Dear Colleague,

This month, I am pleased to share our latest report from the Next System Project, Energy Democracy: taking back power. Authored by Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa, the report examines both the benefits and challenges of publicly owned energy utilities and the steps needed to bring about energy democracy as part of the fight against climate change. Read more below. Johanna and Research Director Thomas Hanna also published an article in Jacobin on the need to assert public control not only over utilities, but the financial system as well in order to decarbonize the economy. Learn more about financing the green transition on the latest episode of the Next System Podcast.
Writing for The Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty discusses the latest development in Preston, England, an incubator for worker-owned cooperatives. Under the leadership of Preston’s city council leader Matthew Brown—who is also a Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative—the council has been pioneering new models of economic revitalization that build community wealth. Read more about Preston’s efforts to develop a community bank in the Lancashire Post.
Director of Healthcare Engagement David Zuckerman was recently interviewed in Shelterforce about the Healthcare Anchor Network’s work leveraging health system assets to address health and wealth inequality. This anchor mission approach was also highlighted in a recent World Health Organization report on the economic and social impact of health systems. Later this spring, The Healthcare Anchor Network will be collaborating with Modern Healthcare on a symposium focused on the connection between the social determinants of health and health outcomes, featuring industry leaders discussing challenges and successes, best practices, and strategies to effectively advance community health. This Social Determinants of Health Symposium will take place on June 6th in Cleveland, Ohio. Learn more about the symposium agenda and speakers, and register here.
Lastly, The Democracy Collaborative is hiring two experienced Senior Associates to join the Healthcare Engagement team to support the operations and growth of the Healthcare Anchor Network, to work out of our Washington, DC office. 

Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative


TDC & CWB in the News

  • Writing for Common Dreams, Program Associate Adam Simpson discusses a recent segment from John Oliver's “Last Week Tonight” on automation, noting that Oliver’s analysis is missing a focus on ownership and control, as well as a discussion of the implications of unchecked growth.
  • Democracy Collaborative President Ted Howard was recently interviewed for a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the expansion of urban college campuses, noting the importance of investing in strategies that limit displacement and build community wealth.
  • Green City Growers, one of the worker-owned businesses that is part of the Evergreen Cooperative network, was recently featured in the magazine Produce Growers for their innovative use of LED lights and focus on developing career paths for workers.
  • Next System Project Co-Chair Gus Seth was recently interviewed in Yes! Magazine about the history of the climate justice movement, and the current effort of a group of young people to sue the federal government for endangering their lives through its record of inaction on climate change

New from The Democracy Collaborative

New report on Public Ownership & Energy Democracy

Authored by Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa, Energy Democracy: taking back power, the latest report from the Next System Project, explores utility (re)municipalization as a strategy to shift away from fossil fuel extraction. The report provides a comparative analysis of investor-owned and publicly owned utilities’ ability to achieve the conditions for energy democracy.
Read More

Featured Audio & Video

Practicing Food Democracy

Senior Research Associate Katie Parker joined the CUNY School of Public Health’s Urban Food Policy Forum on Food Democracy to discuss the role of community wealth building in creating a more just and resilient food system. Watch the full panel here.

From private profit to public alternatives

This episode of the Next System Project features Shahrzad Habibi, research director at In The Public Interest, Thomas Hanna, The Democracy Collaborative’s research director, and Cat Hobbs, founder and director of We Own It!, discussing the benefits and possibilities of democratic public ownership.

Recommended Reads

Community Land Trusts and Community Development

In 2016, there were over 2.3 million eviction filings, pointing to a need for strategies to not only promote affordable housing, but combat displacement. This new policy brief from LISC explores how Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Community Development Corporations (CDCs) can partner with Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to achieve these goals. The brief highlights the key functions that CDFIs and CDCs can provide to support CLTs, including access to funding and leveraging community organizing infrastructure. In addition, the community development field can advocate for policies such as “right of first refusal” programs that can transfer more land to land trusts. Read the full paper here.

Community business and anchor institutions

This new report from the UK-based Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) explores ways in which anchor institutions can support community businesses, defined as social enterprises that are rooted in their particular locale. The report highlights initiatives and opportunities in Liverpool, Ipswich, and Bristol. Noting the potential of this approach to catalyze community wealth building, the report includes recommendations for how to better connect anchors to community businesses. Read the full report here.

Featured Website


Symbiosis is a network of community organizations working to advance a more democratic and just economy. By connecting organizing efforts across sectors, Symbiosis is working to develop a movement that both builds power at the grassroots level and shifts the architecture of our current system. Symbiosis will host a congress of partner organizations this coming summer. Symbiosis Research Collective authored the winning essay in the Next System Project’s inaugural essay competition. Read more about Symbiosis in Truthout.

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