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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our fourth monthly edition of our Community-Wealth.org 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

 NEW & RECOMMENDED:


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.

 IN THE NEWS:

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.

 SITES OF THE MONTH:

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.
www.apolloalliance.org

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.
www.l4cd.com

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.
www.assetpolicy-ca.org

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. 
www.uky.edu/CommInfoStudies/IRJCI

 
Publication date: 2005-09-01

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September 22, 2020
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September 2020

Over the past six months in the United States, a staggering 200,000 lives have been cut short due to COVID-19. These were our parents, our friends, our grandparents, our community members, and our children. The loss is both heartbreaking and infuriating because it did not have to be this way. Not only are we beset by an incompetent, negligent and mendacious White House (and its enablers in the Senate), but our economic system is quite literally killing us, and what is worse, it is operating as designed. The extreme and ever-growing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few puts the health, wellbeing, and lives of people in the United States, and around the world, at grave risk. As Executive Vice President Marjorie Kelly writes in an op-ed for The Hill, “the blunt truth is that the profit-maximizing, capital-controlled corporate model must become a thing of the past.”
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August 20, 2020
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August 2020

Each passing day we are faced with further evidence of the scale of the crisis we are now facing. A potentially unprecedented wave of evictions as moratoriums come to an end; the threat of far-reaching utilities shutoffs as residents struggle to make ends meet; small businesses shuttering with little relief in sight. And all this on top of the heartbreaking and uneven landscape of preventable death, with Black, Indigenous and other people of color bearing the brunt of the pandemic and its fallout. The scale of the crisis necessitates immediate and decisive action. But these actions will be ineffective if we do not acknowledge a fundamental truth: we were already in crisis long before the COVID-19 pandemic. What we are observing now are the logical outcomes of a political-economic system that by design puts profit and “shareholder value” over peoples’ lives and the health of our planet.
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July 27, 2020
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July 2020

Arundhati Roy, the Indian author and activist, has written: “Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality,’ trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”
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