Welcome to our latest www.Community-Wealth.org e-newsletter. This summer we bring you the following new developments:
- An article by Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz recently appeared in The Nation. It addresses the significance of the growing “new economy” movement, suggesting that innovative models for sustainable growth and ownership have real potential to create long-range systemic economic change.
- Last month, the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank produced a video about the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, which was shown at the Fed’s June policy summit. The Cleveland Foundation has also produced a video - How Evergreen Changes Lives featuring interviews with worker-owners of two Evergreen companies - Ohio Cooperative Solar and Evergreen Cooperative Laundry.
- The Democracy Collaborative has established its own channel on YouTube where you can view a range of presentations on community building, economic development, the Evergreen Initiative, local wealth building strategies and more.
- We feature the nineteenth interview in our continuing series of conversations with community wealth-building leaders: Bernie Mazyck, Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations.
- We also profile our twenty-fourth community wealth city: Austin, Texas.
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. You can also follow new developments on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative
NEW & RECOMMENDED:
Study Traces History of a Connecticut Economic Democracy Movement
What happens when the economy that has sustained a region for generations disappears? In Banded Together, Economic Democratization in the Brass Valley, historian and Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeremy Brecher aims to finds out. Drawing on primary sources and over 500 interviews, Brecher chronicles how, during the 1970s and 1980s, Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley created a grassroots organization, democratically controlled enterprises, and public policies in response to deindustrialization.
Land Banks Yield New Tools for
Land Bank Authorities: A Guide for the Creation and Operation of Local Land Banks, written by Emory law professor Frank Alexander, is a step-by-step guide for community leaders and public officials on how to take control of problem properties in order to meet community needs and foster locally controlled development. With detailed information gathered from the most dynamic land banks and land-banking programs in the country, this book demonstrates how unoccupied land and buildings can be a potential resource for economic recovery through community development and strengthening real estate markets.
Local Currencies Offer Leverage for Sustainable Local Economies
Gwendolyn Hallsmith and Bernard Lietaer’s Creating Wealth, Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies investigates the key role of money and currency in creating sustainable local economies. The book also examines models for developing new systems of economic exchange. Case studies on successful initiatives such as time banks, systems of barter and exchange, and local currencies explore how towns and cities are creating robust and sustainable local economies.
Earn Profits While Supporting Your
In Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing, Amy Cortese challenges the assumption that the best investment opportunities are to be found on Wall Street. Locavesting is a how-to guide for people who want to invest in their own communities and argues that by investing in local companies that create jobs and healthy communities, the economy can be made to work for Main Street—not just Wall Street.
IN THE NEWS:
Alternative Housing Policies Challenge “Market” Response to
In November 2008, Hofstra University hosted a conference on the housing crisis that continues to sweep the country, affecting Americans of most income levels. The resulting anthology by Christopher Niedt and Mac Silver, Forging a New Housing Policy: Opportunity in the Wake of Crisis, includes articles and reports that explore the origins of the housing crisis, detail its impact, and examine policy alternatives.
Economic and Social Inclusion Point Way to Sustained Economic Growth
In Prosperity 2050: Is Equity the Superior Growth Model?, Sarah Treuhaft and David Madland of PolicyLink focus on identifying key economic and social trends that have led to the present U.S. economic crisis. The report also pays special attention to the challenges and concerns of people of color, who, as the report notes, will form the majority of the U.S. population by 2050.
Disparities in Wealth Perpetuate Inequality in Communities of Color
The Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), a diverse coalition of people, organizations, and resources in Illinois, seeks to build economic strength and stability in communities throughout the state—through asset building, increased asset ownership, and asset protection. In Disparities in Asset and Ownership: Limitations to the American Dream in Communities of Color, IABG assesses the historic inequalities in these communities, the conditions that perpetuate disadvantage, and recommends policies to address these fundamental problems.
Collaborative Strategies Support Low- and Moderate-Income Communities
In The New Way Forward: Collaborations and Partnerships for Greater Efficiency and Impact, Dee Walsh and Robert Zdenek examine strategies for cross-sectoral collaboration, the federal government’s policy agenda, and how to coordinate these resources. This paper presents a tri-sector (government, business, and social) approach to problem solving, and includes models for collaboration, case studies (including lessons learned), success factors in collaboration, and an appendix of sources.
National Co-op Publication Features Evergreen Laundry As Model For Sustainability
In Co-ops Work to Build A Sustainable Economy, author Nancy Jorgensen addresses what “sustainability” means, the difference between long- and short-term environmental practices, and the nature of sustainable cooperative businesses. In particular, she highlights the goals of the “Principle Six (P6)” Co-op Trade Movement and the economic outlook of green energy and cooperative enterprises, looking to the wealth-building strategies employed in Cleveland, such as Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, as one encouraging example.
Community Wealth Builders Find Innovative Ways to Leverage Stimulus Dollars
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $787 billion as a stimulus to ameliorate the economic crisis. This brief report, by longtime nonprofit observer Rick Cohen, explores the obstacles community wealth builders found in trying to implement stimulus bill provisions and highlights the extensive and creative methods employed by nonprofit housing developers, community action agencies, community health centers, and others to overcome them.
Bank of North Dakota Furnishes Model for Better Banking
In Banking on America: How Main Street Partnership Banks Can Improve Local Economies, Jason Judd and Heather McGhee provide insightful and in-depth analysis of the role state-owned banks can play in promoting local economic development. Modeled after the exceptionally successful public Bank of North Dakota, Partnership Banks use regional tax dollars for public finance and sustainable local lending programs, which provide fairer investment terms and banking services, strengthen local banks and raise state revenue, among other benefits.
More Main Street Stock Exchanges In the Works for U.S.
Once common, regional stock exchanges have receded in the face of advancing technology and acquisition by the biggest U.S. stock-exchange operators. In this Wall Street Journal article, “Stock Exchanges for Local Businesses” by Joel Millman, efforts such as the Lancaster Stock Exchange (or LanX) highlight shifts toward investors keeping money closer to home and connecting local entrepreneurs with financing. Honolulu, Hawaii and Lancaster, Pennsylvania are each planning full-fledged electronic exchanges and will join existing regional stock exchanges like the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and the CBOE Stock Exchange.
C-W.ORG INTERVIEWS WITH COMMUNITY BUILDERS:
Interviews with Community Wealth Builders
In this edition, Bernie Mazyck, Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations and Chair of the Board of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), discusses the history and present state of the community development movement in this wide-ranging Community-Wealth.org Interview. Among the topics covered: the challenges of CDC organizing in the South, changes in the focus of the CDC movement toward more comprehensive community development, and how movement leaders are responding to the impending threat of federal cutbacks.
The twenty-fourth in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: Austin, Texas
The capital of Texas, Austin is home to dynamic community groups and wealth-building approaches such as worker-owned cooperatives, university partnerships, community land trusts, and new state and local policies.
CDC Movement Addresses New Challenges
Roughly 100 people from community development corporations (CDCs) and state community economic development associations from across the country gathered to participate in the fifth annual NACEDA Policy Summit, held May 23rd and 24th in Washington, DC. Two key topics covered at this year’s conference were the changing role of the financial industry and the changing role of government.
Community Reinvestment Advocates Promote Local Solutions to Economic Crisis
Over 500 activists, government representatives, and industry officials from across the country came to Washington, DC on April 13th through 16th to participate in the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 21st Annual Conference. Titled “National Challenges, Local Solutions: Rebuilding Homes, Lives and Communities,” participants came together with two goals in mind: building a national advocacy network and spurring innovation in community economic development at the local level.
Co-ops Address New Challenges in Times of Economic Uncertainty
On May 4th, the Cooperative Development Foundation—a nonprofit foundation affiliated with the National Cooperative Business Association—held its inaugural Cooperative Issues Forum. NCB (National Cooperative Bank) held its annual meeting the day after. The two events explored both old and new roles that cooperatives play in the U.S. economy.
A project of the Institute for Policy Studies in Boston, Inequality.org, is full of useful and compelling information regarding income and wealth gaps in the United States and around the world and resources to address them. Their projects include a weekly newsletter, Too Much, which explores national and international inequality; Common Security Clubs, which help neighbors support each through practical mutual aid; Class Action, which provides a framework to address the nation’s growing class divide; and The Other 98%, a grassroots citizens’ network which seeks to counter the influence of bankers, corporate CEOs and lobbyists in Washington, DC.
Litecontrol is a 75-year-old, employee-owned and union-represented business that designs and produces energy-efficient architectural lighting fixtures and services. The first architectural lighting fixtures company to receive Cradle to Cradle certification, Litecontrol partners with universities to provide equipment, educational materials, guest lecturers and manufacturer visits, as well as lunch-and-learn programs at offices, and teaching at major industry events.
The Neighboring Food Co-op Association
NFCA is comprised of more than 20 food co-ops in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. With a combined membership of more than 80,000 individuals and employing over 1,400 people, together these co-ops have an annual revenue of $185 million (2009). When combined, member food co-ops are among the top 25 employers in the state of Vermont. The NFCA website contains financial statistics regarding the shared economic impact of co-ops, how they support local economies, provide stable employment, and support local government.
Third Coast Workers for Cooperation (TCWC)
Created in 2010, Third Coast Workers for Cooperation provides business development, education, and training to build and launch green, worker-owned cooperatives. Their year-long Cooperative Business Institute offers popular education about the worker cooperative model, the green economy, and the legal, organizational, and business information specific to worker co-ops.