Dear Colleague,
Happy New Year from all of us at The Democracy Collaborative. We hope you had a restorative holiday season, and we extend our deep gratitude for the difference your work is making and for your continued interest in our own efforts to build a next system grounded in community, equity, inclusion and prosperity for all.
As we enter 2017, we have been reflecting on some of the initiatives we have been privileged to participate in over the past year. One of these involves the “anchor mission” of healthcare. Just 12 months ago we released a white paper on the growing movement among hospitals and health systems to leverage their economic assets to create community health and well-being. In December we convened over 40 prominent health systems and other stakeholders interested in advancing this anchor mission of healthcare. The convening comes after the release of our final toolkit in the Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities series, which was recently featured in articles in Next City and Fierce Healthcare, and in a report from the Brookings Institution.  Read about the latest toolkit on place-based investment strategies below.
We begin this year as committed as ever to putting forward a positive vision of an economy grounded in equity and inclusion. In the wake of last November’s presidential election, Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Next System Project Gar Alperovitz contributed an article to Truthout outlining an alternative vision of democratic ownership and community change from the ground up. Gar also contributed to an article in The Nation on how states and cities can help advance this work, and in Medium about the case for instituting a universal basic income.
Equally important to these visions of systemic change is seeing how this work is already unfolding on the ground. Last month, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dale Maharidge and photographer Matt Black published a stunning visual essay in Smithsonian Magazine documenting the lives of Americans across the U.S. affected by growing poverty and inequality. The piece profiles one of the employee-owners of Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, and notes that cooperatives like Evergreen are “one of the great untold stories of the past decade.” The Evergreen Cooperatives are also featured in the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt museum’s exhibit By The People: Designing a Better America, along with our partner in the Learning/Action Lab Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation. Read Communication Director John Duda’s description of the exhibit in an article for Medium. Evergreen and other approaches to worker ownership are also discussed in a recent interview with our Chief Financial Officer Jessica Bonanno on B the Change Media’s podcast New Economy Now.
Lastly, I am excited to announce we are hiring for a Director of Engaged Practice, to be based out of our Washington, DC office. See the full job description on our website.

We look forward to working with you in 2017 to continue this important and transformative work.

Ted Howard
President & Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative

New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Resource on Place-Based Investing

Nationally, health systems have an estimated $400 billion in investment assets—but very few of these dollars are deployed in a way that creates opportunity for the populations facing the greatest health disparities. This new toolkit on place-based investment provides hospital and health system leaders with the tools they need to make their investment portfolios work to improve the health of the communities they serve. Developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the toolkit is the third installment in the Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities series.
Explore the full toolkit

New C-W City: Dallas, Texas 

The forty-first in our Community Wealth Cities series is Dallas, TX. While Dallas is among the top twenty cities worldwide in terms of the number of billionaires, almost a quarter of residents are living in poverty. A number of institutions are looking to address this inequality and build community wealth. City Wide Community Development Corporation, for example, is currently developing a mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development in Dallas’ Lancaster Corridor, combatting a history of disinvestment. Read more about this effort and other community wealth building organizations in the full city profile.
Read the full profile

Featured Videos

Animation: Place-Based Investing

Watch this animation from the latest installment in the Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities toolkit series on place-based investment strategies, and learn how health systems can leverage their investment portfolios to improve community health and well-being. 


CUMU 2016: The Anchor Mission

Highlights from a session of university leaders discussing community impact strategies in light of their institutions' participation in The Democracy Collaborative's Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort.


Recommended Reads

"Racial Wealth Audit" Approach Highlights How Policies Lessen or Perpetuate Inequality

Median Latino and Black households have over $100,000 less in wealth than median White households, a disparity that persists despite reductions in income inequality. This new report from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) and CFED puts forward a “racial wealth audit” framework, assessing how specific policies either lessen or inadvertently perpetuate the racial wealth gap. The authors call for “targeted universalism” noting that policies such as Children’s Savings Account and eliminating student debt will only successfully address the racial wealth gap if they focus in particular on low income households.


Engaging the One Percent in Addressing Wealth Inequality

In this new book, activist and inequality expert Chuck Collins reflects on his own experience as someone who was born into the one percent but gave away his inheritance and dedicated his career to mobilizing against the growing wealth divide in the U.S. Noting how many tax policies in fact subsidize the wealthy, and how traditional forms of charity can reinforce inequality, Collins puts forth a vision of an alliance with the one percent to redeploy their resources to transform local communities.  



Featured Websites

National Equity Atlas

A joint partnership of PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), the National Equity Atlas aims to equip community leaders and policymakers with data around racial and economic inclusion. The atlas allows users to generate data summaries of their own community as well as charts, graphs and other assets for reports and funding proposals. The site also includes case studies of how this data has been used by local leaders to make the case for equitable growth strategies. Learn more at
ChangeLab Solutions

Based in Oakland, California, ChangeLab Solutions works to advance laws and policy innovations that enhance access to healthy food, fresh water, safe places, and multi-modal transit. The website includes model policies, fact sheets for communities, and how-to guides with sections focusing on land use and transportation planning, childhood obesity prevention, tobacco control, food systems, and healthy housing. Learn more at
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