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* Tracey Ross, Eds, Meds, and the Feds How the Federal Government Can Foster the Role of Anchor Institutions in Community Revitalization, Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, October 2014.

This report from the Center for American Progress provides an overview of how the federal government has worked with anchor institutions over the years, the potential roles anchors can play in communties, and how to measure the community benefits of this work. Author Tracy Ross makes several recommendations for federal officials to further enhance the role of anchor institutions in promoting local economic development.

Fostering the Power of Universities and Hospitals for Community Change

October 24th, 2014 -- violeta
New federal policy strategies can help cities leverage the economic might of their anchor institutions to benefit communities

Crossposted from blog - a project of the Half in Ten Education Fund, a project of the Center for American Progress.

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions—such as hospitals and universities—can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Increasingly, cities—often led by Mayors—are launching comprehensive strategies to leverage these institutions to address challenging problems of unemployment, poverty, and disinvestment. In 2014, several cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans, have launched community building and job creation strategies that revolve around anchor institutions; and in Cleveland, a decade old collaboration of philanthropy, anchor institutions, and the municipal government continues to rebuild economies in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.

How a worker cooperative factory is helping bring textile manufacturing back to North Carolina

October 16th, 2014 -- john
An interview with Molly Hemstreet of Opportunity Threads

Opportunity Threads is a worker cooperative cut and sew factory in Morganton, North Carolina. Started in late 2008, it’s an inspiring example of how democratic ownership in manufacturing can create jobs, empower workers, and even rebuild the value chains that sustain a community economically. To find out more about their story, we talked with Molly Hemstreet, the organizer, developer, and now worker-owner who got the ball rolling.

  Read more about How a worker cooperative factory is helping bring textile manufacturing back to North Carolina...

October 2014

This month's new developments include: 

  • We showcase our new animated video on the Cleveland Model and our entries to Naomi Klein’s new website Beautiful Solutions.
  • The Democracy Collaborative has joined the Mayor’s Office in New Orleans and the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) in a major new initiative to build community wealth.
  • Mayor Alvin Brown of Jacksonville, Florida announced a new Community Wealth Building Initiative in Northwest Jacksonville to help connect neighborhood businesses to local anchor institutions.
  • Democracy Collaborative Senior Fellow and Co-Chair of the Next System Project Gus Speth has a new memoir entitled Angels by the River.
  • Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz, writes on community ownership in the featured article in Shelterforce Magazine’s latest issue on work in America.
  • Research Director Steve Dubb has been named a BALLE Local Economy Fellow.
  • Steve Dubb and Research Associate Sarah McKinley participated on a panel about our Learning/Action Lab for community wealth building at the CFED Asset’s Learning Conference.
  • Burlington, Vermont Supports Local Ownership
  • Revitalizing Public Housing in New Orleans Offers Lessons for other Cities
  • Leaders Identify Pathways to a Sustainable and Inclusive Economy
  • Rental Market Speculation Disrupts Communities
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Commission to Build a Healthier
  • Toolbox for Education and Social Action

October 2014

Kerry Reckdahl, "The Long Road from C.J. Peete to Harmony Oaks," National Housing Institute , Montclair, NJ: 2014.

Destruction brought by Hurricane Katrina presented the opportunity ­— and the challenge — for New Orleans to revive its troubled public housing and integrate residents into the planning processes. This case study from the National Housing Institute describes one community development organization's efforts to build trust between displaced residents and local social service providers, and offers lessons learned for other cities struggling to revitalize their public housing. 

*NEW* Bruce Seifer, "Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Economy," Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal, Boston, MA: 2014.

In the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal, localist Bruce Seifer presents an excerpt from his new book that describes the shift in Burlington, Vermont's economic development strategy from one that seeks corporate subsidies to one based on building local entrepreneurship. Seifer gives an overview of the city's long-term economic vision and describes the city's efforts to convert business into employee-owned companies and to provide technical assistance to locally owned firms.

*NEW* Marissa Mommaerts , Ken White and Ben Roberts, "Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement," Post Carbon Institute, Santa Rosa, CA: September 2014, 1-23.

The Post Carbon Institute and Collective Conversations interviewed 18 leaders, including Democracy Collaborative Communications Coordinator John Duda, for a new report on the possibilities for a new, more equitable and democratized economy. Building off of conversations from the Community Resilience and New Economy Network, the collected interviews help to connect different social movements and present creative solutions and alternatives to our current extractive economy. Full transcripts of each interview are also available online.

*NEW* Gar Alperovitz, "Forging a Transformative Vision," Shelterforce, 2014.

Building economic power through community ownership is the antidote to the systemic failures of our current system.  Gar Alperovitz's lead article in the new issue of Shelterforce explores a vision for system-changing community economic development.

*NEW* Desiree Fields, Rachel Laforest, Tony Romano, Tony Roshan Samara and Rob Call, "The Rise of the Corporate Landlord," Right To The City Alliance, Brooklyn, NY: July 2014, 1-28.

This new report from The Right to the City Alliance’s Homes for All Campaign examines how large, well capitalized, private equity firms, entering rental markets create the risk of a second housing bubble. The author, urban geographer Desiree Fields, demonstrates that the institutionalization of the single-family rental market benefits the same financial institutions behind the housing market crash of 2008, while disproportionately impacting low-income communities. She lays out a policy agenda that can promote greater diversity and broaden ownership of land and housing. 

*NEW* Mary Helen Petrus, "Committing to Their Roots: Interview with Ted Howard," Forefront: New Ideas on Economic Policy from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, 2014.

Forefront interviews Ted Howard, who describes how large, so-called anchor institutions can make a difference in the high-unemployment, high-poverty neighborhoods in which they operate. But he also says they should be ready for unintended consequences as they do.

Featured publication

  • Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources

    The Democracy Collaborative

    Fostering resilient communities and building wealth in today’s local economies is necessary to achieve individual, regional, and national economic security. A community wealth building strategy employs a range of forms of community ownership and asset building strategies to build wealth in low-income communities. In so doing, community wealth building bolsters the ability of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability. 


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

C-W City: Cincinnati, Ohio

Incorporated as a city in 1819, Cincinnati grew steadily through the mid-1900s due to its prime location on the Ohio River.  In fact, the Queen City—so dubbed by Longfellow, who referred to it as “the Queen of the West”—weathered the Great Depression better than most cities of comparable size because of the resurgence in river trade, which was less expensive than rail.  By 1950, Cincinnati had grown to its peak of nearly 504,000 residents, making it the 18th largest city in the country. Read more about C-W City: Cincinnati, Ohio...

Community Wealth Interviews

C-W Interview: Ai-jen Poo

Ai-jen Poo has been organizing immigrant women workers since 1996. In 2000 she co-founded Domestic Workers United, the New York organization that spearheaded the successful passage of the state’s historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010. In 2007, DWU helped organize the first national domestic workers convening, where the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) was formed. Ai-jen has served as Director of NDWA since 2009 and works on elevating women of color and domestic workers rights issues at a national level.


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.

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