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.

Democracy Collaborative Offers Paid Year-Long Junior Fellowship

September 24th, 2014 -- sarah
Assist with newsletter, C-W Cities, blogs and research

We are pleased to announce that we are looking for candidates for our Junior Fellowship position that focuses on the newsletter, maintaining web content, and assisting with research. For further details, please see the position description below. Remember to submit your applications by October 3rd!

*NEW* David Zuckerman, Case Study: Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH), Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission, The Democracy Collaborative,

Despite Cleveland Clinic’s global presence, the vast majority of the system’s operations are based in Ohio, where the system is the largest employer in the northeast part of the state and second largest in the state. Cleveland Clinic’s main campus alone employs more than 26,000 people, has revenues of nearly $4 billion, and procures more than $1.5 billion in goods and services annually. In recent years, it has adopted a variety of anchor strategies, including shifting a percentage of procurement locally and to minority-owned businesses, participating as an anchor partner in a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort, implementing childhood wellness programming in local school districts, and positioning itself as a leader in sustainability.

*NEW* David Zuckerman, Case Study: University Hospitals (Cleveland, OH), Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission, The Democracy Collaborative,

University Hospitals System comprises the 1032-bed, former academic medical center of Case Western Reserve University, and six community hospitals across Northeast Ohio. The system employs more than 24,000 people and generates revenues in excess of $2 billion annually. A key initiative has been University Hospital’s Vision 2010 project, a $1.2 billion, five-year strategic growth plan that started in 2006. As part of Vision 2010, University Hospitals set separate goals to procure from local, minority- and women- owned businesses, and actively aimed to create new supplier capacity within the city. It also hired a third party to hold it accountable, voluntarily entered into a unique Project Labor Agreement, and has now started to apply this vision to its entire supply chain purchasing. Further still, University Hospitals is involved in other job creation and wealth building initiatives in the community.

*NEW* David Zuckerman, Case Study: Henry Ford Health System (Detroit, MI), Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission, The Democracy Collaborative,
Anchored by the 802-bed Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Henry Ford Health System has revenues of more than $4.2 billion, employs more than 10,000 people within the city and procures more than $650 million from its Detroit institutions. Henry Ford actively recognizes its position as an anchor institution, working with many partners to increase its impact in the community. Through a multi-institution partnership, Henry Ford has coordinated with Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University to help revitalize Midtown Detroit by encouraging their employees to live, work, and invest in the same community. It has also helped found a local business incubator at Wayne State, set active goals to procure from local and diverse suppliers, and used its purchasing power to persuade suppliers to relocate to Detroit. Further still, Henry Ford has helped finance education partnerships for high-risk youth, is focused on acquiring and rehabilitating reclaimed properties, and has helped push local infrastructure improvements.

September 2014

This month's new developments include: 

  • The Democracy Collaborative released a new report, Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources. 
  • The Washington Post published an article describing Richmond, Virginia’s newly established Office of Community Wealth Building. New Republic article explored how cooperatives can support a green economy and a Yes! Magazine article focused on how land trusts, worker ownership, and public banking can help reduce inequality.
  • Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times and appears in a joint interview with economic geography scholar David Harvey, conducted by Journalist Laura Flanders of GRITtv.
  • New Report Outlines Emerging Best Practices in State & Local Policies to Build Community Wealth
  • Federal Commitment to Higher Workforce Standards Reduces Inequality
  • Communities Address Racial Inequity through Investment in Local Food Systems
  • Healthcare Institutions Invest Locally to Build Sustainable and Healthy Communities
  • The Road So Far: Penn Leaders Recount Path to Building an Anchor Mission
  • Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Impact Investing Policy Collaborative


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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