Dear Colleague,

This month, I am excited to announce the official launch of the Anchor Collaboratives Network, which convenes leaders of place-based initiatives who are working to leverage the resources of anchor institutions to advance local, inclusive economic development. The Network allows the people and organizations convening anchor institutions to connect, share best practices, and develop new resources to accelerate this approach. With this launch, we have also released a new report documenting this growing field, Anchor Collaboratives: Building Bridges with Place-Based Partnerships and Anchor Institutions. Read more below.
 
The Democracy Collaborative has also been continuing to convene leaders in the employee ownership sector. In April, Fifty by Fifty co-hosted a meeting with the Center for Sustainable Business at the New York University Stern School of Business that brought together leaders from mission-led employee-owned firms. The convening coincided with the release of a new report from Fifty by Fifty that assesses the performance of this innovative ownership model. Read more on the Fifty by Fifty Blog and below. The Democracy Collaborative is also convening a working group focused on the role of Small Business Development Centers in supporting employee ownership. Read more about the effort here and about the Small Business Administration mandate to support education related to employee ownership here.
 
The May 2019 special issue of In These Times magazine, “Getting to Zero,” features an article by TDC co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa calling for public control of electric utilities to remove a major impediment to the green transition. The issue also includes an article on “How to Bury the Fossil Fuel Industry” by Kate Aronoff that draws on The Next System Project’s “quantitative easing for the planet” proposal. A recent article in The Guardian also highlights the potential of quantitative easing and the role of public ownership to manage a decline of the fossil fuel industry.
 
The Next System Project continues to release new resources related to building a more democratic economy, including the latest installment in the Elements of the Democratic Economy series on Credit Unions. We have also published a resource on strategies to grow and scale cooperatives without letting go of key values around democratic participation and shared culture, authored by Director of Communications John Duda through a collaboration with CoLab Cooperative.
 
Lastly, I am delighted to welcome a new member to The Democracy Collaborative’s Board of Trustees, Michellene Davis. Michellene is the Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of RWJBarnabas Health and a founding member of the Healthcare Anchor Network. Read more about her work here. The Democracy Collaborative team is also growing. We are currently hiring for four positions based in Washington, DC. Read more here.

Sincerely,
Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative

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TDC & CWB in the News

  • “As we scale up the democratic economy, we also displace the corporate economy, which is going to benefit working people more generally,” Communications Director John Duda writes in a recent article in Truthout about the growth in worker cooperatives. Policy Associate Peter Gowan was also recently quoted on the transformative potential of the cooperative model in an article for the Huffington Post.  
  • Urban Omnibus, a publication of the Architectural League of New York, recently highlighted the work of the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI) which is leveraging the economic assets of area anchor institutions to build community wealth.
  • Interest in anchor collaboratives continues to grow: The MinnPost recently published a profile on the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership, which connects area anchors to ensure that transit projects and other economic development initiatives benefit local residents and build community wealth. The Democracy Collaborative also recently announced a partnership with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to launch the Northern Virginia Anchor Collaborative.
  • The Preston Model, inspired in part by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, was recently profiled in The Atlantic. The article details how the city council is working to leverage local procurement to support cooperative development. The Economist recently highlighted the Preston Model as well as elements of our work helping create a transatlantic ecosystem of ideas ready to create a democratic economy.

New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Report on Anchor Collaboratives Driving CWB

The Democracy Collaborative’s new report Anchor Collaboratives: Building Bridges with Place-Based Partnerships and Anchor Institutions discusses the role of anchor institutions and collaboratives in leveraging the power of their economic assets to address social and economic disparities and revitalize local communities. The report focuses on the work of anchor institutions and partner organizations that have joined to form place-based networks, or anchor collaboratives, to develop, implement, and support shared goals and initiatives that advance equitable and inclusive economic development strategies. Anchor mission work is not easy, but our hope is that this state of the field report will provide information and assistance to groups wanting to do anchor mission work or to create anchor collaboratives in their local communities.

Read More

Mission-led Employee-owned Firms: The Best of the Best

Fifty by Fifty, a project of The Democracy Collaborative to scale employee ownership, has been conducting research on a powerful new ownership design: the mission-led employee-owned firm. This new report finds that these companies are shown to significantly outperform conventionally owned firms in overall environmental and social impact. Identifying over fifty such firms, the report includes profiles of well-known brands such as Eileen Fisher and King Arthur Flour, as well as social enterprises such as Cooperative Home Care Associates and environmental leaders such as EA Engineering.

Read More

Featured Video & Audio

Based on our recent report Building Resiliency through Green Infrastructure, this webinar highlights the perspectives of practitioners on the ground working to build community wealth through green infrastructure.

On this episode of the Next System Podcast, journalist Kate Aronoff and Oil Change International’s Steve Kretzmann join NSP’s Carla Skandier and Isaiah Poole to discuss strategies to curtail the power of the fossil fuel industry.

Recommended Reads

Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age

“We need a radical overhaul of the monetary system itself, and that means rethinking what money is and how it enters the economy,” writes Democracy Collaborative Fellow Ellen Brown in the introduction to her new book. The book explores the development of the current international banking system, documenting the ways in which is extracts wealth and perpetuates inequality. Brown also explores alternative models, putting forward a proposal for a public system where banking is understood as a utility that serves the people and the economy. Read more and order copies here.

When We Own It: A model for public ownership in the 21st century

This new report from We Own It!, a UK-based organization working to combat privatization, outlines a blueprint for democratic public ownership in the 21st century. The report assesses the detrimental effects of privatization on sectors such as public transportation, water, and the Royal Mail, and offers an alternative vision grounded in community control and accountability. The report calls for public ownership at the local, regional, and national level, and provides a proposal for a multi-stakeholder governance model. Read the full report here.

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