In the November/December edition of Rural Cooperatives magazine, the United States Department of Agriculture featured Green City Growers Cooperative, the third worker-owned enterprise established by the Evergreen Cooperatives. The article highlights how Green City Growers created twenty-five jobs while transforming eleven acres of abandoned lots into a productive urban greenhouse. The article also provides insight for how cooperatives can partner with city governments, anchor institutions, and foundations to stabilize local economies.
City Controller Alan Butkotvitz recently commissioned a citywide survey, which found that Philadelphia’s “eds and meds” spend over $5 billion annually on good and services. This finding has prompted Butkotvitz to explore opportunities for how local anchor institutions can boost local employment by shifting 25 percent of their procurement to local vendors. The Democracy Collaborative was pleased to be asked to contribute to the report.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America released a new report that emphasizes the impact that socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, unemployment, housing, and crime, have on overall health outcomes and life expectancy. To address these social determinants, the Commission provides three key recommendations: increase investment in early childhood development, more effectively integrate health into community development, and reorient health professionals and healthcare institutions to invest in community strategies that help people lead healthy lives.
A new Cleveland Foundation report highlights the achievements and lessons learned from the Greater University Circle Initiative—a robust partnership among the city’s anchor institutions to foster economic and community revitalization. To date, the Initiative has created three employee-owned companies through the Evergreen Cooperatives Initiative, developed a workforce training center, launched an employer-assisted housing program, catalyzed changes to the city’s public transportation system, spurred over $140 million in new, public-private development, and helped direct an increasing percentage of the institutions’ more than $3 billion in purchasing toward local businesses.