Richmond, Virginia

The 32nd in our continuing series of Community Wealth Cities is Richmond, Virginia. Richmond has a complex history; once the capital of the Confederacy, it was also the first city to host a bank chartered by African- Americans. Its unique legacy as a site of both racial tension and progress creates interesting challenges and opportunities for community wealth building. Last fall, Richmond gained national attention for Mayor Dwight Jones’ anti-poverty plan, which calls for broad expansion of community wealth building and social enterprise activity.
*NEW* Program-Related Investment Rules for Private Foundations, Learn Foundation Law, http://www.learnfoundationlaw.org/courses-pri-rules.html#.VSw-kfnF8Sa.

This free course, which covers the basic legal rules for program-related investments, takes about forty-five minutes to complete. The course is part of Learn Foundation Law,  a free resource devloped by legal staff at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that provides training on legal issues in grantmaking for private foundations.

April 2015

This month’s developments include:

  • We launch the Next System Project and release the first Next System Project report, The Next System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century. On May 20 at 3 pm EDT, we will host a free webinar on the project.
  • We release a new report, Community Wealth Building in Jackson, Mississippi: Strategic Considerations, which identifies opportunities to build a cooperative economy in Jackson, Mississippi linked to anchor institution procurement.
  • On April 28, The Democracy Collaborative will co-host a webinar with Project Equity on their latest report, Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives: Insights and Readiness Factors for owners and employees. 
  • C-W Interview: Emily Kawano, co-director of the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, based in Springfield, Massachusetts.
*NEW* Beyond Business as Usual: Putting Cooperation to Work in Austin, TX, Austin, TX: Cooperation Texas, April 8, 2015, 1-62.

This report from Cooperation Texas examines the nature and benefits of the cooperative model and identifies barriers and opportunities for worker co-op development. There is a growing economic divide in Austin and worker cooperatives can play a role in addressing these conditions as part of a more equitable approach to community economic development.

Greensboro Community Looks to Food Cooperative to Fill Grocery Gap

April 8th, 2015 -- violeta
A low-income community of color applies a cooperative solution to combat food insecurity
What would you do if the only full-service grocery store in your community suddenly closed? When this misfortune fell upon the residents of northeast Greensboro, North Carolina, they took matters into their own hands and mobilized to build a community-owned store.

Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives—Insights and Readiness Factors for Owners and Employees

April 7th, 2015 -- john
Alison Lingane and Shannon Rieger

In her report for the Democracy Collaborative, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, Project Equity's Hilary Abell identified the conversion of successful existing businesses to democratic ownership as a key strategic path to a larger worker cooperative sector in the United States.  Now, her colleague and Project Equity co-founder Alison Lingane, together with Shannon Rieger, provides a powerful collection of case studies aimed at helping owners, employees, and practitioners navigate the practical issues around worker cooperative conversions.   

*NEW* Alison Lingane and Shannon Rieger, Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives—Insights and Readiness Factors for Owners and Employees, San Francisco, CA: Project Equity, April 2015.

These 12 case studies explore the practical promises and pitfalls of converting existing businesses to worker cooperative ownership—a key strategy for building more democratic workplaces. 

April 2015

*NEW* Seth Baruch and Al Weinrub, East Bay Community Choice Energy, Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, Community Choice Working Group, February 2015, 1-34.

Featured publication

  • Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives—Insights and Readiness Factors for Owners and Employees

    April 7th, 2015 -- john
    Alison Lingane and Shannon Rieger

    In her report for the Democracy Collaborative, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, Project Equity's Hilary Abell identified the conversion of successful existing businesses to democratic ownership as a key strategic path to a larger worker cooperative sector in the United States.  Now, her colleague and Project Equity co-founder Alison Lingane, together with Shannon Rieger, provides a powerful collection of case studies aimed at helping owners, employees, and practitioners navigate the practical issues around worker cooperative conversions.   

Featured media

What is Community Wealth?

How do you build community wealth? Here's some of the basic principles of a successful approach:

Community Wealth Cities

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee was incorporated in 1846. German immigrants, who came to Wisconsin in search of inexpensive farmland, fueled the city’s early growth. Over the following decades, Milwaukee attracted large groups of other immigrants, including Poles, Lithuanians, Italian, Irish, French, Russian, Bohemian, and Swedish. By 1910, Milwaukee ranked first in the nation, alongside New York City, for having the largest percentage of foreign-born residents. Read more about Milwaukee, Wisconsin...

Community Wealth Interviews

Emily Kawano

Emily Kawano is Co-Director of the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, which is seeking to create an engine for new, community-based job creation in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wellspring’s goal is to use anchor institution purchases to create a network of worker-owned businesses located in the inner city that will provide job training and entry-level jobs to unemployed and underemployed residents through worker-owned cooperatives. Kawano also serves as Coordinator of the United States Solidarity Economy Network. An economist by training, Kawano served as the Director of the Center for Popular Economics from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, Kawano taught economics at Smith College, worked as the National Economic Justice Representative for the American Friends Service Committee and, in Northern Ireland, founded a popular economics program with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Spotlight

Featured from the toolbox

  • Community Capital

    In this new guide to community investment, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) identifies finance options and other investment tools to reinvigorate regional economies, create high-quality jobs, and restore the environment. BALLE offers this guide as a resource to help re-shape financial capital flows to support local self-sufficiency and ingenuity.

    Read more...
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