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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our latest e-newsletter. This quarter we bring you the following new developments:

  • What is the relationship between climate change and population growth, on the one hand, and stabilizing cities and building community wealth on the other? The Democracy Collaborative’s latest report examines how new community and economic development strategies can help America meet the sustainability challenge.
  • This month we also launch a new Urban Agriculture section of Here you will find a wide range of information on models and innovations, support organizations, and research resources on ways to build wealth in low-income urban communities through localized food production.
  • The work of the Democracy Collaborative in Cleveland-in partnership with The Cleveland Foundation-continues to expand. This month, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar celebrate their one-year anniversary. To celebrate the achievements of the past year, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visited the Laundry in mid-October where he met with Evergreen’s worker-owners. Our partners at the Ohio Employee Ownership Center have produced a new video about Ohio Cooperative Solar. The most recent issue of the community development magazine, Shelterforce, features a profile of Evergreen at one-year.
  • Meanwhile, worker co-ops in the United States continue to gain inspiration from the experience of the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in Spain. In September, a delegation, including the Mayor of Richmond, California (in the San Francisco Bay Area) traveled to Mondragón to learn about the world’s leading network of worker cooperatives. Following that trip, Mondragón has agreed to help the City explore worker co-op feasibility in Richmond.
  • In the sixteenth interview in our continuing series of conversations with community wealth-building leaders, we interview this quarter John Taylor, Founder and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
  • We also profile our twenty-first community wealth city: New York, New York.
  • 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.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative


Seeds of Change Examines ACORN’s Rise and Fall 
In Seeds of Change, John Atlas examines ACORN’s founding, its four decades of effective organizing, and the series of events that led to its sudden demise after the 2008 presidential election. As the only journalist to have access to ACORN’s staff and board meetings, Atlas documents what really happened in ACORN’s large voter registration drives as well as its efforts to organize unions, fight predatory lending, promote living wages for working people, develop affordable housing, and help Hurricane Katrina’s survivors return to New Orleans.

Jane Addams Biography Highlights Early Community Partnerships
In Spirit in Action, author Louis W. Knight tells the compelling story of one of America’s leading progressive activists, Jane Addams, co-founder of the nation’s first settlement house, Hull House. Through the settlement movement, Addams helped propel a national movement of community centers where people of all classes and ethnicities could gather, providing an early 20th century precursor to modern community-university partnership work.

Community Economic Development Embraces Shift in Practice
Highlighting the current shift in community development from market-based incentives to mixed strategies involving public, private, and community partners, Roland Anglin uses his experience as a practitioner and applied academic to explain the difference between what is now termed community economic development and traditional local economic development practice. The book also includes a wide range of case studies and a Resource Guide for readers who may want a more expansive understanding of community economic development.

What Can Community Groups Do?
Contesting Community takes a critical look at the contributions of community organizing and community development over the last thirty years in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. This book highlights a number of groups, including ACORN, Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue Committee, and the Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal, assessing the difficulties in balancing the sometimes-conflicting imperatives of community organizing and community development

Asset-Based Community Development Provides Antidote to Consumerism
In The Abundant Community, Peter Block and John McKnight examine the damaging effects that our consumer-oriented culture has had on families, communities, and environment. “We are trained to become consumers and clients, not citizens and neighbors,” the authors note. Yet it doesn’t have to be like this. In this work, Block and McKnight illustrate how communities, by drawing on their own resources and assets, can create a self-reliant, non-consumerist “abundant community.”


Social Enterprises Gain Public Sector Funding in UK and US
Shunned by nonprofits and ignored by the public sector, the social enterprise model developed independently in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In this article, Jerr Boschee, founder and executive director of The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs, details the rise of the social enterprise and how it has moved from the fringe to the mainstream. Today, the social enterprise sector - any business that uses earned revenue strategies to pursue a double or triple bottom line - has expanded to include nonprofits that have shifted their business model and has finally begun to attract the attention of public sector support in both the United States (such as the new Social Innovation Fund) and the United Kingdom. 
article-boschee.pdf (150KB)

Credit Unions Weather the Recession, Add Membership and Keep Lending
Despite the tough financial environment, the credit union movement gained membership, assets, and deposits in 2009. In this report, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions examines trends at 208 community development credit unions from fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Two key findings: assets increased by $692 million - a growth rate of 15.2 percent - outpacing the growth rate of 9.1 percent for all federal credit unions. Furthermore, even as mainstream banks pulled back on lending, more than half of community development credit unions actually increased lending.
paper-rosenthal-kim.pdf (1MB)

New Orleans Emerges From Hurricane Katrina’s Shadow
Five years after Hurricane Katrina, two papers from the New Orleans Index at Five find that, post-Katrina, “new” forms of civic engagement are displacing an “old” style of civil distrust and disengagement that has historically been present in New Orleans. One organization - the 9th Ward Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association - is utilizing a strategy called “clustering,” or bringing back an entire block at a time and anchoring commercial amenities and infrastructure. Other community developers are also successfully employing place-based and people-based approaches to help revitalize the city. 
paper-rose-tuggle.pdf (530KB) AND 
paper-weil.pdf (590KB)

Community-Owned Businesses Step Up to Fill In Market Gaps
Stepping in when the marketplace is too slow to act on its own or the risks appear too high, community-owned businesses are motivated by a social purpose. In this article, Josh Bloom, former program officer at the National Trust Main Street Center, explains how these businesses - often cooperatives, community-owned corporations, small ownership groups, or community investment funds - help revive disinvested commercial districts. Highlighting the successes of these locally focused business development efforts, Bloom also explains the benefits provided by each model’s unique structure. 
article-bloom.pdf (870KB)

Aspen Looks at Ways to Scale Up U.S. Microenterprise
In the field of U.S. microenterprise, scale has always been a challenge. In response, the Aspen Institute’s Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination (FIELD), in partnership with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, created the Scale Academy for Microenterprise Development. This reports highlights multiple lessons from five organizations including ACCION New Mexico-Arizona-Colorado’s strategic restructuring, Mountain Bizwork’s incorporation of a coaching strategy to help its borrowers in challenging times, and ACCION USA’s introduction of stronger credit-building and financial education components.
report-edgcomb-et-al.pdf (450KB)

Survey Highlights Social Enterprise Trends
Seeking to advance social enterprise by identifying trends and best practices, the Social Enterprise Alliance in partnership with Community Wealth Ventures and Duke’s University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship surveyed 740 organizations in 2009. This report provides an in-depth review of the survey results, showing non-profits are increasingly considering or utilizing the social enterprise model as a route to organizational stability and growth. Another important finding is that nearly 90 percent of nonprofits that have engaged in social enterprise are actively moving towards launching another one in the next three years. 
report-cwv-sea-case.pdf (340KB)

Harkavy Calls on Universities to Expand Role in Local Community Development 
In this interview, Dr. Ira Harkavy, Associate Vice President and founding Director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, explains the important role of universities and colleges can play as partners for Promise Neighborhoods and other place-based community development initiatives. As anchor institutions in their communities, Harkavy argues, universities and colleges must focus on building democratic community partnerships and should concentrate on solving local community-identified problems, such as substandard housing, inadequate healthcare and unequal schooling.
article-lester.pdf (120KB)


This edition, John Taylor, founding president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition NCRC), talks about the history of the Community Reinvestment Act, prospects for its expansion, and a wide range of issues concerning wealth building and preservation efforts in the nation’s low-income communities. 
interview-taylor.pdf (235KB)


The twentieth in our continuing series of profiles of Community Wealth Cities: New York, New York. The Big Apple was the birthplace of the modern community development corporation (in Bedford-Stuyvesant, pictured left). New York City has also been a national leader in cooperatives, social enterprise, and a number of other community wealth building fields.


Co-op Educators Gather in Cleveland to Discuss New Co-op Development 
Over 100 co-op educators and developers gathered at the annual Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) conference to discuss new trends in co-op development. Among the highlights: Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives and a new Producer-Buyers co-op in West Central Wisconsin.
article-dubb-ace.pdf (120KB)

Asset Building Advocates Press for Shift to ‘Save and Invest’ Economy
More than 1,000 people attended the Corporation For Enterprise Development’s biennial Asset Learning Conference. Speakers argued that the Great Recession has provided a unique opportunity to reshape anti-poverty strategy in ways that will facilitate efforts by lower income Americans to build savings and thus enhance their long-term economic security. 
article-dubb-cfed10.pdf (120KB)

US Worker Co-op Federation Holds Fourth Biennial National Conference
The US Federation of Worker Cooperatives held its 3rd National Conference in Berkeley, California this August. The event brought together a record 270 worker co-op members and allies. Highlights included showcasing a number of San Francisco Bay Area cooperatives as well as the Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, Ohio.
article-ifateyo-usfwc.pdf (600KB)


Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Founded in 1967, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has strived to improve the quality of life of those living in Central Brooklyn. It has helped attract more than $375 million in investment, placed over 20,000 youth and adults in jobs, and has helped construct or renovate 2,200 units of housing. Also considered an early program related investment success story, the organization was a recipient of a $3.4 million loan from the Ford Foundation to support the construction of Restoration Plaza, a commercial center completed in 1972 that receives an estimated 1.5 million visits each year.

Chicago News Cooperative
Launched as a project by the non-profit Window to the World Communication Inc., the Chicago News Cooperative aims to produce public-interest journalism focused on Chicago. Currently managed by James O’Shea, the former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and editor of the Los Angeles Times, and working in partnership with the New York Times and WTTW Channel 11, Chicago’s public television station, the organization is committed to connecting the community with its news room in a two-way exchange of information.

Located in New York City and started by former workers of a World Trade Center restaurant, COLORS is a worker cooperative where each of the worker-owners receives a share of the profits and supervises the running of the restaurant through an elected board. Each worker-owner earns a minimum of $13.50 an hour, far above the industry average.

Connective Corridor
Connecting University Hill with downtown Syracuse, New York, the Connective Corridor is a revitalization project that showcases the variety of art and cultural assets of the city, encouraging economic development, tourism, and urban residential “smart growth.” Led by the city’s principal anchor institution - Syracuse University - the Corridor will feature creative lighting, sustainable transportation options, urban reforestation, technology hot spots, and offer opportunities for student learning and faculty scholarship.

Sustainable Economies Law Center
Seeking to facilitate the growth of sustainable, localized, and just economies, through legal research, professional training, resource development, and education, the Sustainable Economies Law Center operates programs in five fields: urban agriculture; cooperatives; community-supported entrepreneurship; barter and local currency; and shared, sustainable and affordable housing.

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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