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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our fourth monthly edition of our e-newsletter. Once again, we have added more links, documents, and other materials to our site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find our most recent additions.

We especially call attention to our newest website section: C-W Cities. We intend to use this section of our website to highlight regions where you can find a wide variety of community wealth-building institutions.

This month, we highlight Oakland, California, a city that is home to numerous innovative community wealth-building efforts, including community development corporations, credit unions, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) companies, co-ops, community land trusts, and related wealth-building efforts.

If you believe your city or region should be featured in one of our future issues, please let us know. And please continue to send us material to post. This enables us to continue expanding this web site and to better link community wealth-builders.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative


Interview on Community Wealth Building
A frog on the cover declares, “Kiss Me, I’m the Nonprofit Economy.” Is a prince waiting to emerge?In this issue of Nonprofit Quarterly, editors interview Gar Alperovitz, the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and a founding principal of The Democracy Collaborative. A considerable part of the conversation concerns the grave peril that the decline in America’s social fabric poses to low and moderate-income Americans. Into this crisis, Alperovitz contends, have stepped a growing number of community wealth-building institutions, which have had considerable success in rural and urban communities across the country.

Fastener Industries Celebrates 25 Years (PDF 2MB)
Fastener Industries, a worthy example of how employee ownership can promote good paying jobs and community economic stability in a global economy, celebrated its 25th anniversary of employee-ownership this summer. Headquartered in Berea, Ohio, Fastener’s 200 employee-owners produce high-quality weld fasteners, levelers, replacement parts for industrial lift trucks, and rivets. The Ohio Employee Ownership Center’s summer 2005 edition of Owners at Work features the company in a cover article.

Examining Community Engagement’s Roots (PDF 62KB)
Today, efforts are under way at a number of universities to promote community engagement. In developing these efforts, current activists would do well to learn from the experiences of a previous generation of similarly minded scholars at Antioch University in Ohio. Edited by Richard Couto, a founding member of Antioch’s Ph.D. “Leadership of Change” program, Courses in Courage includes essays by six Antioch professors who, starting in the McCarthy years of the 1950s, helped make Antioch College a national center of an activist scholarship deeply rooted in social goals and values.


New York City Council approves health care benefits bill (PDF 79KB)
The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a measure in August requiring large grocery stores to provide a minimum level of health care coverage for their workers. The council’s action follow similar efforts around the country, including one in Maryland. Legislators in New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington State and San Francisco are considering similar bills. The movement is driven by concern over the expansion of big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and “gourmet grocery chains” such as Whole Foods, which typically provide fewer health care benefits than unionized grocery stores.

Report from Aspen Institute questions foundations’ investment strategy (PDF 311KB)
According to federal law, foundations must pay out a minimum of 5% of their assets in grants (or other qualified expenditures) each year. For many, as author Thomas Billitteri notes, the minimum is often the de facto maximum, with the remaining 95% of assets placed in market-rate investments with little or no regard to the foundation’s mission. In this study, Billitteri contends that trustees would better meet their own foundations’ long-term mission and needs through a more integrated social investment strategy that leverages foundation assets to promote social change.

An Employee-Owned Community Development Bank (PDF 63KB)
When the founders of Neighorhood National opened their doors to the public in 1997, they expected the community development bank to act as a catalyst for economic development in its southeast San Diego neighborhood. Now, with the assistance of the Beyster Institute, employee-owners invest through their workplace in a group that in turn invests in their own communities.

Eastern Worker Co-op Conference Highlights Growth (PDF 54KB)
East Coast worker cooperatives held their third and largest-ever annual conference this July in Manchester, New Hampshire, hosted by Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Development. More than 100 worker-owners gathered to attend “nuts and bolts” education workshops on management, finance, marketing and movement-building topics.

Car Repair as Social Enterprise Strategy
At first glance, the car repair shop of Dakota Area Resources and Transportation for Seniors, better known as Darts, seems rather ordinary. But when general manager Gary Dalton talks about his work and describes himself as a “social worker/mechanic,” it becomes very clear this is not a typical garage. The Chronicle of Philanthropy profiles this unusual company.

Tax Refunds Help Low-Income Households Build Savings (PDF 33KB)
Tax time is often the best time for low-income households to set up savings accounts. In 2007, the IRS will allow refund recipients to split their refund, to encourage filers to dedicate a portion of that refund to savings. But as Jennifer Tescher of the Center for Financial Services Innovation explains, the time for banks and nonprofits to begin to prepare for this is now. The Center is a partnership between the Ford Foundation and Shorebank Community Development Bank.


Apollo Alliance
In July, governors from across the nation wrote an open letter to President Bush, urging him to lead a national project to achieve energy independence within a decade in an open letter to the White House. The Apollo Alliance, a joint project of the Institute for America’s Future and the Center on Wisconsin Strategies, is dedicated to making clean energy, freedom from foreign oil, and new energy sector jobs a reality in America.

Lenders for Community Development
Based in San Jose, CA, Lenders for Community Development promotes community development through many means, including individual development accounts and loans for small business development, affordable housing, and community facility construction.

Asset Policy Initiative of California
The Asset Policy Initiative of California conducts research and advocacy work on predatory lending, asset-building savings programs, and affordable housing issues. The organization is a statewide network of stakeholders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who are committed to increasing savings and wealth-building opportunities for working families.

Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues based at the University of Kentucky reports on a broad range of rural community development issues, using the skills and resources from a variety of disciplines, institutions, and states. Their website aims to help non-metropolitan journalists set the public agenda for their communities, grasp the local impact of regional and national issues, and interpret rural issues for national media.

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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June 2020

As protests continue across the nation, we stand in solidarity with all those demanding change after the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the continued state sanctioned violence against Black people. We add our voices to the growing chorus of those insisting that without justice there can be no peace. We are also called to recognize that our work to build a more equitable and democratic political economic system will remain unrealized if we fail to take the steps necessary to dismantle white supremacy, be it in our own workplaces, our communities, or our government.
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May 29, 2020
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May 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate communities across the world, we must begin thinking about the actions we should take now to both intervene in the crisis and set us on a pathway towards a more reparative and democratic economy. Over the last month, staff at The Democracy Collaborative have participated in a series of conversations about this question and the elements that might lead to a just and equitable recovery. From these preliminary discussions, we have identified five areas around which we intend to focus TDC’s work and programs going forward. We will release more details and refinements on these in the coming months, but wanted to share some of our initial thinking on the contours of the work ahead
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April 21, 2020
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April 2020

The COVID-19 crisis poses a double challenge: beyond the terrifying public health emergency, the vitally necessary immediate response has been an economic shutdown of unprecedented proportions. But that is only the beginning of our difficulties. When the medical emergency passes, we will re-emerge into a shattered economic landscape. The challenge of restarting—and in some sectors, even rebuilding—a severely stressed economy will remain, with the inequalities of wealth, power, and control we faced beforehand now amplified many times over.
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