Welcome to our latest www.Community-Wealth.org e-newsletter. This quarter we bring you the following new developments:
- Our report on Linking Colleges to Community: Engaging the University for Community Development (PDF 728KB) has just been published. Copies of the report are still available for free download on line, but if you wish to request a complimentary printed copy, please email us. (If you wish to order multiple copies, we request $10 per copy to defray our printing, shipping, and handling costs).
- The ninth in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: Miami, Florida.
- The fourth of our continuing series of conversations with community wealth building leaders: Tony Brown of the Uptown Consortium a Cincinnati, Ohio nonprofit association that is bringing together the area’s zoo, nonprofit hospitals, and the city university to promote community economic revitalization in Cincinnati’s “Uptown” district.
- We published an article in this fall’s issue of Yes! Magazine (PDF 4.1MB) that profiles seven model community wealth building efforts, including a community-owned shopping center in San Diego; California’s state pension fund; a food co-op in North Carolina; a social enterprise in Seattle; a community development corporation in Washington, D.C.; a community land trust in Vermont; and an employee-owned firm of 8,000 workers based in Delaware.
- 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.
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative
NEW & RECOMMENDED:
The University & Urban Revival
Spurred in part by an unprecedented crime wave in 1996 in the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Pennsylvania, the University’s President, Judith Rodin, helped set a new community engagement course in West Philadelphia. The result is widely seen as a national model of constructive town-gown interaction and partnership. Rodin’s book narrates the challenges, frustrations, and successes of Penn’s campaign, and its prospects for long-term change and community benefit. For more information or to purchase a copy for your bookshelf, visit
Asset Policy Advocacy Group Releases Annual State Scorecard
CFED (formerly the Corporation for Enterprise Development) released its annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard last month, which ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia on performance in 69 outcome and policy measures. The state-level data highlight areas where individuals and families excel or lag in building a sound financial foundation. The Scorecard also describes what each state government is or is not doing to further foster opportunities for its citizens to own and keep assets, with a focus on five policy areas: Education, Homeownership, Health Care, Business Development and Financial Security.
Burlington, Vermont Rolls Out Publicly Owned Broadband System
As a recent publication from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance details, since 2002 the city of Burlington, Vermont has been gradually rolling out a high-speed, publicly-owned broadband network. As of August 2007, the city’s network had 1,800 subscribers and is adding 40 more every week, with 30 percent of connected houses subscribing. By early 2008, it is anticipated that all Burlington citizens will have access to the network and the subscriber base is projected to exceed 5,000 homes.
IN THE NEWS:
State Pension Fund Economically Targeted Investments (ETIs) Come of Age
According to an article in Community Development Investment Review, a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, state targeting of pension fund money to invest “in urban revitalization, emerging domestic markets, or, more broadly, economic development … seems to be picking up.” Central to the success of the new ETIs is the growth of intermediary organizations that accept pension fund money and re-invest those dollars to meet community development goals. By placing pension investments in these intermediaries, trustees are able to access the expertise they need to earn sound economic returns, while avoiding the political pressures they would face if they were making individual investment placement decisions.
Will Community Land Trusts Join the Mainstream?
As affordable-housing advocate Tim McKenzie details in the Fall 2007 issue of Shelterforce, the cost effectiveness of traditional downpayment subsidy programs pales when compared to programs that place families in community land trusts or other forms of shared equity housing in which buyers ”agree to pass the same deal they get - i.e., an affordable purchase price … on to other eligible homebuyers.” Yet, in a provocative essay, McKenzie cautions that this advantage might not be enough. “[M]ost housing advocates, policymakers, and funders still regard [shared equity] programs, their projects, and the ownership structures they use as ‘models,’” McKenzie writes. Getting beyond the model stage is critical, McKenzie argues, for shared equity housing to truly become a mainstream option.
Foundations Pledge $100 Million for Detroit “New Economy” Initiative
Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes reports that a group of ten foundations have announced the formation of a $100 million “New Economy” fund to assist Detroit to rebuild its economy in the wake of the continued shrinkage of Big Three automakers and associated parts suppliers. To support the fund, the Ford, Kresge, and Kellogg foundations have each pledged $25 million, which is matched with an additional $25 million raised from seven local foundations. How the money will be spent, however, still needs to be worked out. As Howe puts it, at this point, “They are stepping into the breach with their own cash and big ideas but few specifics.”
City of San Jose Invests in Local Business
If you can’t fight City Hall, can you get it to provide you equity capital? If you operate a business in San Jose, California, like Matt Pitchon of Bentek (pictured left), the answer may be “yes,” provided you pay decent wages and bring employment opportunities to low-income areas. According to Jeff Ruster, deputy director for economic development for San Jose, the city shifted earlier this year from making loans and grants to local companies “to investments that bring the disciplines and rigors of venture capital to a business and require a financial return as well as a social return in terms of expanded employment and good wages and benefits.”
Nonprofit-Owned St. Petersburg Times Eyed as Media Model
Many city daily papers were sold off years ago to out-of-town buyers. But Florida’s St. Petersburg Times, with a daily circulation of over 300,000, not only remains independent and local, but also provides an intriguing model of nonprofit social enterprise. Nelson Poynter, former owner of the paper, bequeathed ownership when he died in 1978 to a nonprofit educational organization (now called the Poynter Institute), which has run the paper ever since. As a New York Times writer noted, “For newspaper publishing — an industry awash in uncertainty as it tries to adapt to the Internet — The St. Petersburg Times offers one possible model for salvaging enterprises that must, as all businesses do, respond to financial reality.”
CEOs for Cities Highlights Role of Anchor Institutions in Urban Development
In a paper commissioned by CEOs for Cities, David Maurrasse of Marga, Inc. examines the critical role played by “sticky capital” or “anchor institutions” in community development. Maurrasse uses a broad definition of anchor institutions to encompass universities, community colleges, museums, libraries, municipal enterprises, hospitals, parks, performing arts centers, and sports arenas. The report contains case studies of current efforts, while also laying out a number of areas for future research and policy development.
Foundation Highlights Growth of University “Engagement” Movement
The 2007 Education issue of the Wingspread Journal, published by the Johnson Foundation of Racine, Wisconsin, contains a range of essays that both assess the current stage of community-campus partnership efforts and their future potential. Contributors include national organization leaders, community leaders in Tallahassee and Miami, and local university leaders at Johnson C. Smith (Charlotte), Penn, and the Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
C-W.ORG INTERVIEWS WITH COMMUNITY BUILDERS:
Tony Brown, President/CEO, Uptown Consortium, Cincinnati, OH
Founded in 2003 as an alliance of the University of Cincinnati, three nonprofit health care organizations, and the city zoo, the Uptown Consortium has employed a mixed-use (commercial, retail, and residential) approach to community development in the Uptown neighborhoods where the anchors are located. To date, the University of Cincinnati alone has allocated $100 million from its $1 billion endowment to support the effort, helping leverage over $400 million for community revitalization work.
C-W City, Fall 2007: Miami, FL
(ninth in our continuing series of city profiles)
Widely regarded as the gateway city to Latin America for trade and business, Miami nonetheless suffers from some unique challenges; in stark contrast with neighboring Miami Beach, the city of Miami ranked as the nation’s fifth poorest city; more than 60 percent of its population is foreign born. These challenges, however, have led to many innovative community-wealth building efforts. For instance, the Prosperity Campaign, an earned income tax credit outreach effort led by the Human Services Coalition of Dade County generated an additional $62 million in EITC refunds in its first year. The group estimates that these refunds helped generate $250 million in new spending for the local economy.
National Vacant Properties Coalition Conference Sets Attendance Record
Close to 650 people from around the country came together in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 24 and 25 to share their experiences and strategies for combating vacant properties and building wealth in their communities. The National Vacant Properties Campaign is a joint program of Smart Growth America, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland provided planning support for the conference.
Sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the DiversityData project provides metropolitan-area level data regarding a number of indicators of diversity, opportunity, quality of life and health for various racial and ethnic population groups. The indicators provide a scorecard on diversity and opportunity, and allow researchers, policymakers and community advocates to compare metro areas and to help them advocate for policy action and social change.
Organized by the Kulshan Community Land Trust of Bellingham, Washington, inclusivehousing.info includes a wide range of press clippings on affordable housing, links to inclusionary housing resource groups, and links to a sampling of inclusionary zoning ordinances in effect across the country.
Founded in 1999, PolicyLink is a national nonprofit research, media, capacity building, and advocacy group that seeks to bridge the traditional divide between local communities and policymaking. PolicyLink aims to center what it labels its “regional equity” approach on four principles: the integration of people and place; reduction of local and regional disparities; promotion of “double bottom line” investments; and ensuring meaningful voice, participation, and leadership from community members.
University Park Alliance
Established in 2001, the University Park Alliance is an anchor institution-based community partnership that has focused its efforts on a 40-block area surrounding the University of Akron. Alliance members include the University of Akron, City of Akron, Summa Health System, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, Akron Public Schools, Akron Beacon Journal, the Greater Akron Chamber, and the University Park Development Corporation. A 2001 Knight Foundation grant of $3 million is credited with leveraging more than $150 million in public and private investments in University Park. Knight has since pledged an additional $10 million to support the Alliance’s further development.