The Cleveland Model

Labour's New Economics Conference: Part Five, Local Democratic Economic Strategies

Tom Gann
New Socialist

Tom Gann writes for New Socialist in "Labour's New Economics Conference: Part Five, Local Democratic Economic Strategies." Gann recaps the UK Labour Party's panel, "Local Democratic Economic Strategies," at the New Economic Conference. The panel included Matthew Brown, Preston City Council; Heather Wakefield, UNISON; Ted Howard, president/co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative:

Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborative

Howard began by talking of the “pilgrimage” from the USA to Preston, and how Preston had now eclipsed what had been achieved in the US. He then outlined the principles of Community Wealth Building.

  • The priority of labour over capital, particularly in a crisis, with continued stable employment more important than capital’s profits.
  • The need for local and broad-based rather than absentee ownership, as the basis for asserting what interests are valued.
  • The importance of active democratic ownership contrasted with the passive, consumer model of neoliberalism.
  • The central role for multipliers and internalising the circulation of money with investment sticking rather than capital being extracted.
  • Economic development understood not as a partnership between the state and business, in which the state is unaccountable and subordinate, but as a multistakeholder process.
  • Place matters, direct investment in neighbourhoods, particularly neighbourhoods of colour is necessary, trickle down particularly into these neighbourhoods cannot be relied upon.
  • Systemic change, the current system destroys the environment and produces inequalities so it’s necessary to move beyond amelioration to build systems that produce different outcomes.

Howard concluded, with the properly Marxist-humanist insight, “people made our systems, we can remake them” (or, “if there’s been a way to build it, there’ll be a way to destroy it, things are not all that out of control”).

Worker cooperatives offer real alternatives to Trump’s retrograde economic vision

Sara Aziza
Waging Nonviolence

Sara Aziza writes in Waging Nonviolence: Worker cooperatives offer real alternatives to Trump’s retrograde economic vision. In this article she highlights the work of the Democracy Collaborative's report Worker Cooperatives: Pathway to Scale and the Democracy Collaborative's strategy and proposals for reducing economic inequality: 

“The field of worker co-op development is just beginning to create the infrastructure and knowledge base needed to increase its scale and impact,” wrote Hilary Abell in “Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale,” an extensive report for the Democracy Collaborative, a research and advocacy institute dedicated to progressive economics.

Read more in Waging Nonviolence


Democratic Ownership and the Pluralist Commonwealth: The Creation of an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Gar Alperovitz

Writing for Truthout co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative Gar Alperovitz highlights the connection between Youngtown, Ohio, and the Principals of the Pluralist Commonwealth.

On September 19, 1977 -- a day remembered locally as "Black Monday" -- the corporate owners of the Campbell Works in Youngstown, Ohio, abruptly shuttered the giant steel mill's doors. Instantly, 5,000 workers lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and their futures. The mill's closing was national news, one of the first major blows in the era of deindustrialization, offshoring, and "free trade" that has since made mass layoffs commonplace.

Read more about it here 

The stage is set for an unusual political and economic experiment in Jackson, Mississippi


Mississippi's poor capital Jackson will be in the next four years subject to an economic experiment led by black activists and a newly elected progressive mayor. The plan is to introduce a barter economy, start worker cooperatives and build affordable rental housing in cooperation with the City. Tea Party Republicans and the white business community are expected to resist

International coverage of Cooperation more 

In Cleveland, co-op model finds hope in employers rooted in the city

James E. Causey
Journal Sentinel

Program that boosts workers into homeownership could hold lessons for more

Development in Cleveland through the Multi-Anchor Model

Julia Poznik, Jonathan Ramse and Ruchira Sen
Economics for Equity and the Environment Network

This case study evaluates the success of the Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI) in meeting its goals using the Future Economy Analytical Framework developed by the E3 Network. Through personal interviews and secondary research, we have evaluated whether the GUCI has the potential to create a new, more equitable and more sustainable way to localize work and life. A network analysis was implemented to aid us in the study of power dynamics between the organizations comprising the GUCI. All of these methods allow us to draw conclusions about the resilience and replicability of the GUCI and about the achievements and limitations of the multi-anchor model as it has been implemented in Cleveland. 

Evergreen Cooperatives take the spotlight in Cleveland, OH during GOP Convention

The employee-owned trio of social enterprises exemplifies equity and sustainability

The presence of the 2016 Republican National Convention cast a national spotlight on Cleveland, Ohio. Looking to highlight the struggles and hopes of ordinary low-income local residents, many visiting journalists found their way to the Evergreen Cooperatives, a group of three linked employee-owned social enterprises based in the Greater University Circle area of Cleveland's East Side. Read more about Evergreen Cooperatives take the spotlight in Cleveland, OH during GOP Convention...

Ours to Share: How Worker-Ownership Can Change the American Economy

Sanjay Pinto and The Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation

This report from The Surdna Foundation delves into the world of worker ownership, detailing models and best practices, from the Cleveland Model developed by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Ohio to the role of foundations and philanthropy in developing worker-owned business strategies:

Impact to Last: Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Enterprise

Ben Thornley, Jacquelyn Anderson and Lauren Dixon

In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.

Is it Time for a New New Deal?

James M. Larkin and Zach Goldhammer
The Nation
Our economy is broken. Could a universal basic income, child allowances, and worker-owned cooperatives fix it? The Democracy Collaborative's Gar Alperovitz, alongside other economists and activists, sheds light on the issue.

Own a Home in Just Four Years? This Co-Op Program Keeps Workers in the Neighborhood

Yessenia Funes
Yes! Magazine

Yessenia Funes writes about the Evergreen Cooperatives' home-buyer program in Yes! Magazine's Fall 2015 Debt Issue. 

Evergreen started this unique home-buyers program three years ago. Today, nearly half of its worker-owners have purchased homes through the program. Home ownership was unlikely for them before; many have bad credit or criminal records. Cedeño simply couldn’t afford the traditional route, which would have meant a down payment—and debt. “I didn’t want to have debts so large,” he explains, “so this opportunity came, and I took advantage of it.”

Read the full article here

The Cleveland Model: How the Evergreen Cooperatives Build Community Wealth

The Cleveland Model brings community economic development and the purchasing power of anchor institutions like hospitals and universities together into a single coordinated strategy to build democratized wealth and cooperative business ownership in low-income neighborhoods.

Infographic: The Cleveland Model

Building community wealth by linking anchor institutions to worker cooperatives

The Latest Trends in Sustainable Communities

Gar Alperovitz and Michael Shuman

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz joined BALLE co-founder Michael Shuman in a conversation on how to build sustainable communities through inclusive local economic development.

The Cooperative Economy

Gar Alperovitz

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz expands on his vision of a cooperative and community-sustaining economy with Editor Scott Gast of Orion magazine.

Working Together

David Coates
Lancashire Evening Post

Exective Director, Ted Howard, met with Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, and top leadership from Lancashire’s anchor institutions to make the case that, by linking anchor institution procurement to cooperative development, Preston’s employee-owned businesses could thrive.