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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our latest e-newsletter. Once again, 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. We also have added two new categories to the “Strategies and Models” section.

  • State Asset Building Initiatives - These programs represent attempts by state policymakers to combine different models and approaches into comprehensive community wealth building initiatives. Initial efforts are now underway in a number of states, including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
  • Socially Responsible Investment - In 2005, investments by socially screened mutual funds and socially screened separate accounts managed for individual and institutional clients totaled $1.68 trillion, a ten-fold increase over the past decade.

This month, our updated home page features the fourth in a continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth-Building Cities. The citizens of Chicago, Illinois have implemented a wide variety of methods to build community wealth, including some of the nation’s leading community development corporations and financial institutions, and a broad range of co-ops, social enterprises, employee-owned companies, and university-community partnerships.

Once again, many thanks to all of you who send us material to post. Your contributions enable us to keep expanding the site and to better link community wealth-builders around the nation.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative


New Study Finds Growing Income Gap Across the Nation


In 38 states, the incomes of the bottom fifth of families grew more slowly than the incomes of the top fifth of households over the past two decades, according to this study by two Washington D.C. policy groups. In only one state, Alaska, did incomes of low-income families grow faster than the incomes of the top fifth of households. Find out where your state stands. report-bernstein.pdf (628KB)

Health Care Co-ops Provide Community Care
Founded in 1997, the Ithaca (NY) Health Care Alliance has grown to more than 1,000 members. This past January it opened a Free Clinic to provide preventive and immediate primary care. Similar efforts are now under way in Philadelphia, PA; Cape Cod, MA; and Olympia, WA. In Health Democracy Paul Glover outlines how the Ithaca model can be developed in other communities. For more information, see

The Road to a “Common Sense” Economy
In All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy, economist Jared Bernstein explores the economic challenges facing the US and suggests ways to address those problems. Topics covered include globalization, the state of public education, wage stagnation, health insurance, and the gap between rich and poor. For more information,

Is America Building an Opportunity Society?
This report by the Opportunity Agenda assesses the degree to which the United States succeeds at providing opportunity for all. The report notes areas of substantial progress, but cautions that in “many very important respects, American opportunity is in trouble.” 
report-jenkins-et-al.pdf (4.5MB)

Study Highlights Innovative Transit Projects
In this March 2006 report, Good Jobs First highlights 25 model transit oriented development projects from across the country. TOD provides increased transit access, good jobs, and affordable housing to low and moderate-income people. In many cases, community development corporations or labor-community coalitions have played a central (632KB)


Irvine, California Aims To Develop Nation’s Largest Community Land Trust
Irvine, a rapidly growing city of 180,000 located 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles, is creating a land trust with the ambitious goal to make 10% of the city’s housing permanently low-cost. By 2025, the nonprofit Irvine Community Land Trust plans to own 9,700 homes, condos, and apartments, more than any other community land trust in the country. article-clark.pdf (76KB)

Former World Trade Center Restaurant Workers Open Worker Co-op
When the World Trade Center Twin Towers were destroyed, 71 workers at the Windows on the World restaurant perished. Surviving employees, however, came together and at the end of 2005 opened Colors, one of the city’s first worker-owned restaurants. Each of the roughly 50 employees will be part-owners of Colors and share in any profits. article-depalma.pdf (80KB)

Michigan Begins Children’s Savings Account Pilot Program
In Oakland County, Michigan (near Detroit), 500 children identified by the local Head Start agency will participate in a matched-savings program that aims to improve their economic life chances by helping them save for college and eventual home ownership. The Michigan initiative, one of 12 demonstration sites nationally, is based on the same concept as the America Saving for Personal Investment, Retirement, and Education (ASPIRE) Act, which is currently pending in Congress. article-murray.pdf (64KB)

“Time Dollar” Barter System Builds Community
The elderly often need services for which they cannot afford to pay. But what if they could donate their time in exchange for the services they need? With “time dollars,” participants receive credit for each hour they contribute, which can be pent on services such as baby-sitting, car rides, or computer repair. Today, over 25,000 participate in time dollar efforts nationwide – and more than 60,000 internationally. This Chronicle of Philanthropy article surveys one effort involving over 1,000 people in St. Louis.


Hundreds Gather to Promote Community Reinvestment
About 600 people gathered at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) annual conference held March 22-25, 2006, in Washington, D.C. Community reinvestment coalition advocates discussed how to strengthen fair lending and community reinvestment in the United States, as well as lend support to create an International Community Reinvestment Coalition. article-dubb-ncrc.pdf (140KB)

Forum Identifies Community Development Policy Priorities
The National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED) held its 11th annual public policy forum on March 20-21, 2006, in Washington, D.C. Community development corporation (CDC) leaders gathered to discuss policy issues, funding cuts, and the need to raise the movement’s public profile. But there was also optimism regarding new opportunities at the state and local level. 
article-dubb-ncced.pdf (108KB)

Nonprofit Leaders Gather to Discuss Social Enterprise Strategies
The Social Enterprise Alliance held its seventh annual gathering on March 8-10, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia. Keynote speakers included Kenneth Gladish, the recently departed president of the YMCA of the USA, and Katherine Freund, founder of the Independent Transportation Network of Portland, Maine. More than 500 attended the conference, which, as this Chronicle of Philanthropy article details, explored ways nonprofits can diversify their sources of revenue by charging fees for the services they provide and starting related


Too Much
A project of the New York-based Council on International and Public Affairs, the Too Much website tracks the growing concentration of wealth and income in the United States. Too Much highlights the latest statistics and analyses on America’s wealth divide — from government, academic, and advocacy sources — and explores the social, political, and economic consequences that follow from top-heavy distributions of assets and income.

Local First 
Local First is an initiative of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) that seeks to encourage local spending to support local economies. To date, “Local First” campaigns have been organized in a number of communities, including Salt Lake City, UT; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Ann Arbor, MI; and Philadelphia, PA. Regional campaigns are also underway in northwest Washington state and western Michigan.

PRI Makers 
PRI Makers Network is a new association of foundations who use program-related and other investments to accomplish their philanthropic goals. A project of the Neighborhood Funders Group, the PRI Makers Network aims to strengthen the capacity of funders to affect change across diverse program areas.

Nonprofit Congress
The Nonprofit Congress is an unprecedented initiative to unite America’s diverse nonprofit organizations. On October 16 – 17, 2006 approximately 500 nonprofit delegates will gather in Washington, DC to identify the key issues for nonprofits, and create a policy platform for the sector. If you are interested in participating, you can register on-line.

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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