Welcome to our latest www.Community-Wealth.org e-newsletter. This quarter we bring you the following new developments:
- 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.”
- This month we also launch a new section of Community-Wealth.org section on Individual Wealth Preservation strategies. Here you will find information on support organizations, best practices, research resources, and articles on ways to protect assets and foster individual and family wealth building.
- The work of the Democracy Collaborative in Cleveland — in partnership with The Cleveland Foundation — continues. In May, Ohio Cooperative Solar, part of a growing network of Evergreen worker-owned cooperatives, completed its first 110kW solar panel installation on a rooftop of a Cleveland Clinic building. More large-scale installations are scheduled throughout the summer on the roofs of University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. The goal is to install more than 3MW of solar generating capacity by 2013 — more than doubling the current total in Ohio. The Evergreen Initiative also continues to generate news. In May, GreenBiz.com ran this story. Evergreen has also produced an updated 6 minute informational video.
- In the fifteenth interview in our continuing series of conversations with community wealth-building leaders, C-W.org interviews Melissa Hoover, Executive Director of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives.
- We also profile our 20th community wealth city: New Orleans, Louisiana
- 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.
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative
NEW & RECOMMENDED:
Study Documents High Social Costs of Sprawl
Thad Williamson, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies and Political Science at the University of Richmond, provides one of the first looks at the real, measurable consequences of sprawl in Sprawl, Justice and Citizenship: The Civic Cost of the American Way of Life. Williamson uses an extensive 30,000-person survey to illustrate the negative effects of sprawl on civic life, social equality and the environment. Copies are available for purchase ($35, hardback) from Oxford University Press.
Reader Provides Comprehensive Look at Community Land Trust Movement
Edited by John Emmeus Davis, partner and cofounder of Burlington Associates in Community Development, this collection of 46 community land trust (CLT) essays provides the most comprehensive look to date at this important community wealth-building model. Beginning with the CLT’s roots with Henry George and Ebenezer Howard, the Reader examines social experiments like the Garden Cities of England and the Gramdan villages of India that have influenced the modern CLT. Additional topics include articles on the CLT’s ability to promote home ownership, its role in capturing land gains for the common good, and future CLT challenges and opportunities.. Copies are available for purchase ($35, hardback) from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Fitzgerald Highlights Efforts To Create “Green” Future in U.S. Cities
Joan Fitzgerald, Director of the Law, Policy and Society Program at Northeastern University, shows how cities such as Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle, are leading the way in addressing the problems of climate change, pollution, energy dependence and social justice. Fitzgerald argues that these cities are uniquely positioned to benefit from green economic development, yet cautions that, absent federal supports, these “emerald cities” will likely fall short.
Social Enterprise Guide Offers Best Practices, Tools, and Guidance
Compiled by the Social Enterprise Alliance, this collection of essays by 19 leaders in the social enterprise field provides a guide on how to effectively run a business that meets social goals while earning a profit. Offering a look at best practices, tools, guidance, models and successful cases, Succeeding at Social Enterprise: Hard-Won Lessons for Nonprofits and Social Entrepreneurs provides real life examples of successful social enterprises and the essential skills — such as managing, business planning, marketing, sales, and accounting — that are needed for success.
IN THE NEWS:
Communities Fight Back Against Absentee Investors
As cities and neighborhoods across the nation address vacant properties from the recent foreclosure crisis, these communities must also fight back against absentee investors looking to flip properties for a quick profit, thus undermining long-term community stability. Utilizing the Twin Cities as an extensive case study, this PolicyLink report — supported by the Northwest Area Foundation and the Family Housing Fund — highlights best practices and promising approaches from Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other communities across the nation to address the issue of absentee investors.
Brookings Calls for New Federal Approach to Revitalize Cities
Arguing that federal efforts to revitalize America’s industrial cities over the past 60 years have largely failed, this paper from The Brookings Institution calls for federal policy to support the development of smaller, stronger and more sustainable cities that use resources more effectively. Recommendations include land banking, leveraging resources from local anchor institutions, stepped-up affordable housing, better federal inter-agency coordination, and federal partnerships with state and local government.
Essays Examine Impact of Place-Based Community Development
This series of articles published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, reviews lessons learned over the past two decades in the field of place-based investing — a comprehensive approach to community development that seeks to link multiple interventions together to reduce poverty. Under the Obama administration, such place-based thinking has shaped a number of new policies, including Choice Neighborhoods, Promise Neighborhoods, the Sustainable Communities Initiative, and the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
Financial Insecurity Threatens African-American and Latino Seniors
This joint paper by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and Demos finds that 91 percent of both African-American and Latino seniors faced financial vulnerability before the 2008 economic recession, lacking sufficient resources to sustain themselves through their projected life spans. To address this significant issue, the authors argue for strengthening social security, implementing a publicly supported pension plan, and improving asset building programs and initiatives, such as increasing the availability of Individual Development Accounts [matched savings accounts] and AutoIRAs [payroll deduction for individual retirement accounts].
Clean Cars Provide Green Jobs Opportunity
This report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the United Auto Workers and the Center for American Progress examines how changing auto fuel regulations can create new green collar jobs. The authors estimate that developing the technologies necessary to achieve 40.2 mpg by 2020 will produce an additional 130,000 jobs. However, policy will help determine how many of these jobs will be in the United States. One area where the United States can excel is with lithium-ion battery production — a product originally developed in the United States, but now dominated by Asian-Pacific nations.
Households with Children Face Widening Asset Poverty
Among CFED’s 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard findings are these: households with children only have 70 percent of the assets of all households; disparities by race, income, and gender are most significant for these kind of households; and the gap for African-American and poor households with children is widening. In response, CFED offers several policy recommendations, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, creating more Child and Individual Development Accounts, and increasing asset limits that determine eligibility for public assistance programs to avoid creating disincentives to saving among low-income Americans.
New CDC Census Highlights Industry Achievements
Focused on the period from 2005 to 2007, this report by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations provides the latest census of the community development corporation industry. During these three years, community development corporations produced more than 96,000 units of affordable housing annually (an increase of more than 10,000 units from the previous survey) and developed more than 21 million square feet of commercial, office, industrial, and community facilities. CDCs also made nearly 700,000 loans, including loans to more than 100,000 homeowners totaling $6.6 billion dollars.
Asset-Building Legislation Gains Ground in FY 2011 Budget
This report by the New American Foundation presents a survey of current federal asset-building programs and opportunities. Notable among the Obama Administration’s new initiatives are AutoIRA saving plans for workers, an expansion of the Saver’s Credit, and a proposed reform of asset limit rules that determine eligibility for public assistance programs — to a national asset limit floor of $10,000 — to encourage, rather than discourage, saving.
University Endowment Speculation Hurts Local Communities
This study by the Center For Social Philanthropy and the Tellus Institute estimates that communities will lose $860 million over the next three years due to university cutbacks spurred by losses on speculative endowment investments in the run-up to the financial crisis. Focusing on six private, New England universities — Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis, Dartmouth College, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — that represent more than 12 percent of approximately $310 billion held in university endowments, the report argues that the endowment model of investment is broken and that universities should pursue responsible returns that remain true to their public purpose.
Obama’s Budget Funds New Community Wealth Building Initiatives
Focusing on 19 new, expanded or restructured programs, this paper from PolicyLink highlights the Obama administration’s embrace of sustainable and inclusive development and the potential for many of these initiatives, if funded, to provide opportunity for low-income and minority communities. Notable among the programs is $250 million for Choice Neighborhoods, $345 million for the Healthy Food Financing initiative, and $688 million for the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
C-W.ORG INTERVIEWS WITH COMMUNITY BUILDERS:
Melissa Hoover, Founding Executive Director of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, discusses the state of the worker cooperative movement in this wide-ranging C-W.org Interview. Among the topics covered: the challenges of building a member-financed trade association, the growing diversity within the movement, the search for ways to fill capital gaps, and the challenges of developing democratic workplaces in an economy dominated by non-democratic ownership forms.
The twentieth in our continuing series of profiles ofCommunity Wealth Cities: New Orleans, Louisiana. Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, communities in The Big Easy are coming back. As a Newsweek reporter observed two years ago, “There is no Marshall Plan here — just small miracles in individual neighborhoods.” Two examples are Tipitina’s Music Office Co-op, which helps promote New Orleans’ music industry, and Reconcile New Orleans, a job-training nonprofit organization that operates the Café Reconcile [pictured left] social enterprise.
Social Enterprise Leaders Seek Policy Advances
More than 700 social enterprise leaders and activists from over two dozen nations came to San Francisco, California on April 28th through April 30th to participate in the 11th national Social Enterprise Summit and 3rd annual Social Enterprise World Forum. Titled “A New Approach, A New Economy,” the conference was marked both by new enthusiasm for the possibilities for social enterprise, as well as continuing debate over how the movement should define itself and its role.
Co-op Annual Meetings Address Economic Transformation
Two leading national co-op organizations, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and NCB (chartered as the National Consumer Cooperative Bank) held their annual meetings in May. The NCBA conference focused on how cooperatives can act as catalysts for broader economic change. At NCB, the focus was on how the Co-op Bank strengthens relationship banking in a world where trust is an increasingly rare and precious commodity.
Green Jobs Advocates Brace for Long Struggle
More than 3,500 people came to Washington, DC on May 4th through 6th to participate in the third “Good Jobs, Green Jobs” conference. Sponsored by the Blue-Green Alliance, a group formed in 2006 by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, the conference took on a very different tone than the year before, with determination to address the unemployment crisis taking the place of hopes for a “green New Deal.”
CDC Leaders Assess State of the Movement
Representatives from state community economic development associations from across the country gathered to participate in the fourth annual NACEDA Policy Summit, held May 24th and 25th in Washington, DC. Highlights of this year’s summit included a roundtable on the state of the CDC movement as a whole and a review of the status of community wealth building policy at the state and federal levels.
California Center for Cooperative Development
Highlighting how cooperatives can address the social and economic needs of California’s communities — specifically helping low- and moderate-income people and neighborhoods — the California Center for Cooperative Development provides cooperatives and those interested in launching cooperatives with start-up, management, and other technical assistance.
Center for Community Progress
Founded through a merger of the National Vacant Properties Campaign and the Genesee Institute, the Center for Community Progress works with government officials and nonprofit organizations to implement policy changes that encourage the reuse of vacant, abandoned, and under-utilized properties. Striving to create strong communities by redeveloping these properties, the Center accomplishes its mission by developing a national network of vacant property practitioners and experts, research dissemination, advocacy, and local capacity building through technical assistance and training work.
With a focus on creating economic opportunity, promoting social equity, and ensuring environmental wellbeing, Ecotrust’s accomplishments include co-founding the world’s first environmental bank (now with more than $300 million in assets) and receiving $50 million in New Markets Tax Credits to start the world’s first ecosystem investment fund. Since it was founded in 1991, Ecotrust has helped raise more than $300 million in capital for the people, communities and businesses of the West Coast, including Alaska.
Emerald Cities Collaborative
A consortium of diverse organizations — businesses, unions, community organizations, development intermediaries, social justice advocates, researchers and technical assistance providers — the Emerald Cities Collaborative is focused on reducing the carbon footprint of the nation’s largest cities in a manner that encourages equal opportunity, shared wealth, and democracy. The EEC’s first project is to retrofit the nation’s urban housing stock — a bold initiative that would significantly reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. In some cities, housing can account for nearly 80 percent of all carbon emissions; the country’s 100 largest metropolitan regions account for 75 percent of all carbon emissions.
Tipitina’s Music Office Co-op
Part of the Tipitina Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting Louisiana and New Orleans’ music community, Tiptina’s Music Office Co-op provides fully-equipped work space for musicians and other digital media professionals, who otherwise would not be able to afford it, and has grown from an initial 60 members in 2003 to more than 1,000 today. For just $10 a month (or $100 a year), membership benefits also include on-site technical support, volunteer production assistance, access to their network of music business professionals, and a library of specialized information resources. Based on a 2006 survey of members, the estimated economic impact of the co-op has been $1.24 million, with a return on investment of greater than 10:1.