The latest news on community wealth building initiatives!
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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our September newsletter. This month’s developments include:
  • Recognition of community wealth building as a means of creating local shared prosperity is growing. Just last week, the Washington Post published an article that outlined how Richmond, Virginia’s newly established Office of Community Wealth Building is working to reduce the city’s dauntingly high rates of poverty and unemployment. Other noteworthy press: a New Republic article explored how cooperatives can support a green and democratic economy and a Yes! Magazine article focused on how land trusts, worker ownership, and public banking can help reduce inequality.
  • The ideas and perspective of Gar Alperovitz, our co-founder, have been featured in a number of articles and interviews in the past month. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Gar argues that high rates of unemployment and low rates of growth are likely here to stay without major structural changes in the economy. Gar outlines his broader vision of a community-centered political and economic system in a Truth-Out interview and in a joint interview with economic geography scholar David Harvey, conducted by Journalist Laura Flanders of GRITtv. In an AlterNet article, Gar discusses how current challenges facing our country’s stormwater management system also present an opportunity to build a community sustaining local economy. Finally, as employees from the New England-based supermarket Market Basket organized to reinstate their CEO, a living wage proponent, Gar reflected on how employee ownership can help protect company culture and employee prosperity.
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:

Does Richmond Show the Future of Community Wealth Building?

The Benefits and Impact of Cooperatives

Worker Co-ops Gain Foothold in Cuba


New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Report Outlines Emerging Best Practices in State & Local Policies to Build Community Wealth

Our new report, Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources, provides a representative survey of some key emerging best practices in state and local policy-making to support community wealth building—designed to support economic inclusion goals, create quality jobs with family-supporting wages, address generational poverty, stabilize communities and the environment, and address growing wealth inequality. In contrast to traditional economic development strategies that use local resources to attract outside investment, the strategies highlighted in this report leverage local resources to generate local equity and community-owned initiatives. Find Out More»

Recommended Reads

Federal Commitment to Higher Workforce Standards Reduces Inequality

The third report in a Dēmos research series examining how the federal contracting system has contributed to income inequality illustrates the potential for federal purchasing to instead promote upward mobility. The authors show that by setting higher workforce standards, which require federal contractors to provide living wages, paid sick leave, and the right to collective bargaining, the United States can grow its middle class, increase community wealth, and generate employment. Indeed, the authors estimate that such measures could foster the creation of an additional 260,000 jobs. Read More»


Communities Address Racial Inequity through Investment in Local Food Systems

This report from The Center for Social Inclusion examines the effects of housing, school, land, and wage policies on access to healthy food in communities of color. It offers recommendations to surmount these challenges, such as investing in cooperatively owned food enterprises and leveraging dollars from the Affordable Care Act’s community benefit requirements for nonprofit hospitals. The report also includes several reference guides to help community groups identify and confront the particular institutions, policies, and practices that promote structural racial inequity in their food systems. Read More»

Healthcare Institutions Invest Locally to Build Sustainable and Healthy Communities 


Authored by Kaiser Permanente’s Environmental Stewardship Officer Kathy Gerwig, this new book provides a road map for healthcare institutions aiming to help build healthy and sustainable communities. Gerwig’s case studies of current hospital best practices identify environmentally preferable purchasing policies, investments in local food systems, and other green strategies that provide powerful examples of how healthcare institutions can meet existing community benefit requirements and reduce health disparities, thereby improving health outcomes while building wealth in low- to moderate- income communities. Read More»

The Road So Far: Penn Leaders Recount Path to Building an Anchor Mission Culture 

This case study, authored by founding director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Ira Harkavy, and his colleagues at Penn, describes how the role of the University of Pennsylvania as an anchor institution has evolved from 1981 to present. The paper describes community engagement efforts like the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, which works to leverage research, teaching, and learning to support West Philadelphia; and the University City District, an economic partnership between small businesses and anchor institutions. While Penn’s cultural reshaping remains a work in progress, the authors are optimistic that “Penn will further evolve as an anchor institution and increasingly realize [Ben] Franklin’s democratic civic vision.” Read More»

Featured Websites

Participatory Budgeting Project

Since its start in Brazil in 1989, participatory budgeting, a local budgeting process whereby communities have the ability to make authoritative decisions over local public works capital expenditures, has spread to over 1,500 cities, including New York, St. Louis, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. This website offers technical assistance to governments, public institutions, and organizations working to develop this democratic decision-making processes. Find Out More»

Impact Investing Policy Collaborative (IIPC)

Developed by the Global Impact Investing Policy Project with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, IIPC provides resources for investors, public officials, researchers, and advocates to identify and advance impact investment policies that support the development of sustainable, inclusive, and equitable communities. This website features case studies on use of the New Markets Tax Credits and community development financial institutions. Find Out More»

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