Community Wealth Blog

We are pleased to announce a new intern position at The Democracy Collaborative that will focus on the Community-Wealth.org newsletter and adding web content. For further details, please see the position description below. Remember to submit your applications by August 30!

As highlighted in a recent post for The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Democracy Collaborative's new report Raising Student Voicesco-published with the Responsible Endowments Coalition, insists that "everyone benefits when colleges invest in local businesses and sustainable economic development, and that students and community organizations should work together to push for more such alliances."  

In response to my earlier post about anchor institutions and community development, Andrew Frishkoff, executive director of LISC Philadelphia, commented “Too often we have seen beneficent anchor institutions acting paternalistically on behalf of communities, instead of in partnership with them.” Frishkoff called for “intermediaries who can help to bridge the divide ... Such intermediaries need to be independent of, but accountable to, anchors and communities, with a deep understanding of both.”

Last month the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, better known as BALLE, had its annual conference in Buffalo, New York, bringing together international thought leaders, on-the-ground social entrepreneurs, policymakers, local economy funders, and philanthropists who are all working to build a new localist economy.

Earlier this month at Left ForumThe Democracy Collaborative helped organize five panels on a variety of different topics related to cooperatives, sustainability and growing a new economy. The last session of the weekend, “Community Organizing for a New Economy,” offered a spirited conversation around some innovative new work that is helping build a new economy.

Last month, the state of Nevada became the 17th state to pass legislation enabling businesses to incorporate as benefit corporations. There are nearly a dozen other states considering legislation, illustrating just how rapidly this idea has spread since Maryland became the first to pass legislation in April 2010. Legislatures in all corners of the U.S. have supported this concept overwhelmingly.

Can a hospital’s economic development strategy do more to heal a city than its emergency room? This question was at the core of a MIT-University of Maryland (UMCP) case study of University Hospitals’ (UH) Vision 2010 program in Cleveland, Ohio.

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At the 2013 Cooperative Issues Forum, hosted by the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) on May 8th at the National Press Club, representatives of three equally exemplary, but very different projects, outlined how they had used regional collaboration to advance the cooperative economy.

This infographic shows the wealth inequality of the top 400 richest Americans compared to the the wealth of 60 percent of Americans.

Last week, the New Era Windows cooperative celebrated its opening in a former Campbell’s Soup building in Chicago, the culmination of a hard-fought struggle by workers to save their livelihoods. Their well-documented struggle began in 2008 when the workers of Republic Windows and Doors occupied the factory to keep it from closing, attracting national attention.

These are the people who will inevitable be creating the next American politics and the next American system.

Building healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities requires more than “bottom up” solutions. The importance of community ownership to ensure that projects that start at the bottom result in lasting community wealth for the people involved is often missing from the discussion. The local foods movement provides examples that illustrate the importance of this ownership principle in practice.