Welcome to our latest www.Community-Wealth.org e-newsletter. This quarter we bring you the following new developments:
- In support of our ongoing work with The Cleveland Foundation’s Greater University Circle Initiative economic inclusion strategy, ShoreBank Enterprise has established the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund to help provide financing to start-up cooperative businesses in some of Cleveland’s most underserved neighborhoods. article-shorebank.pdf (68KB)
- The latest book by The Democracy Collaborative’s co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly of Demos will be published next month. Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back argues that 90% of existing wealth derives from humanity’s common stock of knowledge, making it morally indefensible that the top one percent of American households own more wealth than the poorest 120 million Americans combined. unjust-deserts-press.pdf (148KB) Visit TheNewPress.com to pre-order »
- We feature the eighth in our continuing series of conversations with community wealth-building leaders: Rodney North of the worker cooperative Equal Exchange.
- We’ve added a new 12-minute video to our website, Manufactured Home Parks: Real Assets Real Communities, courtesy of the Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (www.ncdf.coop). The film features interviews with residents of four new Minnesota manufactured housing co-ops.
- We also profile our thirteenth community wealth city: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Over the summer, we began updating many sections on our website. As always, we have added dozens of new links, articles, reports, and other materials. So take a look around. Look for this symbol to find the most recent additions. And don’t forget to view the new entries in our C-W Blog.
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative
NEW & RECOMMENDED:
What Green Means for Communities
There’s much talk about “green jobs” and the “green economy,” but is there a there, there? In its summer 2008 issue, the National Housing Institute’s journal Shelterforce provides an in-depth look at “What Green Means for Communities.” Featured articles include pieces on Sustainable South Bronx, green building, and urban gardening.
Visit NHI’s Shelterforce Online to access the entire issue »
Universities Launch Coalition to Link Universities to America’s Cities
The Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges’ Commission on the Urban Agenda (CUA) have worked together to create a plan to utilize the full potential of the nation’s public urban research universities. USU’s three main areas of focus are building partnerships with K-12 schools, supporting community economic development, and meeting the public health needs of urban communities.
Report Highlights Wealth Building in Smaller “Rust Belt” Cities
A new report from PolicyLink outlines a series of community wealth building innovations that hold great promise for revitalizing America’s small (less than 150,000 people) industrial cities. Among the areas highlighted are new practices in land use (including new forms of land banking), infrastructure development (urban greening), economic development (green business) and neighborhood improvement (leveraging local anchor institutions).
Book Outlines Vision for a “Green Collar Economy”
Authored by environmental activist Van Jones, founder of the nonprofit Green For All, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, provides a wealth of concrete ideas, examples, and policies that could jump start the U.S. economy, repair the earth, and lift millions of people out of poverty.
For more information or to order a copy, visit www.vanjones.net »
IN THE NEWS:
New England’s Cooperative Capital Fund Attracts Social Investors
In 2007, the Cooperative Fund of New England launched the Cooperative Capital Fund, a socially responsible investment fund addressing the lack of financial resources facing new cooperatives established in areas of high need. The Fund provides “patient capital,” or equity-like financing pooled from small, social investors without requiring co-ops to give up control over their own management and destiny. The fund’s goal is to raise at least $460,000 before making its first investment in a co-op. To date, CCF has commitments of $340,000.
For more information, see also www.coopcapital.coop/coopcapital »
New America Foundation Offers Broad Menu of Asset Policy Options
This report from the New America Foundation outlines a broad range of policies that aim to facilitate wealth building among lower and middle-income Americans. Among the policies outlined are proposals to restrain predatory lending, expand financial education, and provide matching dollars and/or tax incentives to promote savings for college, small business investment, home ownership, and retirement.
Chronology Traces the Historical Development of Social Enterprise
The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs’ first annual social enterprise timeline provides valuable snapshots of important moments in the history of nonprofit enterprise, tracing its development from the early philanthropic efforts of Andrew Carnegie in the 1890s to today’s international “social enterprise” movement.
Local Grocery Stores Grow Out of Fresh Food Financing Initiative
Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI), a four-year-old statewide grant and loan program for grocery store development, illustrates an innovative model for state governments to support local community wealth building. Helping to address the shortages of fresh produce in low-income communities, the initiative has led to such developments as an independently owned grocery store in the small town of Williamsburg, as well as a store in a low-income neighborhood in North Philadelphia. To date, FFFI has made $42 million in grants and loans to finance 58 projects. This article is reprinted with permission from The Hometown Advantage Bulletin, a free email newsletter published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
To read back issues or join the mailing list, visit www.newrules.org/retail
Coalition Surveys On-the-Ground Community Wealth Building Efforts
The National Neighborhood Coalition closes out 26 years of its history with one final report: What’s Happening to the Neighborhood. The anthology focuses on four main areas: affordable housing, community development, community organizing, and neighborhood planning and data. Dealing with issues ranging from banking to health care and public housing to equity in planning, the report highlights examples from cities across the country, including shared equity housing in Washington D.C. and the redevelopment of two troubled neighborhoods in Dayton, Ohio.
Guide Identifies Steps to Building a Sustainable Food Movement
A new booklet illustrates ways in which the internet and technological advancement can help grow the sustainable food movement. One feature, Eat Well Everywhere (EWE), helps readers locate local food vendors throughout the United States and Canada. Overall, this guide is a valuable resource for small farm producers, activists, and anyone who wants to know more about sustainable food.
Goodwin College Promotes Community Revitalization in East Hartford
While formally becoming a college in 1999, Goodwin College has served as a community based organization since 1962 and is continuing this legacy with its work to revitalize East Hartford. In addition to creating affordable housing and supporting workforce development, Goodwin is actively undertaking an ambitious brownfield clean-up project, hoping to transform more than 30 acres into productive facilities. This expansion project, which will benefit all of the communities served by the college, will generate approximately $79.5 million for the state and create 1,500 jobs.
Keeping Up to Speed: Action Needed to Boost Broadband Infrastructure
Once the world’s leader in computer communications, the United States is increasingly falling behind. Addressing critical questions regarding the role of broadband in community economic development, this report offers recommendations to boost availability and adoption of high-capacity broadband in North Carolina and the United States. In particular, the report calls for a federally funded national broadband strategy and a more active role for local governments in establishing municipal broadband systems.
C-W.ORG INTERVIEWS WITH COMMUNITY BUILDERS:
Rodney North has been a worker-owner of Equal Exchange for over a dozen years, where he serves as “the Answer Man” responsible for public relations and Vice Chair of its Board of Directors. The Massachusetts-based cooperative has 80 worker-owners and $34 million in annual sales, making it among the nation’s leading worker co-ops. In this C-W.org Interview, North discusses the group’s unusual funding model, its relations with consumer and agricultural co-ops, and current challenges faced by worker co-ops in the United States.
More interviews at www.community-wealth.org »
The thirteenth in our continuing series of profiles ofCommunity Wealth Cities: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The City of Brotherly Love is home to a number of innovative community wealth building initiatives. Among them: the University of Pennsylvania, which has shifted over 10 percent of its annual purchasing to local vendors, thus, injecting an estimated $80 million into the West Philadelphia neighborhood economy in 2006-2007.
Asset Learning Conference Participants Seek To Build Wealth in Hard Times
More than 1,100 people attended September’s CFED biennial Asset Learning Conference. As many speakers at the conference note, although individual development accounts and other policies have had very positive outcomes for participants, the scale of these programs has been dwarfed by the loss of family assets resulting from the nation’s ongoing foreclosure crisis. The conference emphasized the need to scale up efforts to make asset building for those of low and moderate incomes a central part of a coordinated effort to rebuild America’s middle class. Among the highlights were addresses by Ray Boshara of the New America Foundation, Michael Sherraden of Washington University, and CFED Founder Bob Friedman.
Cooperative Development Institute
Serving communities throughout the New York and the New England region, the non-profit Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) provides business education, training, and technical assistance to all types of cooperative enterprises, including agricultural, credit unions, co-op banks, business start-ups, and worker-owned cooperatives.
Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives
Comprised of small and medium-sized workplaces, such as the Cheeseboard Collective (pictured right), the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives or NoBAWC (pronounced “no boss”) is a grassroots organization of worker-owned cooperatives dedicated to building workplace democracy in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Transportation For America
Founded by Smart Growth America and Reconnecting America, Transportation for America is a diverse coalition focused on developing a national transportation program centered around creating green jobs through greater investment in modernized infrastructure, transit oriented communities, and building an extensive railroad system.
Weavers Way Co-op
In 1972, the Weavers Way Co-op began in a store so small that six shoppers made it feel crowded. As of 2007, Weavers Way had over 3,300 members and generated $7 million in revenue. Over the years, it has successfully helped spin off other co-op enterprises, including the Energy Co-op and most recently a second Weavers Way Co-op, which opened in July 2008. The group also runs community programs and works with local schools on activities that range from reinforcing basic math and English skills to promoting environmentally friendly practices.