Dear Colleague,

Happy new year from all of us at The Democracy Collaborative! 2019 is shaping up to be a critically important year in the struggle for a more equitable and environmentally sustainable political economic system. "If our goal is to design an economy that lives within planetary boundaries, we need to better understand the relationship between enterprise design and sustainability outcomes," writes Democracy Collaborative Executive Vice President Marjorie Kelly in a recent op-ed in Fast Company. Marjorie highlights recent research from Fifty by Fifty that explores the opportunity for employee-owned benefit corporations to advance both ecological sustainability and social equity. Fifty by Fifty also recently launched a new series exploring city strategies for growing employee ownership, starting with an article detailing how Durham, NC is promoting employee ownership as a succession strategy for retiring African-American business owners. Read more here.
Through strategies like supporting employee and community ownership, cities can help to develop an ecosystem for community wealth building. A critical piece of this ecosystem is finance. In a recent article for the Next System Project, Democracy Collaborative Research Fellow and Founder of the Real Economy Lab Jules Peck discusses the role of regional cooperative banks in catalyzing inclusive economic growth, highlighting the growing movement around community banking in the UK.
Anchor institutions
large public or non-profit place-based entities, such as universities and hospitalsare another important element. Recently, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom (a massive organization employing around 1.4 million people) included language in its long-term plan about the need to leverage its employment and purchasing power to support local communities. Read more about the plan and The Democracy Collaborative’s work with CLES and the Health Foundation to help maximize the NHS’ role as an anchor in the Health Service Journal. Interest in the United States is growing as well. Just last week, The Democracy Collaborative hosted the second Anchor Collaborative Convening in New Orleans, bringing together more than 25 different multi-anchor collaboratives that are working to accelerate new strategies for inclusive economic development. Read more about the work of the Network here.

Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative


TDC & CWB in the News

  • The Higher Education Workplace Magazine recently highlighted the local hiring initiatives of Towson University and Drexel University, both members of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative. Read more about how these universities are partnering to connect local residents to career opportunities here.
  • Several members of our Healthcare Anchor Network have recently been profiled in the news: Dignity Health’s work around investing in affordable housing development in San Bernardino, California was highlighted in Shelterforce; Rush University Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals were profiled in the Association of American Medical Colleges News; and Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Rush University Medical Center’s work around inclusive, local hiring with other area anchors was discussed in Crain’s Chicago Business.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the large California-based investor-owned electric utility, recently announced that it is filing for bankruptcy amidst concern that it was responsible for deadly wildfires in the state. This has led to a growing campaign calling for public ownership rather than a corporate bailout. Read coverage of this expanding call for a public takeover of PG&E in the San Francisco Chronicle as well as Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa’s plan for democratic, local control in Truth Out.  

New from The Democracy Collaborative

CW City: San Diego, California 

The forty-sixth in our CW City series is San Diego, California. The eighth largest city in the United States, San Diego has the nation’s fourth largest population of residents facing homelessness. To counter this, San Diego is home to a number of institutions and initiatives that are attempting to build community wealth. This includes: the recently launched San Diego Community Land Trust, which will work to expand access to homeownership and permanently affordable housing; the University of San Diego, a member of our Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, which is working to strengthen community engagement and catalyze local community economic development; and Neighborhood National Bank, the first nationally chartered bank designated as a CDFI.  
Read More

Featured Audio & Video

Bioneers 2018: Gar Alperovitz with Imara Jones
Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz sits down with Free Speech TV’s Imara Jones at the 2018 Bioneers conference to discuss the roots of the climate crisis and the need to build a more just and democratic economic system.   

When “growing the economy” is not the right answer: Moving to sustainability
This latest episode of the Next System Podcast features Carina Millstone, executive director of Feedback, a UK-based organization aiming to achieve a more regenerative food system. Carina discusses the need to move beyond traditional investor-owned company structures and integrate worker ownership into enterprise design. Read more on Fifty by Fifty’s blog.

Recommended Reads

Outlining a “Fulfilling Work” Procurement Agenda

Prepared by the The Institute for Local Governance and the North East Child Poverty Commission for Carnegie UK Trust, this new study highlights the opportunity to leverage local procurement to increase access to high quality jobs in North East England. The study assesses current procurement practices as well as stakeholder attitudes towards “fulfilling work” procurement. The report emphasizes the importance of political leadership and senior leadership buy-in to move the needle on local procurement goals, and recommends the development of standard definitions, principles, and evaluation frameworks. Read the full report here.

The Haas Institute’s 2018 Inclusiveness Index

The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley released its 2018 Inclusiveness Index report, which analyzes how marginalized populations fare. Measuring indicators including income inequality, political representation, rates of incarceration, and outgroup violence, the report highlights trends both globally and nationally. When it comes to the US, the report discusses the growing water crisis and disparate access to water across the country, as well as insights from the #MeToo movement and the impact of policies such as family detention. Read the full report here

Featured Website

Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City

CEANYC works to bring together community-led, democratically-controlled initiatives in New York City, connecting organizations and community members to peer training, education, and technical assistance. Focusing on efforts ranging from worker cooperative development to community land trusts to low-income housing co-ops, CEANYC advocates for policies and campaigns that help to close the gender and racial wealth gap. Read more here.

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