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.

Making Sense of the New Economy

May 20th, 2015 -- kparker
Rethinking Community Economic Development
The phrase “new economy” can mean a variety of things to different people. To some, the phrase still refers to the adoption of new technology or the growth of the tech sector. Among progressives, however, it has generally come to mean, as John Cavanagh and Robin Broad put it a while back in The Nation, the movement to achieve “holistic, systemic change” in our economic structures. In a 2011 Nation article, Democracy Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz noted that new economy advocates seek “an economy that is increasingly green and socially responsible, and one that is based on rethinking the nature of ownership and the growth paradigm that guides conventional policies.” In the few short years since the term “new economy” has entered our lexicon, community economic developers have begun to consider how to incorporate community business ownership and other new economy concepts into their work.

May 2015

This month’s developments include: 

  • We release the public summary of our latest report, Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis
  • We announce the establishment of Anchors for Resilient Communities (ARC), a partnership with Health Care Without Harm and Emerald Cities Collaborative.
  • The Next System Project is featured in The Nation, YES! Magazine and Orion MagazineArticles in Grist and Next City  highlight The Democracy Collaborative’s work in Cleveland, Baltimore, and Rochester. The cities of Philadelphia, Toronto and Preston, England launch anchor-based community wealth building strategies. 
  • New C-W City: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Recommended reads: Beyond Business as Usual: Putting Cooperation to Work in Austin, TXCooperation Texas; Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago’s Communities First, The ReFund America Project, Roosevelt Institute; Successful Cooperative Ownership Transitions: Case Studies on the Conversion of Privately Held Businesses to Worker Cooperatives, Democracy at Work Institute and the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives; Exploring Economic and Health Impacts of Local Food Procurement, Illinois Public Health Institute and the Crossroads Resource Center.
  • Featured websites: Economics for Equity & Environment; Build Healthy Places Network
*NEW* Office of the Controller, City of Philadelphia , Anchoring Our Local Economy: Developing a Local Procurement Strategy for Philadelphia’s Higher Education and Healthcare Institutions, Philadelphia, PA: Office of the Controller, City of Philadelphia , April 2015, 1-35.
*NEW* Scott Gast, "Five Questions for Gar Alperovitz," Orion Magazine Blog, Great Barrington, MA: April 5, 2015.
*NEW* Keith Harrington, "Is the Local Economy Too Local? Why Co-Ops and Credit Unions Need a Broader Strategy," Yes! Magazine, April 28, 2015.
*NEW* Sara Mojtehedzadeh, "Anchored in hope," Toronto Star, Toronto, Canada: April 19, 2015, A3.

Worker-Owned Companies Class of 2014

May 13th, 2015 -- kparker
A review of some of last year’s new employee-owned companies

In this year’s review of some of the newest worker-owners on the block, we highlight 16 fresh cooperatives—some were founded and others were converted to worker-ownership in 2014. If you find some of these businesses are local to you, we encourage you to support and welcome your new worker-owned neighbors. Read more about Worker-Owned Companies Class of 2014...

*NEW* Jessica Bonanno, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard, Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis, Takoma Park, MD: The Democracy Collaborative, March 31, 2015, 1-17.

Our newest report, Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis, prepared in partnership with New Orleans based DMM & Associates on behalf of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), outlines procurement practices and supply chain needs of New Orleans healthcare institutions and the capacity local business to fulfill those needs. The report provides recommendations on how to leverage New Orleans’ hospitals’ $1.5 billion in procurement spending to promote greater local procurement and economic inclusion in a city where only 48 percent of African American adult males are in the formal labor force. This report is based on interviews with nearly  50 representatives from area hospitals, additional anchor buyers, technical assistance organizations, small businesses, and other public stakeholders.


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

Indianapolis, Indiana

The largest city in Indiana, and the 12th largest in the nation, Indianapolis has a population of nearly 843,400, according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates.  Demographically, the population is roughly 62 percent white, 27 percent African American, 9 percent Latino, and 2 percent Asian. Read more about Indianapolis, Indiana...

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.


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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