Community Wealth Blog

The worker-owners of Real Pickles in Massachusetts raised $500,000 through a direct public offering (DPO)—a fundraising vehicle similar to an initial public offering in that a business can advertise the offering openly and can accept non-wealthy investors. However, DPOs require substantially less in legal costs, are targeted at stakeholders such as customers and neighbors, and are able to raise up to $1 million.

Pioneering the sale of preferred shares to impact investors, the 120-member worker-cooperative Equal Exchange has been able to raise $16 million. Preferred shares are a form of equity with limited voting rights; the stock price does not rise over time and investors instead enjoy a stream of dividends. Read more in this excerpt from our report, Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy.

In March 2015, the Brooklyn-based online handicrafts marketplace Etsy became the largest certified B Corporation to sell shares in an IPO; it is one of only a few to do so. Etsy raised $267 million.

The Democracy Collaborative report, Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy, illustrates how the New Belgium Brewing Company took a significant step toward remaining independent, toward sharing wealth with employees—and toward sparking a trend among other craft brewers.

Here at the Democracy Collaborative, we were incredibly excited when the Movement For Black Lives announced their policy agenda last month, underscoring the need to develop real systemic solutions to the drivers of systemic racial inequality in America (and honored to see that our work on building more inclusive local economies had found its way into a few pieces of this collaborative mosaic of transformative policies assembled by an incredible nationwide team of scholars, activists, and policy advocates). After studying and discussing the program internally, The Democracy Collaborative has decided as an organization to formally endorse the M4BL policy platform, not because we necessarily agree with every single detail of every recommendation, but because we believe it is an important contribution to a vital national conversation, and should be a key starting point in the urgently needed efforts to find policy solutions that address both the police violence inflicted with tragic regularity on too many individual Black lives, and the larger systemic violence inflicted on Black communities by an inequitable economic system. Below, our Community Development Associate Nicole Brown delves deeper into the structure and significance of the M4BL agenda and its connections to our work.

During the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives membership meeting this past July in Austin, Texas, the Federation shared with its membership the newly created Racial and Economic Justice Member Council. The Council is hoping to facilitate the Federation’s adoption of three more principles that will guide worker cooperatives. This marks an important institutional change, as organizations strive to create and sustain racial and economic justice.

This infographic, created by Shelterforce Magazine and adapted from our report Cities Building Community Wealth, uses the seven key drivers of community wealth to illustrate how inclusive development practices can create a new, democratic economy.

The presence of the 2016 Republican National Convention cast a national spotlight on Cleveland, Ohio. Looking to highlight the struggles and hopes of ordinary low-income local residents, many visiting journalists found their way to the Evergreen Cooperatives, a group of three linked employee-owned social enterprises based in the Greater University Circle area of Cleveland's East Side.

Originally published in Rooflines: The Shelterforce blog on July 7, 2016.

Since 2010, 60 percent of new cooperative worker-owners are people of color and more than two thirds of total worker-owners are women.


Our Research Associate Emily Sladek writes on the capacity of local food systems to transform the paradigm of economic inequality, especially for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

After a drawn-out legal process, Green Taxi Cooperative received approval to operate its 800 driver-owned and -operated business in Denver, becoming the largest worker cooperative in the state of Colorado.

Our Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb describes the need to link community economic development and the new economy movement in this Shelterforce Rooflines blog.