- 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.
- We also profile our eighteenth community wealth city: Boston, Massachusetts.
- As always, 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. And don’t forget to view our regularly updated C-W Blog.
We also note with sadness the unexpected passing on December 9 of our dear friend, collaborator, and colleague John Logue, Founder and Director of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) at Kent State University. We profiled John’s work two years ago in this e-newsletter. To learn more about John and his life’s work, we recommend thiscolumn from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
For more than two decades, John was a national leader in employee ownership. Supported by his efforts, Ohio has more employee-owned companies and more employee owners per capita than any state in the Union. “Brother Logue” (as he was fondly called by many) was also a central organizer and developer of Cleveland’s Evergreen network of cooperatives. We all will miss John, his good humor, and common sense that contributed so much to the State of Ohio and the development of our work in Cleveland. In tribute to his remarkable legacy, we look forward to continuing his work and vision with the highly capable team he built at the OEOC.
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative
NEW & RECOMMENDED:
New Book Uncovers Wide Variation in Social Enterprise Worldwide
Janelle Kerlin’s edited volume contains a comprehensive international comparative analysis of social enterprise. With chapters written by practitioners and academics from around the world, this work examines how social enterprises apply market approaches to social issues in differing national contexts. In particular, the essays demonstrate how such factors as political ideology, history, and the institutional framework impact the ways different forms of social enterprise meet their mission and market objectives.
Socially Responsible Investments Can Rebuild America
The legacy of mega-funds, toxic assets, and sub-prime mortgages can be overcome by targeted, socially responsible investing, claims author Thomas Croft. Included in the book is a section titled “A Field Guide to Responsible Capital,” which contains descriptions of socially responsible investment funds that are together managing over $30 billion. Croft argues that pension fund managers should put “our money” to work by investing in housing, jobs, human capital, renewable energy, and efficient transportation. Pooling can finance large-scale investment and help rebuild existing companies and communities.
For more information, see also: flyer-croft.pdf (1MB)
Community Food Enterprises Model Sustainable Business Practices
The local food movement and its associated locally owned businesses —community food enterprises (CFEs) — are more than just a fad. This book looks at the performances of two-dozen CFEs, twelve in the United States and another dozen abroad, and identifies several ways that these businesses overcome challenges of scale, including hard work and vertical integration. Further, all CFEs studied devoted considerable investment to social goals.
IN THE NEWS:
Bank of North Dakota Finances State’s Way to Recovery
Buffeted by the Great Recession all but one state has experienced net job losses. The outlier? North Dakota. It is likely no coincidence that North Dakota is also the only U.S. state to own its own bank, the Bank of North Dakota (BND). Chartered in 1919 to finance farmers and small businesses, today the BND functions like a central bank. The multiplier effect of fractional reserve lending—a compounding cycle of turning deposits into loans—actually creates money. At a time when private banks are unwilling to lend, state banks could fill budget shortfalls. Public banks that also lend commercially could make real estate loans at below-market rates, making homeownership more affordable while still profitable for the bank.
Community Schools Foster Academic and
A community school generally serves low-income communities and uses the school as a center for academic excellence, social programs, and activities that serve students, parents, and the larger community. This assessment from the Center for American Progress highlights some of the ways community schools can assist poor families to meet their health care, child care, and job training needs.
Community Organizers Develop New Models of Civic Engagement
Eleven community-organizing groups across the country are profiled in this report, which examines the challenges community organizers face. Now more than ever—with fewer resources and a greater reliance on nonprofits to serve impoverished and marginalized communities—these organizing groups are responsible for more than just campaign work. Often, they also provide services and lead community development projects. These groups, most of which are comprised of dues-paying members, bring together rural and urban perspectives to come up with new models of civic engagement.
Drum Major Institute Outlines Federal Urban Policy Agenda
According to this paper from the nonprofit Drum Major Institute (DMI), the Obama Administration’s White House Office of Urban Affairs is an important step toward a new federal urban policy that forges partnerships among local levels of government to sustain long-term prosperity. But, the authors argue, more remains to be done. In this paper, they outline their vision of urban policy, centered on transit-oriented development; a commitment to affordable housing; enhanced job quality; strong urban schools; and policies that protect immigrant rights.
Advocates Advance the Case for Child Savings Accounts
Last summer, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security launched a campaign to create national Child Savings Accounts (CSAs). The main goals of CSAs are to improve financial literacy, increase the number of banked low-income households, and encourage saving for education, homeownership, or retirement. In countries like Canada and Great Britain, a CSA is created for each newborn child with an initial deposit by the national government. Often, the government matches additional deposits to encourage private funding. Analysis by the Urban Institute determined that while there is no doubt that CSAs increase savings, the benefits accruing to low-income children will depend on the rules set for matching contributions, targeting, and taxability.
Local Business Flourishes with Help of Targeted Policies
This lecture by Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance chronicles the impressive growth of locally owned businesses in the last decade. During this period, independent business alliances have formed in 130 cities. Mitchell argues that local businesses have fared the recession better than big-box stores because consumers want to buy local. To foster local businesses, Mitchell argues that the United States should adopt a strong anti-monopoly policy, planning policies that support local economies, and new mechanisms to direct investment capital to local communities.
Social Mission Organizations Use New Tools to Evaluate Effectiveness
Nonprofit funders and practitioners often lack reliable methods of cost benefit analysis used by commercial businesses to assess the effectiveness of resource management and allocation. This paper, the second in REDF’s “Stepping out of the Maze” series, addresses the need to compare resources to results to make informed decisions on social investment. Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis is one methodology used for this purpose. In this paper, REDF executive director Cynthia Gair examines factors that might be incorporated in a broader “Next Generation” of SROI analysis.
Report Examines Dynamics of Neighborhood Change
The Urban Institute used survey data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections program to analyze mobility within low-income communities. Casey established Making Connections in 1999 to provide economic and social opportunities to low-income families in 10 diverse cities across the United States. Because mobility is high throughout, in many cities, such as Denver, Louisville, and Milwaukee, neighborhood “improvement” was almost entirely the result of the in-migration of wealthier residents, while the poverty rates of long-term residents at best showed slight declines. The authors conclude that in evaluating the success of neighborhood development programs, it is important to view neighborhoods in a dynamic rather than static context.
C-W.ORG INTERVIEWS WITH COMMUNITY BUILDERS:
Hilary Abell has served as Executive Director of Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES), an incubator of green housecleaning worker co-ops in the San Francisco Bay Area, since 2003. At present, the WAGES network includes five worker co-ops that provide living wages and business ownership for their largely Latina workforce of 85 worker-owners. WAGES is also working to expand the model beyond the Bay Area. In this C-W.org Interview, Abell discusses the challenges of putting the principles of worker ownership into practice and efforts underway to expand the WAGES model beyond its northern California base.
The eighteenth in our continuing series of profiles ofCommunity Wealth Cities: Boston, Massachusetts. Boston, home to the nation’s first subway system and first university, is a leader in community development. Among Boston’s signature initiatives: one of the nation’s oldest urban community land trusts (Dudley Street), a broad range of university-community partnerships, and far-sighted transit-oriented development.
Environmental Justice Advocates Call for Inclusive Green Economy
Environmental justice advocates from across the country gathered to attend the first annual Capitol Hill Summit on Sustainable Communities, Environmental Justice and the New Economy, a two-day conference held October 15th and 16th in Washington, DC. Key conference themes included public health, the state of the environmental justice movement, and how to combine “green” issues with economic development in low-income communities.
Consumer, Industry, and Government Leaders Debate Financial Policy
Consumer advocates, government representatives, and industry officials from across the country gathered to participate in the Consumer Federation of America’s 21st annual Financial Services Conference, held in Washington, DC on December 3rd and 4th. Held in the wake of the ongoing recession and foreclosure crisis, participants focused primarily on three areas — consumer finance, securities and derivatives regulation, and the housing market.
TELACU (The East Los Angeles Community Union)
Established in 1968, TELACU is one of the nation’s largest CDCs and the nation’s largest network of Latino businesses. Based in Los Angeles, TELACU allocates more than $550 million in assets to real estate development, construction and construction management, financial services, and its Education Foundation.
A partnership of the Kellogg Foundation and PolicyLink, the Engaged Institutions project has supported university-community partnership efforts at four schools: the University of Texas, El Paso; Penn State; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Each partnership is different, but all foster the goals of improving the lives of local youth and increasing civic engagement within their institutions. Key areas of partnership activity include early childhood education, mentoring, and college placement programs, as well as various research endeavors.
Americans for Financial Reform
This coalition of nearly 200 labor, consumer, retiree, investment, and civil rights organizations has come together to call for reform in the American banking system. Specifically, they advocate federal action to rewrite financial regulations and provide a watchdog to prevent banking insiders from mismanaging risk in ways that lead to recession. Focused on accountability, fairness, and security, the initiative aims to protect homes and neighborhoods and take back control of America’s money.
Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
Founded in 1979, Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) works to create economic development opportunities and construct affordable housing for the diverse community in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. To date, DBEDC has developed more than 930 units of affordable housing, including two housing cooperatives, and created six commercial buildings to anchor businesses that have provided more than 300 jobs. Its Small Business Program has directly lent more than $650,000, created and retained 488 jobs, and packaged over $2.5 million for larger deals to other lenders and banks.