suffering from disinvestment, the City of Detroit, local community groups, and the philanthropic community are stepping up their community wealth building efforts. The City’s NEXT Detroit Neighborhood Initiative aims to implement six neighborhood plans that have been developed through a 15-month community planning process. Foundations have pledged $100 million to create a “New Economy Initiative” to support “companies and projects aimed at diversifying Michigan’s ‘old economy’.”



CDFI Leaders Gather to Build for Next Stage of Community Finance
Close to 700 people from around the country attended the 23rd annual Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) conference in Miami, Florida to share their experiences regarding community development finance. Among the highlights of the conference was the announcement of a new prize awarded for efforts to help “scale up” innovation in community development finance. Two U.S. financial institutions—Latino Community Credit Union of Durham, N.C., and ACCION Texas of San Antonio—were named the first recipients and shared $8.25 million. The prize was presented by OFN and funded by The Wachovia Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 
article-dubb-ofn.pdf (160KB)



Catholic Campaign for Human Development
For nearly 40 years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been the domestic anti-poverty, social justice program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Grants, implemented in collaboration with local dioceses, are funded by an annual collection in U.S. Catholic parishes and support community wealth building. Priority areas include: community organizing, community land trusts, community marketplaces, community development financial institutions, worker cooperatives, and social enterprise.

Center for Community-Based Enterprise
Founded in 2006, the Center is a group of socially-oriented investors and business developers who seek to make Detroit a national applied innovation lab for community based wealth creation strategies. A fundamental principle behind the approach is to create “rooted” wealth-creating capital committed to operating in a specific community through its ownership structure, business model, or by-laws.

Low Income Investment Fund
Over its 23-year history, San Francisco-based LIIF has provided over $800 million in financing and technical assistance for projects benefiting low-income communities in 26 states, leveraging over $5.3 billion in additional private, public, and philanthropic investments. Through this work, LIIF has served nearly 450,000 people and supported 55,000 units of housing; 47,000 childcare spaces; 42,000 spaces in schools for children; and 2.5 million square feet of commercial and community facilities space. This past November, LIIF also published a new guide for charter school development.
tool-liif-charter-school.pdf (2.7MB)

Team Works
Founded in 2004, TeamWorks consists of two businesses, one of which is a worker cooperative that provides house cleaning and concierge services on the San Francisco peninsula; the other offers business support services and is involved in starting new worker cooperative sites.

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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December 2020

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October 26, 2020
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October 2020

Day by day, the COVID-19 pandemic is uncovering deep structural flaws in virtually every aspect of our political economic system. This includes our current approach to intellectual property (IP) and research and development (R&D), which prioritizes corporate profit over public good and public health. For instance, despite billions of dollars in public funding flowing to for-profit pharmaceutical corporations in recent months and years, this has not translated into increased access to the life-saving vaccines, treatments, and technology we desperately need. This new research module from The Democracy Collaborative and Common Wealth, part of our Ownership Futures series, puts forward a new paradigm for IP and R&D: one that recognizes how critical these interconnected and entwined systems are to building a more equitable, sustainable, and democratic 21st century economy. Read more below and from co-author and Research Director Thomas M. Hanna in The Independent and In These Times.
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September 22, 2020
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September 2020

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