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“Community Wealth Building” on the rise in city governments

Glass office door with "Office of Community Wealth Building" lettered

When the city government of Richmond, Virginia, established the country’s first Office of Community Wealth Building in 2014 , we were pretty excited here at The Democracy Collaborative, and not only because University of Richmond professor Thad Williamson, our former colleague and co-author, with our co-founder Gar Alperovitz, of Making a Place for Community, had been tapped to set up the office. It was also an important milestone for our work as advocates for “community wealth building.” Using this name for an office within a city government represented a new level of engagement with the idea that a new approach—focused on cross-sector collaboration and the use of local assets to catalyze opportunities for broad-based ownership, with an intentional orientation towards inclusive development rather than the failed promises of trickle-down strategies—was necessary if cities were going to really tackle persistent place-based poverty. Read more about “Community Wealth Building” on the rise in city governments...

The Democracy Collaborative Joins Jeremy Corbyn's New Community Wealth Building Unit As Advisors

The Democracy Collaborative's Ted Howard gave the keynote address at an event in Preston, England, announcing the launch of a new Community Wealth Building Unit designed to help Labour councillors build more inclusive and democratic local economies. The new initiative will be advised by The Democracy Collaborative and housed in the office of Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party. In launching the Community Wealth Building Unit, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell praised the ground-breaking work of Preston City Council, which, inspired by the work of The Democracy Collaborative in Cleveland, Ohio with the Evergreen Cooperatives, has returned almost £200 million to the Lancashire economy and supported more than 1,600 jobs by using the town’s anchor institutions and local government contracts to keep money in the local economy and develop worker-owned cooperatives. Read more about The Democracy Collaborative Joins Jeremy Corbyn's New Community Wealth Building Unit As Advisors...

Higher Education’s Anchor Mission: Measuring Place-Based Engagement

Emily Sladek

Our new report, Higher Education's Anchor Mission, examines how an ongoing—and expanding—effort to track the impact of colleges and universities on the financial and social well-being of their surrounding neighborhoods is helping these anchor institutions align their resources to build stronger community partnerships and create more inclusive local economies.

The Anchor Mission Playbook

Rush University Medical Center
with support from Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE), the Civic Consulting Alliance, and The Democracy Collaborative

Anchor institutions can play a key role in helping the low-income communities they serve by better aligning their institutional resources—like hiring, purchasing, investment, and volunteer base—with the needs of those of communities. The recommendations in this “playbook,” drawn from research carried out to help Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) align around its Anchor Mission, are being published to help other hospitals and health systems accelerate their own efforts to drive institutional alignment with community needs.

Half of American Workers Could be Employee-Owners

Thomas Dudley
Fifty By Fifty

For those interested in employee ownership, it is critical to understand if employee ownership can achieve the scale required to truly reduce wealth inequality and create strong local economies. In a previous post, we saw that today there are thousands of employee-owned business operating in every industry and employing up to 2 million Americans. But while there are numerous examples of large EO companies, as a whole, these firms account for about 1% of the civilian labor force.


New Report: Opportunities for Impact Investing in Employee Ownership

Fifty By Fifty

With income inequality in the United States at record high levels, employee ownership is increasingly being lauded as a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. Most recently, research from the National Center for Employee Ownership released in May shows that employee owners have a household net worth that is 92 percent higher than non-employee owners. They also make 33 percent higher wages, and are far less likely to be laid more

Mapping the appropriations process that will decide the fate of federal support for inclusive community development

While advocates for the federal infrastructure for inclusive community development have been justifiably alarmed at the White House's draconian budget proposal, which outlines severe cuts to or wholesale elimination of programs with demonstrated beneficial impact for the our country's most economically marginalized communities, the real decisions about which programs will be funded and at what levels will be made in the Appropriations committees in the House and Senate. Read more about Mapping the appropriations process that will decide the fate of federal support for inclusive community development...

How Philanthropy Can Help Community Development Survive Trump

Gar Alperovitz and Ted Howard
The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Donald Trump will not be president forever, but in his time in office he can do substantial damage in many areas of American life. As one donor told us, "We risk having 40 years of progress in community development unraveled in the next 18 months."

Principally, that’s because the new administration, along with Republican congressional leaders, is targeting federal spending on social programs and community development — a major bulwark against the consequences of generational poverty and ever-growing wealth inequality. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at risk.

Philanthropy, which awards about $60 billion in grants annually, cannot possibly meet this shortfall. But it can help ensure that when the political winds change, as they inevitably will, the pieces are in place for a progressive agenda. One key way to do this is to support innovative local and regional programs that can be expanded nationally when the opening occurs.