Community Wealth Blog

Critiquing the old economy is easy. The ends (more economic growth!) don't justify the means (privatize everything, and Devil take the hindmost!). And the means don't even get us the advertised ends; instead we just get widening inequality, perverted democracy, and degradation of life-giving systems.

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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.

Reflecting growing enthusiasm for worker co-ops, the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy—held last month in Worcester, Massachusetts—attracted a record 300-plus participants. One item on the agenda: the possibility of creating new worker cooperatives through conversions in which employees buy a business from an exiting owner.

Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit, community-based organizations that help create permanently affordable housing, build equity, and reduce the displacement that can accompany rapidly rising or falling property values.

These are some of the key facts and figures on how community development corporations build community wealth. 

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The phrase “new economy” can mean a variety of things to different people. To some, the phrase still refers to the adoption of new technology or the growth of the tech sector. Among progressives, however, it has generally come to mean, as John Cavanagh and Robin Broad put it a while back in The Nation, the movement to achieve “holistic, systemic change” in our economic structures.

In this year’s review of some of the newest worker-owners on the block, we highlight 16 fresh cooperatives—some were founded and others were converted to worker-ownership in 2014. If you find some of these businesses are local to you, we encourage you to support and welcome your new worker-owned neighbors.

By definition distinct from the status quo, radical ideas must always evolve. Still, Gus Speth has had a particularly unusual evolution to his current role as Co-Chair of The Democracy Collaborative’s Next System Project, which launched on March 31, 2015 and seeks to build upon our work on community wealth and take it to scale by opening up a broad national debate in the United States about much-needed systemic change. 

What would you do if the only full-service grocery store in your community suddenly closed? When this misfortune fell upon the residents of northeast Greensboro, North Carolina, they took matters into their own hands and mobilized to build a community-owned store.

A practitioner-driven agenda provides a unique lens for addressing challenges facing community economic development. The People and Places conference represented a joint effort by four organizations: NACEDA (the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations), NALCAB (the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders), National CAPACD (the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development), and the National Urban League.

Founded in 1980, Self-Help works to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all, especially minority, women-headed, rural and low-wealth families and communities.  In 2006 Self Help expanded into California, and in 2008 launched Self-Help Federal Credit Union to increase access to affordable, responsible financial services in low-income communities.

Grocery or “natural food” co-ops pioneered promoting local and organic foods, helping to propel these concepts into the mainstream. But spurred by expanding consumer demand, large corporations now dominate the market and have increased pressure on independent, grocery co-ops around the country. Today, the labels of organic, local, or natural do not necessarily reflect a more equitable distribution of wealth and profits.