Community Wealth Blog

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. 

Next week in Chicago, Democracy Collaborative executive director Ted Howard will present testimony before the Governor's Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. The presentation will focus on a set of actionable policy recommendations to help position Illinois as the nation’s leader in community wealth building.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the Fed’s Community Affairs Research Conference in Washington, DC, opening his speech by acknowledging that successful strategies to rebuild communities require “multipronged approaches that address housing, education, jobs and quality-of-life issues in a coherent, mutually consistent way.”

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This infographic shows the general long-term trends of our broken system.

Last week, The Democracy Collaborative's Stephanie Geller had the opportunity to chat with Ellen Macht, President and CEO of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, about an exciting new project launched by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to bring quality jobs, assets, and sustainable economic growth to Atlanta’s most marginalized neighborhoods. 

Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin gave a powerful keynote last Friday, March 22nd, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s (NCRC) annual conference, emphasizing the role that private business must play  — specifically, anchor institutions — to stabilize communities, create better jobs, and stimulate local economies.

On May 8th, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will host a special event to mark the release of the report The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth, featuring The Democracy Collaborative’s Executive Director Ted Howard.

Earlier this month, Meche Sansores of Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES) in Oakland, CA, wrote an insightful piece about the economic benefits of cooperatives on the Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity’s Executive Commentary blog. Focusing specifically on low-skilled, and therefore often low-wage, workers, Sansores argues that co-ops provide increased earnings, better benefits and asset-building opportunities for these individuals.

Last month I posted a blog about the complexities in the housing market and detrimental side effects of foreclosures for communities and individual wealth preservation.  Soon thereafter the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Committee issued a report entitled Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy that contained recommendations for a new housing finance system and for reforming housing assistance programs to better meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable households.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, discussions of healthcare policy in national politics and the mainstream media have overwhelmingly focused on the law’s impact on health insurance rather than public health. For example, the 2 percent of the population that will be affected by the individual mandate provision have received an inordinate level of attention.

In 2012, credit unions passed an important milestone: collectively, these cooperatively owned, one-member-one-vote financial institutions hold more than $1 trillion in assets. Taken together, they would equal the fifth largest U.S. bank, knocking Goldman Sachs out of the top five.