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Business Ownership For The 99%: How To Finance It

Anne Field
Forbes

One goal for a lot of social entrepreneurs is for business ownership to be held by as many people as possible.

But that’s tricky for many reasons. Take the matter of financing. Funding inclusive models, as they’re called,  is different from financing  the usual suspects, that is, companies owned by the few that aim to maximize financial returns only.

“It’s not necessarily harder, but it seems harder, because it’s different,” says Majorie Kelly, executive vice president and senior fellow at The Democracy Collaborative. In other words, funders need a greater comfort level with these models before they dole out the money.

With that in mind, Democracy Collaborative recently published a report examining a variety of ownership models and ways to finance them. Here’s a look at a few, along with some innovative financing approaches...

A Powerful, Under-Used Tool for Addressing the Roots of Inequality: Inclusive Ownership

Marjorie Kelly
Stanford Social Innovation Review

In this blog for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, our Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly delves into some of the groundbreaking models for inclusive ownership that are increasingly making an impact on the lives of workers and community members. Kelly offers these strategies as concrete and evolving ways to help equitably distribute wealth in the US and beyond, creating a sustainable and fair economic system:

Building the Inclusive City

Marjorie Kelly
Stanford Social Innovation Review

The Stanford Social Innovation Review features our new report, Cities Building Community Wealth, emphasizing that the innovative collaborative approaches to economic development highlighted by author Marjorie Kelly are truly seeing results.

7 Paths to Development That Bring Neighborhoods Wealth, Not Gentrification

Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley
Yes! Magazine

YES! Magazine talks to Marjorie Kelly about the seven drivers cities can use to develop economies that build community wealth detailed in our report, Cities Building Community Wealth

More Cities Get Serious About Community Wealth-Building

Anne Field

Following the release of our report, Cities Building Community Wealth, journalist Anne Fields emphasizes the growing need for local governments to pass policies that benefit communities. Field draws examples from Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley (co-authors of the report) that discuss the 20 cities highlighted in the report.

Taking the Bureaucratic-Speak Out of Community Wealth Building

Oscar Perry Abello
Next City

Next City reporter Oscar Perry Abello highlights the innovation inherent in the Democracy Collaborative report, Cities Building Community Wealth. Abello describes authors Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley as important voices in exposing the Community Wealth Building movement, "a movement that has been brewing beneath the radar for at least 40 years."

Communities Building Their Own Economies

Steve Dubb
Stanford Social Innovation Review

Steve Dubb writes for the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the importance of having access to tools that educate and empower low-income communities to shape their economic future.

Empowering communities to take control of economic development is slow, patient work—and people funding or supporting it need to take this into account when assessing success. Long-term, place-based commitments are critical; parachuting in and out does little to build local capacity. And the metrics we use need to take into account the often intangible relationship-building that weaves together a truly empowered community; shortcuts and quick fixes can cause real damage.

How Communities Can Build Wealth by Knocking on Doors

Oscar Perry Abello
Next City

In Next City, Oscar Perry Abello looks at how our new report Educate and Empower highlights key strategies for building stronger community wealth building initiatives.

“People know that there are door-knocking campaigns and community organizers do it all the time, but have they thought of this consciously as a tool for economic development,” explains Keane Bhatt, senior associate for policy and strategy at the Democracy Collaborative, based in Takoma Park, Maryland. Bhatt is co-author of Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth, a report released today that features profiles of 11 organizations includingPUSH Buffalo.

“What we’ve done is go around to 11 different community-wealth building institutions to try to seek out from a broad diversity of initiatives some kind of underlying themes that are crosscutting in nature,” Bhatt says...

Read the rest at Next City

 

Mayor Brown Announces Task Force Members For Economic Development Initiative in Northwest Jacksonville

City of Jacksonville
City of Jacksonville

Goal is to Create Jobs with Innovative, Community-Based Economic Development

Mayor Alvin Brown today announced the members of a newly-formed task force to guide a Community Wealth Building Initiative that will focus on new strategies to create jobs and business opportunities in Northwest Jacksonville.

Co-op model as a vehicle of transformation in local government

Anca Voinea
Coop News

Writing for Co-op News, Anca Voinea takes a look at the new Co-op Party commmunity wealth building pamphlet:

Preston’s community wealth building model has its roots in the Cleveland Model promoted by the Democracy Collaborative in the USA. The approach is focused on getting anchor institutions such as universities, councils or hospitals to support local businesses, including co-operatives through procurement. Where gaps are identified the councils can support communities to set up new worker owned co-operatives to provide the services needed.

Read more about the Co-op Party pamphlet in Co-op News...

Reflecting and Planning Using a Community Wealth Building Lens

Brent Kakesako
Shelterforce

Writing for Shelterforce, Brent Kakesako takes a look at the 25th annivisary of the community wealth building field:

Our growing community wealth building field has the goal of building 'a new economic system where shared ownership and control creates more equitable and inclusive outcomes, fosters ecological sustainability, and promotes flourishing democratic and community life.'

Read more about the history of community wealth building in in Shelterforce ...

New Report on Opportunities for Impact Investing in Employee Ownership

Green Money
Green Money

Green Money reposts the Democracy Collaborative press release on Impact Investing

A new report by Mary Ann Beyster, president and trustee of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), published by the Fifty by Fifty initiative of The Democracy Collaborative, examines the investing landscape for potential opportunities in employee ownership.

Read about it in Green Money 

The Shape of a New Economy

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader Radio Hour

Gar Alperovitz is an historian, political economist, activist, writer, and government official.  In addition to a distinguished career in academia, he is also the a co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, a research institution developing practical, policy-focused, and systematic paths towards ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change and the democratization of wealth.  His latest project is called the “Pluralist Commonwealth,” which is an economic model that is neither traditional corporate capitalism nor traditional state socialism.

Listen to Gar's interview with Ralph Nader here

Will Impact Investors Embrace Employee-Owned Companies?

Anne Field
Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Anne Field takes a look at our new report exploring the impact investing landscape for employee ownership:

For social entrepreneurs concerned about growing income inequality in the U.S. and around the world, one way to spread the wealth is through employee ownership. With that in mind, you’d think impact investors would be clamoring to invest in such companies....

Read more about Fifty By Fifty's new report in Forbes...

Gar Alperovitz Proposes New Political-Economic Models

Forthright Radio
KZYX

On Forthright Radio, Gar Alperovitz discusses his latest work with The Next System Project, PRINCIPLES OF A PLURALIST COMMONWEALTH, which explores the political-economic system models that deliver superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.

Listen to the program here 

The stage is set for an unusual political and economic experiment in Jackson, Mississippi

Information

Mississippi's poor capital Jackson will be in the next four years subject to an economic experiment led by black activists and a newly elected progressive mayor. The plan is to introduce a barter economy, start worker cooperatives and build affordable rental housing in cooperation with the City. Tea Party Republicans and the white business community are expected to resist

International coverage of Cooperation Jackson...read more 

Colorado Impact Report: Will Denver Become America’s First ‘Community Wealth’ City?

Ted Howard
Colorado Impact Report

In cities across America, a new form of local economy is emerging. Many call this growing movement “Community Wealth Building,” a framework for economic development built on principles of democratizing wealth, broadening ownership over capital, leveraging existing institutional assets to benefit place, and preventing money from leaking out of our communities. The goal is to reinforce core values such as equity, inclusion, local stability, and sustainability. A range of corporate and institutional forms, involving millions of Americans as owners and consumers, are part of this movement, including cooperatives, employee-owned companies, community financial institutions, land trusts, municipal and state ownership, impact investing, and social enterprise.

Read Ted Howard's contribution to the Colorado Impact Report

Hacking the American Dream: Progressive Senators Go Big for Worker Ownership

Jessica Bonanno
Common Dreams

Two common-sense pieces of federal support for employee business ownership on the table...

The best-kept business model secret of our age is about to get the spotlight it has long deserved. It's employee ownership—a proven, common-sense pathway to reduce inequality, anchor jobs at home, and rebuild a strong and stable economy, using a vehicle that’s as American as apple pie: making entrepreneurs out of regular, working folks.

Democracy Collaborative's—Chief Financial Officer and Director of Employee Ownership Programs—Jessica Bonanno writes in Common Dreams about the benefits of employee ownership...read more