Welcome to the latest quarterly 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 call attention once more to our newest web section: C-W Cities. Our featured city this time is Portland, Oregon, a city that is home to a wide variety of community wealth-building efforts, including community development corporations, a community development bank, co-operatives, social enterprises, and city efforts designed to support environmentally sustainable community development.
Also, please continue to send us material to post. This enables us to continue expanding this web site and to better link community wealth-builders.
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative
NEW & RECOMMENDED:
War on Poverty: Unfinished Business
Forty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed that the nation should undertake a war on poverty. The poverty rate fell, but, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2004, 37 million Americans still live below the poverty line. In this special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) article-frank.pdf (55KB), Prof. Pablo Eisenberg of Georgetownarticle-eisneberg.pdf (62KB), community land trust leader Gus Newport article-newport.pdf (64KB), and nearly two-dozen others address what we have learned and what should be done to reduce poverty today.
Evaluating Community-University Partnerships (PDF 1MB)
Over the past few decades, deindustrialization, suburbanization, and disinvestment have combined to undermine the economic health of many cities. Increasingly, community groups are finding partners in local colleges and universities to turn these problems around. In this article, Kenneth Reardon of Cornell University, who has been a participant in such partnerships for the past 15 years, highlights ten exemplary efforts.
After the flood: Rebuilding New Orleans
The photos are all-too-familiar, but can we use what we have learned from community-wealth building approaches to rebuild New Orleans in ways that respect—rather than destroy—community? Two reports — one from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution report-brookings.pdf (3.54MB) and the other from the New America Foundationreport-boshara-et-al.pdf (70KB) — suggest some answers.
IN THE NEWS:
Community Development Corporation Trade Association Looks to the Future (PDF 149KB)
In September, over 200 community development activists attended the recent 35th Annual Meeting of the National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED) held September 19-21, 2005, in Washington, D.C. Conference discussion centered on two issues: the long-range future of the community development industry (which included a plenary session moderated by Juan Williams of National Public Radio) and the need for an immediate effort response to Hurricane Katrina. Speakers at the conference included Gar Alperovitz of the Democracy Collaborative, Bret Harvey of the Enterprise Foundation, Buzz Roberts of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Ken Wade of Neighborhood Reinvestment, and keynote speaker Rep. Diane Watson (D-California).
Foundations Fall Short in Support of Community Development (PDF 76KB)
Rick Cohen of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, in a recent address at the annual meeting of the National Congress for Community Economic Development, said that overall foundation support for community development has fallen. Cohen called on community development activists to “view the half trillion dollars in foundation assets and $30 billion in foundation grants as an organizing target just the way community developers have organized to address bank investment or HUD and USDA programs.”
Santa Cruz, Calif. Deposits Funds Locally to Spur Local Development (PDF 71KB)
Santa Cruz, California has moved nearly $600,000 in city reserve funds from U.S. treasuries and other securities into certificates of deposits at two locally owned financial institutions, Santa Cruz County Bank and the Bay Area Federal Credit Union. Not only do the deposits create local investment capital, but the city also earns a slightly higher rate of return. Santa Cruz City Councilor Ryan Coonerty has been in touch with the National League of Cities and hopes to encourage the spread of the idea to other cities. 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 their mailing list, please visit www.newrules.org/retail.
CalPERS inner city investments pay off (PDF 100KB)
Can state pension funds earn both social and economic returns? With eight years of inner city investment history behind the California fund’s efforts, results are starting to come in. To date, CalPERS’ inner city investments have generated $106.6 million in profits and a 20.2 percent internal rate of return,. Its residential and commercial projects have spanned the state — including low-income areas of Sacramento, San Bruno, and Emeryville in the North and similar efforts in Hollywood, southwest Los Angeles, Inglewood, and San Diego in the South. All told, CalPERS has invested $1.2 billion, with another $2.2 billion set aside for future efforts.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Turns 25 (PDF 81KB)
As Washington Post columnist David Broder notes, the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC was once marked by crack houses, boarded-up windows, and burned-out buildings. No more. Today it has a thriving shopping center, a theater, a dance institute, a Latin American youth art center, and several child-care centers. LISC and its community development partners are a large part of the reason for the change. Nationally, LISC funds up to $720 million worth a year into grants, loans, and equity investments in 34 cities as well as rural areas of 37 states.
Urban loan plan advances in Milwaukee (PDF 100KB)
In a move that would put Milwaukee in the forefront of urban economic innovation, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met with lawyers and financiers last month to design a program to employ assets - including vacant lots - as collateral to back loans for minority-owned businesses. Milwaukee is one of five U.S. cities that are pursuing creation of a “collateral loan fund,” said Greg Stanton of Wall Street Without Walls, who is advising Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., and other cities about how to leverage market financial tools to bankroll urban development projects.
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
Founded in 2001, BALLE is a group of socially conscious small businesses that believe in the importance of building strong local communities that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. BALLE has grown rapidly. It now has 18 local chapters in 13 states plus two chapters in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
In Spring 2005, Wal-Mart Watch, a coalition of labor, environmental, and religious groups, began its nationwide campaign to challenge the world’s largest retailer to become a better employer, neighbor, and corporate citizen. The web site contains a wide range of news, research reports, and other activist resources. Last month, over 400 groups spread across all 50 states participated in “Higher Expectations” week, a week of actions designed to call attention to Wal-Mart related issues. These events included free screenings of a new documentary, The High Cost of Low Prices, directed by Robert Greenwald, who also directed “Out-Foxed.”
Partnership for Community Development, Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)
Founded in 1998 as partnership between Colgate University and the Town and Village of Hamilton, New York, the Partnership for Community Develop has created programs to foster small business development; provided design help and funding to improve building facades and streetscapes in the five-block business district of downtown Hamilton; help restore the Village Green; and established retail and marketing support for local arts and crafts. To date, Colgate has provided $630,000 in funding, which has leveraged over $1.5 million from private sector, foundation, and government sources.
The Energy Cooperative (Philadelphia)
Started in 1979 as a spin off from Weavers Way Food Co-op, by members who wanted to use the concept of “group buying power” to get lower prices on heating oil, the Energy Co-op has expanded to provide renewable electricity, heating oil, and bio-diesel. Their annual sales are just under $5 million.