Report

Reducing Economic Inequality through Democratic Worker-Ownership

Shannon Rieger

Amongst developed nations, the U.S. is a leader in unequal income distribution. But according to a recent Century Foundation report on the role of worker-ownership models, this is a trend that can be changed. The author examines how a cohesive national regulatory framework, national tax incentives, a U.S. employee ownership bank, and increased support for employee-ownership technical assistance centers can bolster U.S. worker-buyout policy. In aligning regulatory, technical, and financial support for worker-cooperatives, the United States can bring scale to this key economic equalizer. 

Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?

Ted Howard and Tyler Norris

Healthcare’s role in creating healthy communities through increasing access to quality care, research, and grantmaking is being complemented by a higher impact approach; hospitals and integrated health systems are increasingly stepping outside of their walls to address the social, economic, and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, shortened lives, and higher costs in the first place.  

Healthcare Small Business Gap Analysis

Jessica Bonanno, Steve Dubb, and Ted Howard

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.

The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs

Steve Dubb, Sarah McKinley and Ted Howard

This study seeks to introduce a framework that can assist anchor institutions in understanding their impact on the community and, in particular, their impact on the welfare of low-income children and families in those communities.

Download the report and learn more about our work to help anchors measure their impact on community wealth.

 

The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth

Farzana Serang, J. Phillip Thompson and Ted Howard

This report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 Program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals System. Over a five year period, the initiative targeted more than $1 billion of procurement locally to create jobs, empower minority- and female-owned businesses, and create a “new normal” for responsible, community-focused business practices in the region.

Race-Explicit Strategies for Workforce Equity in Healthcare and IT

This new report from Race Forward focuses on the need to develop race-explicit strategies to advance equity in the fields of healthcare and information technology. While these sectors are growing quickly, many career pathways remain inaccessible to people of color in low-income communities due to patterns of discrimination and disinvestment. The report provides recommendations for workforce development practitioners to advance racial equity, both at the organizational level and across the field. 

New Report Details Implications of Accelerating Racial Wealth Gap

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Chuck Collins , Josh Hoxie and Emanuel Nieves
Prosperity Now

“If current trends continue, the racial wealth divide will greatly hollow out the American middle class,” write authors from the Institute for Policy Studies and Prosperity Now (formerly CFED) in this new report on the racial wealth divide. They find that median wealth for Black and Latinx households is declining at an accelerating rate, such that if conditions do not change, their average net wealth will be close to $0 by 2043, the year the U.S. is projected to become a majority-minority nation. The report puts forward a policy framework to intervene in this trend, calling for tax reform, the expansion of wealth building opportunities, and policies to better protect household wealth.

The Anchor Mission Playbook

Rush University Medical Center
with support from Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE), the Civic Consulting Alliance, and The Democracy Collaborative

Anchor institutions can play a key role in helping the low-income communities they serve by better aligning their institutional resources—like hiring, purchasing, investment, and volunteer base—with the needs of those of communities. The recommendations in this “playbook,” drawn from research carried out to help Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) align around its Anchor Mission, are being published to help other hospitals and health systems accelerate their own efforts to drive institutional alignment with community needs.

Towards Gender Liberation

Cecilia Gingerich
The Democracy Collaborative

Cecilia Gingerich of the Next System Projectexplores the necessity of system change through a gendered lense. Truly addressing the problems of the twenty-first century requires going beyond business as usual – it requires “changing the system.” But what does this mean? And what would it entail?

The inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental U.S. challenges has generated an increasing number of thoughtful proposals that suggest new possibilities. Individual thinkers have begun to set out – sometimes in considerable detail – alternatives that emphasize fundamental change in our system of politics and economics.

We at the Next System Project want to help dispel the wrongheaded idea that “there is no alternative.” To that end, we have been gathering some of the most interesting and important proposals for political-economic alternatives – in effect, descriptions of new systems. Some are more detailed than others, but each seeks to envision something very different from today’s political economy.

We are in a time of deepening systemic crisis. Throughout the world, we see staggering levels of economic inequality, unchecked extractive behavior by corporate-dominated industries, overt attacks on civil rights, massive and ongoing violence against women and people of color, deteriorating democracy, heightened militarization, endless wars, rapidly advancing climate change—and the list goes on.

Unfortunately, the system that has produced this crisis isn’t “broken.” In fact, the mounting challenges we face are to a large degree its natural byproducts and intended outcomes. Therefore, we cannot simply wait for the system to correct itself, or hope that by working at the margins for piecemeal reforms we will alter its fundamental outcomes. Instead we must think deeply about what we want to replace the current system with, and then work to establish the new institutions, practices, and customs required to make this vision a reality.

Policy Brief: Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

Ellen Brown
The Democracy Collaborative

In The Next System Project’s first policy brief, Democracy Collaborative Fellow Ellen Brown, founder and president emeritus of the Public Banking Institute, explores what’s wrong with President Trump’s approach to infrastructure. By focusing on private investment and public-private partnerships (PPPs) to come up with the capital to invest in repairing and upgrading our infrastructure, his plan will accelerate (partial) privatization of public assets and impose huge costs upon local residents, to be repaid through local taxes and extractive and regressive user fees like tolls.

Drawing on the historical precedents of both Lincoln’s investments in railroad infrastructure and FDR’s financing strategies for the New Deal, Brown shows how public strategies for investing in infrastructure make far more sense than what Trump is likely to put on the table. She estimates that an approach grounded in the use of public depository banks, either at the federal level or spread across a state-by-state network, could cut the $1.18 Trillion financing costs associated with a $1 Trillion investment in infrastructure in the Trump plan, once the returns demanded by private investors are factored in, to a mere $200 Billion. Not only would such public banks be able to lend money for infrastructure projects at a far lower rate, the interest earned on such loans would return to the public coffers.

Brown also identifies an even bolder approach that could bring the costs of investment in infrastructure down to zero. By embracing its power to create money for the public good using an innovative “qualitative easing” approach to inject new money into the real economy, the federal government could directly cover the costs of the pressing upgrades and repairs to our nation’s roads, bridges, dams, water supplies, electrical grid, and transit lines without the need to borrow any money at all.

Anchored In Place: How Funders Are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies

Katherine Pease

Published by the Anchor Institutions Funders’ Group, part of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, this new report assesses how funders are working with anchor institutions to support community health and well-being. The report includes case studies from Albuquerque, NM, Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, Denver, CO and the Twin Cities, MN, and details how funders have moved beyond their traditional grant making roles to convene anchor collaboratives.

6 Steps to Build Community Wealth

Anna Birley

This new guide, published by the UK’s Co-Operative Party, outlines the steps needed to develop a community wealth building ecosystem. Aimed at local officials and public-sector institutions, the guide provides information on these steps, from developing leadership to shifting procurement, a background on community wealth building, a case study of this approach in Preston, England, and recommendations for actions localities can take. 

Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities: Place-based Investing

David Zuckerman and Katie Parker

Nationally, health systems have an estimated $400 billion in investment assets. Redirecting even a small portion of these resources to place-based investments would shift billions of dollars toward addressing economic and environmental disparities in local communities. It would allow institutions to more effectively improve community health and well-being, even as they continue to earn a healthy rate of return. This toolkit outlines a range of strategies for how health systems are using their investment assets to help address the resource gaps that keep communities from achieving better health and well-being.

As we learn more about what families and children need to lead healthy lives, it is clear that adverse social, economic, and environmental factors, coupled with racial disparities, prevent communities from building a culture of health. The good news is that hospitals and health systems are recognizing that they have significant, untapped assets at their disposal to help address these challenges: their investment portfolios. Through place-based investing, institutions can leverage these resources to improve their communities’ overall health and well-being. This toolkit will help you get started.

Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities: Inclusive, Local Sourcing

David Zuckerman and Katie Parker

Across the country, healthcare institutions are recognizing that they can creatively leverage their supply chains to address the upstream economic and environmental conditions that have the greatest impact on the health of local residents. In doing so, they can create family-supporting local jobs and build community wealth. This toolkit on local and diverse purchasing showcases examples of how hospitals and health systems are reevaluating their roles as their community’s largest purchasers, understanding that a thriving local economy is fundamental to a healthy community.

The sourcing of goods, services, and food that your hospital or health system does every day, when aligned with your mission, can help build local wealth in the communities you serve. By supporting diverse and locally owned vendors and helping to incubate new community enterprises to fill supply chain gaps, hospital and health systems like yours can leverage existing resources to drive local economic growth and build a culture of health in their communities. This toolkit can help you get started

Bridging the Two Americas: Employment & Economic Opportunity in Newark & Beyond

Demelza Baer and Ryan P. Haygood

While Newark, New Jersey is home to several major Fortune 500 companies, local residents are largely excluded from this economic growth and hold only 18 percent of all jobs in the city. This new report, published by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, explores the origins of this economic divide, which predominantly affects communities of color, noting a history of discrimination and an absence of pathways to middle-skill jobs. The report calls on the City to implement local hiring provisions for city contracts and calls on anchor institutions to develop local hiring and procurement strategies.

Reclaiming Public Services

Satoko Kishimoto, Olivier Petitjean and Lavinia Steinfor
The Transnational Institute

This new report from the Transnational Institute (TNI) explores how localities across the globe are fighting privatization through the “re-municipalization” of goods and services. Drawing on 835 examples in 45 countries, the report finds that public ownership offers greater efficiency, affordability, and democratic control in sectors ranging from healthcare to energy. The report synthesizes trends in public ownership and includes detailed infographics on the findings. 

 

Economically Targeted Investments by U.S. Pension Funds

Tom Woelfel
Pacific Community Ventures

Tom Woelfel writes for Pacific Community Ventures on Ecomically Targeted Investments.

U.S.-based public and private pension funds have been making Economically Targeted Investments (ETIs)—investments that generate societal benefits in addition to the investment return—since the 1960s. Over this time, pension funds have sought risk-adjusted returns for their plan’s participants and beneficiaries through investments in worker-friendly affordable housing, in-state businesses, infrastructure, and other projects. The practice of pension funds making ETIs has continued amidst challenges, such as the politicization of some ETIs in the 1980s and 1990s and economic downturns that significantly impacted the U.S. economy. More recently, new types of investments such as those that incorporate environmental social governance (ESG) factors and impact investments have emerged for consideration by pension funds, and the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are being utilized by some as a guide to investment. 

Read more about it at Pacific Community Ventures... 

6 steps to build community wealth

Coop party
Coop Party

Based off the work of the Democracy Collaborative the Coop Party in England releases 6 steps to build community wealth 

Using what we already have to generate local economic growth co-operatively

You can read here or below...

Employee Ownership & Economic Well-Being

National Center For Employee Ownership

This report from the National Center for Employee Ownership synthesizes research on the impact of employee ownership on economic outcomes for young workers, ages 28-34. The authors find that compared to non-employee owners, these workers have higher household net wealth, higher median incomes, increased job stability, and greater access to benefits such as childcare, retirement plans, and tuition reimbursement.