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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our February newsletter. This month’s developments include:
  • The Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Collective released a free e-book, Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement, co-edited by Democracy Collaborative Senior Research Associate Thomas Hanna and cooperative development consultant Andrew McLeod. Among the contributions to the edited volume are essays by Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Fellow Joe Guinan. Read more below. Additionally, Thomas’s blog on locally owned power in Nebraska was featured in Yes! Magazine. For more information on worker- cooperatives, take a look at this new video from the Toolbox for Social Education and Action (TESA) and GRITtv.
  • We want to congratulate our friends and partners at the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network for receiving the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. This award will support Roosevelt’s continued efforts to engage young people in transforming the relationships between educational institutions and communities.
  • In Alternet, Senior Fellow Gus Speth describes the current state of “uneconomic growth” in America, marked by high levels of distrust, depression, and inequality. Gus highlights several locally rooted business forms that can support a transition to a people-oriented economy including social enterprises, benefit corporations, and worker-cooperatives. 
  • Community Development Associate Violeta Duncan describes community foundations’ transition from passive to active grantmaking in this Social Enterprise Canada article. Violeta was also named to the first class of the Institute for Policy Studies’ New Economy Maryland fellows. 
As always, we continue to add new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find the most recent additions.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative

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In this Newsletter:


New from the Democracy Collaborative

Recommended Reads

Featured Websites

On our Blog:

A Fair Share: Worker Cooperatives and the Growth of Shared Capitalism


New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Anthology Addresses Challenges of Scale in the Cooperative Movement

Senior Research Associate Thomas Hanna and cooperative development consultant Andrew McLeod co-edited Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO)’s first e-book, Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement, which highlights the role of co-ops in building a more just, egalitarian, and sustainable economy. The book includes an essay from Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz on the Mondragón cooperative network in the Basque region of Spain. Additional contributions include essays by Senior Fellow and Next System Executive Director Joe Guinan and Thomas Hanna on challenges to the expansion of worker-ownership. Co-editor McCleod; Hilary Abell, author of Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale; and Mondragón’s North American delegate Michael Peck also contribute essays to the collection. Find Out More»

Recommended Reads

Domestic Worker Alliance Leader Pens Book on the Caring Economy

As safety nets fray and the Baby Boom generation reaches retirement age, the imperative to create a more caring economy is greater than ever, noted Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in an interview we featured this past May. Ai-Jen expands on her views in a new book, The Age of Dignity, in which she identifies policy designs that join public, private, and nonprofit sector efforts to uplift women and immigrant care workers while supporting families caring for their elders. To do so, Ai-jen contends, requires building a care infrastructure “in which elders can age with dignity and their caregivers, both professional paid workers and unpaid family and friends, can thrive as well.” Read More»

National Survey Documents Rise of Place- Based Investing 

The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment released its tenth biannual report on what it labels the “sustainable, responsible and impact investing sector.” The report identified place-based investing, largely by public funds directing investment into their city or state, “as a new trend, accounting for nearly $90 billion in assets.” Additionally, the use of environmental, social and governance criteria by institutional investors, once a small market niche, now covers over $4 trillion in market assets, representing a four-fold increase from 2012 to 2014 alone. Read More»


Study Highlights Opportunity to Boost Newark Small Businesses through Anchor Procurement 

This new report from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) identifies an opportunity for Newark anchor institutions to shift over $425 million of procurement toward local purchasing. In addition to targeting local procurement strategies in high expenditure areas, authors Kim Zeuli, Lena Ferguson, and Austin Nijhuis also suggest that anchors target local procurement contract opportunities so as to build the capacity of small firms to scale up for future contracts, as demonstrated by the Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE) initiative. Read More»

Hospitals Promote Heath Equity through Community Collaboration


A new IRS requirement that tax-exempt hospitals conduct community health needs assessments encourages hospitals to work collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders. The authors of a recent report, published by the Commonwealth Center for Governance Studies, Inc., argue that this federal mandate presents an opportunity to improve community health and reduce health care expenditures. The report offers several case studies of effective and sustainable partnerships in California, Minnesota, Maryland, Florida, and elsewhere throughout the country. Read More»


Featured Websites

The Labor Network for Sustainability 

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS) works to bridge the “environment versus jobs deadlock” and to foster a dialogue to around a shared vision for the American economy. LNS runs a lecture series, which includes a conversation between Democracy Collaborative Senior Fellow Gus Speth and Ron Blackwell, former Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO. Its website outlines the sustainability concerns of labor organizations, provides an overview of cooperation and conflict between labor and environmental movements, and contains case studies describing labor’s engagement on policy issues. Find Out More»


Formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans-based Propeller works to identify, develop, and advocate for sustainable business development in the areas of healthy food access, water, public health, education, and youth development. To date, it has helped incubate 50 social enterprises though its Social Venture Accelerator program and has provided affordable, collaborative workspace for 40 local companies. Propeller has also helped to create over 100 full- and part-time jobs and has leveraged more than $20 million in external financing, revenues, and grants. Find Out More»

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