Welcome to our March 2016 newsletter. This month, we are pleased to release our 2015 Impact Report which maps the work of The Democracy Collaborative over the past year.

This month also marks one year since the launch of the Next System Project, and one of the busiest months yet. We hosted the first Next System Project Teach-ins in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, released a new curriculum on system change, published four new papers on alternative systemic models, released a new video on economic democracy, and published several new articles and interviews.

We are excited to share a new Stanford Social Innovation Review article authored by Nick Tilsen, Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, in which he discusses how philanthropy can better partner with Native American communities to support economic revitalization. Thunder Valley CDC is a participant in the The Democracy Collaborative’s Learning/Action Lab, a co-learning initiative funded by the Northwest Area Foundation focused on building community wealth in Native American communities through social enterprise and worker ownership. Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb, along with other participants in the Learning/Action Lab, discussed this ongoing work at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Portland, Oregon. The full presentation is available online.

At 2PM EST today, Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley will give a webinar presentation as part of the Community Builders Webinar Series, which showcases developers, planners, and community leaders working to create stronger communities and diverse economies in the American West. Attendees can earn AICP credits for today's webinar. Register and view the webinar at 2pm EST today. 

The Democracy Collaborative team continues to grow. We would like to welcome new Research Associate Jarrid Green and Research Assistant Emily Sladek. Jarrid spent the past three years at the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), a national public policy strategy organization based in New York that aims to dismantle structural racial inequity. Emily has a background in research and evaluation for academic bridge programs (Department of Education TRiO) as well as the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth (Gateways) program, which provides education pathways to youth in the juvenile justice system. The Democracy Collaborative is currently hiring for an Executive Assistant to the President and Executive Vice-President to be based at our Cleveland, Ohio office. Find out more and apply on our website.

Ted Howard
President & Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Inaugural Teach-Ins & Curriculum Release

The Next System Project kicked off the inaugural Teach-In Initiative in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, bringing together over 400 students, activists, academics, and practitioners to learn about systemic alternatives grounded in environmental, racial, and economic justice. Presenters during the New York City teach-in opening plenary panel included: Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz; Deyanira Del Rio, co-director of the New Economy Project; Autumn Marie, a Black Lives Matter activist; Ed Whitfield, co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities; Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor at CUNY; and Sarah Leonard, Editor of The Nation. The Next System Project also published a Teach-In curriculum which features a Facilitator’s Guide and a System Change Guide.
Watch an excerpt of the NYC Convening plenary
New Publication Series on Political-Economic Alternatives

The Next System Project launched a new publication series, coordinated by Next System Project Co-Chair Gus Speth, that will bring forward proposals for alternative system models. The first four were released this month, highlighting David Schweickart’s model of economic democracy; Riane Eisler’s model of whole systems change; Robin Hahnel’s model of participatory economics; and Lane Kenworthy’s model of social democracy. The papers discuss each model’s core goals and principal mechanisms for bringing about change, as well as the economic, cultural, environmental, and political elements of the approach.
"New Systems, Possibilities, and Proposals"
New Interviews from the Next System Project

The Next System Project published an interview with leading cooperative economist Vera Zamagni about Italy's Emilia Romagna region, home to one of the most advanced cooperative networks in the world. Co-chair of the Next System Project Gus Speth discussed the challenges of global climate change and the need to move beyond consumerism in Dave Gardner’s Conversation Earth Radio Series and Gar was recently interviewed for the Institute for Policy Studies’ article series Too Much: A commentary on excess and inequality
Interview: Cooperative Economist Vera Zamagni

Recommended Videos

David Schweickart's "Economic Democracy"

This new animation, created and narrated by Communications Associate Michelle Stearn, explains David Schweickart’s Economic Democracy model, one of the newly released papers from the Next System Project. 

Evergreen Cooperatives featured on PBS and CNBC

Originally aired on PBS and CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, this news segment highlights Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives’ program to help worker-owners purchase homes in their community.


Recommended Reads

Co-op Conversions: A $10 Trillion Investment Opportunity

As baby boomers retire, an estimated 70 percent of all private businesses are predicted to transfer ownership in the next five to 20 years. This represents a $10 trillion market opportunity for lenders as well as an opportunity to anchor jobs in the community. This new brief, published by the Cooperative Fund of New England, Project Equity, and the Democracy at Work Institute, provides a primer on worker co-ops and guidance for underwriting worker cooperative conversions. It also includes five case studies of cooperative conversions with details on loan terms, debt and equity ratios, sources of capital, and collateral requirements.

Worker Co-Ops Double in New York City

The city government of New York recently released an assessment on the first year of New York City’s Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative. The $1.2 million in municipal investment has led to the creation of 21 new worker cooperatives—doubling their number in the city—and has helped to build the capacity of existing cooperatives and businesses. It is estimated that over 141 new worker-owner positions have been created and over 900 entrepreneurs have received training in co-op development. Encouraged by this success, the New York City Council increased the initiative’s funding to $2.1 million for Fiscal Year 2016. 

Growing Anchor Institution Local Food Purchasing in Baltimore

Commissioned by the Baltimore Integration Partnership, a collaboration of anchor institutions, nonprofits, and public organizations focused on inclusion in Baltimore, this report from Karp Resources describes how anchors can create opportunities for local food vendors and strengthen the local economy. To help local vendors gain contracts with anchor institutions, which typically work with large food service providers, the report encourages anchors to create local preference requirements within their requests for proposals (RFPs), to support the certification of local- and minority-owned enterprises, and to institute local food price preferences.

“Homegrown” Jobs Spur Economic Growth

Jobs created by out-of-state businesses represent less than one-sixth of local total job creation. In contrast, “home grown” firms, those already existing or starting up within a state, produce more than 80 percent of total new jobs. These figures uncovered by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities researchers Michael Mazerov and Michael Leachman suggest a reconsideration of corporate subsidies and tax breaks to encourage business relocation. The authors recommend re-directing those investments towards workforce development and improving the living conditions of local communities. 


From Our Blog

Growing Healthcare’s Anchor Mission
Our Research Associate Katie Parker covers the Dialogue4Health webinar, which featured leaders in the field to discuss how hospitals can bring all of their resources in alignment with community health.

The Democracy Collaborative is hiring an Executive Assistant!
Apply for this full-time position based at our Cleveland, Ohio office. Applications are due March 21, 2016 to jobs@democracycollaborative.org. See our website for more details.


Upcoming Events

Neighborworks Symposium: Creating Opportunity through Collaboration, featuring Sarah McKinley of the Democracy Collaborative
March 16, 2016
Workers to Owners 1-day Seminar, featuring Executive Vice President & Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly of the Democracy Collaborative
Monday, April 11, 2016
Minneapolis, MN
See all events

Featured Websites

2016 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard
Published by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), the 2016 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard assesses current levels of economic opportunity in the United States. In addition to a summary report, the site features interactive tools that allow users to view results by various issue areas--from financial assets and income to healthcare and education. The website also includes a map which highlights state level policy changes that are affecting economic opportunity.  Learn more at http://assetsandopportunity.org/scorecard/

Build With Prospect Inc.
Founded in in 2013, Build with Prospect, Inc. is a minority-owned worker cooperative based in New York City specializing in sustainable design, construction, and retrofit. The website includes a portfolio of past projects as well as media stories about the co-op.  Learn more at http://www.buildwithprospect.com/worker_co-op.html
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