With the encouragement of ICARE (The Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment), the City of Jacksonville invited The Democracy Collaborative to organize an exploratory conversation around community wealth building as a means of addressing local poverty and economic marginalization. Read more about Highlights from the 2014 Jacksonville Community Wealth Building Roundtable...
The Cleveland Model
The Evergreen Cooperatives' new fund that will acquire existing companies from retiring business owners and sell them back to the employees. This conversion strategy is gaining popularity among advocates of worker ownership in the face of a “Silver Tsunami” of retiring baby boomer business owners.
The Fund for Employee Ownership, as the Evergreen fund is called, is the latest and perhaps most potent initiative aimed at expanding employee ownership and the principles of democratic governance....
The city of Preston, England, is a case study in how a community reimagines itself when long-sought after corporate investment fails to materialize.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Evergreen Cooperatives Launch The Fund for Employee Ownership
New initiative will preserve quality jobs by acquiring businesses and making their employees into owners Read more about The Evergreen Cooperatives Launch The Fund for Employee Ownership...
TDC's public comments discussed how anchor mission and anchor collaborative work helps to address the social determinants of health and builds community wealth.
Isaiah Pool, of the Democracy Collaborative, writes for Common Dream on "Why We Have To Break Up Amazon."
It is the kind of inquiry that people like Stacy Mitchell, the director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has been pushing for. In an interview this week for The Next System Podcast, a project of the Democracy Collaborative, Mitchell explained that Amazon is to the 21st century what railroads were to the late 19th century. Amazon’s third-party reseller program underscores the parallel.
Laurie Larson writes the article Trusteee Magazine "Anchoring hospitals in the community." In this article, Larson covers the Healthcare Anchor Network, a project of the Democracy Collaborative:
Theirs is just one example of the work emerging from the Healthcare Anchor Network, a blooming consortium of nearly three dozen health systems launched in May 2017. The network's overarching goal is to “reach a critical mass of U.S. health systems [that are] strategically improving community health and well-being by leveraging all of their institutional assets, including intentionally integrating local economic inclusion strategies in hiring, purchasing and investing.”
HAN is the brainchild of the Democracy Collaborative, an economic development agency in Cleveland, which was launched as a “democratic renewal” research center at the University of Maryland in 2000. The collaborative has since moved well beyond its research roots, offering field activities to expand community wealth-building, hosting nationwide roundtables to discuss transformative economic development solutions, and advising local governments, foundations and anchor institutions such as health systems on new strategies for addressing the root causes of socio-economic inequity in their communities.
Thomas M. Hanna, Joe Guinana, and Joe Bilsborough write in Open Democracy "The ‘Preston Model’ and the modern politics of municipal socialism."In this piece, the writers highlight the flagship community wealth building project in Cleveland, Ohio, and Preston, England and what it means for municipal socialism:
There are now two flagship models of community wealth building—and a growing number of additional efforts in cities across the United States and United Kingdom. The first model is the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio—created, in part, by our own organisation, The Democracy Collaborative. Cleveland had lost almost half of its population and most of its large publicly-traded companies due to deindustrialisation, disinvestment, and capital flight. But it still had very large non-profit and quasi-public institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, and University Hospitals—known as anchor institutions because they are rooted in place and aren’t likely to up and leave. Together, Cleveland’s anchors were spending around $3 billion per year, very little of which was previously staying in the local community. The Democracy Collaborative worked with them to localise a portion of their procurement in support of a network of purposely-created green worker co-ops, the Evergreen Co-operatives, tied together in a community corporation so that they too are rooted in place. Today these companies are profitable and are beginning to eat the lunch of the multinational corporations that had previously provided contract services to the big anchors. Last month came the announcement of an expansion of the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry to a new site serving the needs of the Cleveland Clinic, with a hundred new employees on fast track to worker ownership.
Writing in Chicago Magazine, Nissa Rhee writes a long-form article on the effects of poverty in Chicago; "A second city." Rhee quotes David Zuckerman about the anchor strategy in Chicago's West Side Total Health Collaborative:
“Our job as doctors is to heal and prevent suffering,” says Ansell. “In this situation, the healing needs to be aimed at neighborhoods.”
While most anchor institution strategies around the country have focused on one issue, employment or housing for example, the West Side Total Health Collaborative has a wide scope and an impressive goal: To improve life expectancy across region and halve the 16-year life expectancy gap between West Garfield Park and the Loop by 2030.
According to David Zuckerman, a manager for health care engagement at the Democracy Collaborative and organizer of the Healthcare Anchor Network, it is “the most ambitious collective strategy around anchor work” he’s seen to redirect money into a particular region.
In Next City, Sarah Trent writes "Turning Health Care into Community Wealth in Cleveland." Trent highlights community wealth building work by Democracy Collaboratives in Cleveland, Ohio:
“[The expansion] proves that local businesses can deliver at the quality and cost that institutions require,” says David Zuckerman, director of health care engagement at the Democracy Collaborative, a nonprofit research, advisory and advocacy organization with offices in Cleveland and Washington, D.C.
Ten years ago, the Cleveland Clinic joined the Cleveland Foundation, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, the Democracy Collaborative and the city government to launch the Evergreen Cooperatives, a network of three worker-owned and worker-managed companies, starting with the laundry cooperative, later adding a construction cooperative specializing in renewable energy installation, and an urban agri-business cooperative. According to Evergreen Cooperatives, the median income in the six neighborhoods they target is $18,500.
"Preston, in north-west England, is a laboratory for other aspects of Corbynomics. Under an agreement with the local council, large public institutions such as the university bias their procurement towards providers in the local area. For Matthew Brown, the councillor who started the scheme, it is about taking back control of public resources. “It democratises the capital,” he says. If elected to Downing Street, Labour would get the government to use its colossal procurement budget for policy goals, demanding that suppliers pay the living wage (a voluntary amount slightly higher than the statutory minimum wage) or cap bosses’ pay at 20 times that of the median worker, for instance..."
Tom Gann writes for New Socialist in "Labour's New Economics Conference: Part Five, Local Democratic Economic Strategies." Gann recaps the UK Labour Party's panel, "Local Democratic Economic Strategies," at the New Economic Conference. The panel included Matthew Brown, Preston City Council; Heather Wakefield, UNISON; Ted Howard, president/co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative:
Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborative
Howard began by talking of the “pilgrimage” from the USA to Preston, and how Preston had now eclipsed what had been achieved in the US. He then outlined the principles of Community Wealth Building.
- The priority of labour over capital, particularly in a crisis, with continued stable employment more important than capital’s profits.
- The need for local and broad-based rather than absentee ownership, as the basis for asserting what interests are valued.
- The importance of active democratic ownership contrasted with the passive, consumer model of neoliberalism.
- The central role for multipliers and internalising the circulation of money with investment sticking rather than capital being extracted.
- Economic development understood not as a partnership between the state and business, in which the state is unaccountable and subordinate, but as a multistakeholder process.
- Place matters, direct investment in neighbourhoods, particularly neighbourhoods of colour is necessary, trickle down particularly into these neighbourhoods cannot be relied upon.
- Systemic change, the current system destroys the environment and produces inequalities so it’s necessary to move beyond amelioration to build systems that produce different outcomes.
Howard concluded, with the properly Marxist-humanist insight, “people made our systems, we can remake them” (or, “if there’s been a way to build it, there’ll be a way to destroy it, things are not all that out of control”).
CLEVELAND, OHIO — MAY 10, 2018 Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) announced a major expansion today in collaboration with Ohio’s second largest employer, taking over management of the Cleveland Clinic’s laundry facility in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood. This additional location complements ECL’s original facility in Glenville. The expansion brings more than 100 new employees into the company, joining the 50 workers employed at the original laundry.
Celebrating this milestone for the workers at this employee-owned business, a proclamation from the City of Cleveland was delivered, highlighting the collaboration between ECL and Cleveland Clinic that will help strengthen and support the vitality of the local economy. “The City of Cleveland welcomes the opportunity for all businesses—new or well established—to participate and grow in our community,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Investments from employee-owned companies like Evergreen Cooperative Laundry help create more wealth for people in our neighborhoods while making our city an even more desirable place to live, work, play and do business.”
ECL is part of the Evergreen Cooperatives, a nationally celebrated network of companies in Cleveland, Ohio, that creates jobs and builds community wealth through cooperative business ownership. These businesses are located in historically disinvested neighborhoods. For Brett Jones, Executive Vice President at the Evergreen Cooperatives, “this expansion validates the core idea at the heart of the Evergreen model—that businesses owned by workers can succeed and thrive in the market, helping close the wealth gap.” Read more about Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce...
Sara Aziza writes in Waging Nonviolence: Worker cooperatives offer real alternatives to Trump’s retrograde economic vision. In this article she highlights the work of the Democracy Collaborative's report Worker Cooperatives: Pathway to Scale and the Democracy Collaborative's strategy and proposals for reducing economic inequality:
“The field of worker co-op development is just beginning to create the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to increase its scale and impact,” wrote Hilary Abell in “Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale,” an extensive report for the Democracy Collaborative, a research and advocacy institute dedicated to progressive economics.
In The Economist, a look at Preston, England, where a Cleveland experiment at cooperative community development has inspired a major effort to localize the municipalize economy—one which is increasingly at the center of the economic agenda in Labour's platform under Jeremy Corbyn.
Writing for Truthout co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative Gar Alperovitz highlights the connection between Youngtown, Ohio, and the Principals of the Pluralist Commonwealth.
On September 19, 1977 -- a day remembered locally as "Black Monday" -- the corporate owners of the Campbell Works in Youngstown, Ohio, abruptly shuttered the giant steel mill's doors. Instantly, 5,000 workers lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and their futures. The mill's closing was national news, one of the ﬁrst major blows in the era of deindustrialization, offshoring, and "free trade" that has since made mass layoffs commonplace.
Mississippi's poor capital Jackson will be in the next four years subject to an economic experiment led by black activists and a newly elected progressive mayor. The plan is to introduce a barter economy, start worker cooperatives and build affordable rental housing in cooperation with the City. Tea Party Republicans and the white business community are expected to resist
International coverage of Cooperation Jackson...read more
Smithsonian magazine highlights American poverty through photography. In this article, The Smithsonian Magazine highlights the work of Democracy Collaborative and the expanding number of cities investing in co-ops and social enterprises...read more
The presence of the 2016 Republican National Convention cast a national spotlight on Cleveland, Ohio. Looking to highlight the struggles and hopes of ordinary low-income local residents, many visiting journalists found their way to the Evergreen Cooperatives, a group of three linked employee-owned social enterprises based in the Greater University Circle area of Cleveland's East Side. Read more about Evergreen Cooperatives take the spotlight in Cleveland, OH during GOP Convention...