Although the notion of building wealth through home ownership has taken a beating in recent years due to the Great Recession, ownership more broadly is still seen as a key factor in building wealth. So says the Greenlining Institute. So finds a recent study authored by Thomas Shapiro and colleagues at Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Even the Housing and Economic Development Commission of the National Baptist Convention agrees.
Chokwe Lumumba, a long-time civil rights activist and the newly elected mayor of Jackson, died yesterday, just weeks before the "Jackson Rising" conference–the launch of an ambitious plan to localize and democratize the city's economy–was scheduled to take place (We understand that the conference will proceed as planned). Our hearts are with the people of Jackson at this tragic moment.
Watch Laura Flanders' interview with Mayor Lumumba, filmed just two weeks ago:
Read more about Chokwe Lumumba, RIP ...
Just released by the Cleveland Foundation, the new report Cleveland's Greater University Circle Initiative: Building a 21st Century City through the Power of Anchor Institution Collaboration provides a thorough overview of a long-term partnership among some of the city's key anchor institutions to foster inclusive, place-based community economic development. With innovative anchor-supported solutions around housing, transit, workforce training, and local procurement, the Greater University Circle Initiative is an effort that's well worth studying by other cities looking to leverage existing institutional assets to revitalize and rebuild their communities.
The Evergreen Cooperatives, one of the most visible pieces of the Initiative, offers a powerful example of the benefits these kinds of integrated anchor stategies can bring to economically marginalized neighborhoods, something this Evergreen worker's comments in the report makes clear:
2013 was a good year to become a worker-owned company. Although just a selection of some of the newest worker-owners on the block, we highlight 17 new and existing businesses that were founded as or transitioned into worker-ownership in 2013. If these businesses are local to you, we encourage you to support and welcome your newly worker-owned neighbors.
As we mentioned in our January newsletter, Marjorie Kelly has joined the Democracy Collaborative as a Senior Fellow and Director of Advisory Services. Previously, Marjorie was a Fellow with the Tellus Institute in Boston, where she led a variety of consulting and research projects, including co-founding , a five-year initiative that brought together hundreds of leaders from business, finance, civil society, and law to explore how to redesign corporations to integrate social and environmental concerns into their governing DNA.
In April of 2013, Democracy Collaborative Executive Director Ted Howard was invited by the Governor's Task Force on Social Innovation, Enterpreneurship, and Enterprise to present our recommendations for low-cost, high return policies that could build community wealth across the state of Illinois. (You can read this "Action Agenda" document here.) We're happy to report that a number of our suggestions have been incorporated into the Task Force's new report to the Governor and General Assembly.
With this month marking the 50th anniversary of the “War on Poverty,” we have seen a number of retrospectives. President Obama delivered this statement and the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors offered a 50-page report. Others chiming in include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Pew Research Center, and the Center for American Progress. The basic story: the social safety net programs of Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, and food stamps have reduced deprivation over the past 50 years, but U.S. poverty remains quite high.
It's been an incredible 12 months at the Democracy Collaborative, and we thought we should take the time to collect all the new projects and publications we've worked on in 2013 to advance the field of community wealth building.