The latest news on community wealth building initiatives!

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our monthly e-newsletter. We hope this new, shorter format provides you with more current news and an improved reading experience. In this edition, we have several exciting updates and features:
  • This spring, Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz will release his latest book, What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About The Next American Revolution. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh calls the new book “a plain-spoken and easy-to-absorb analysis by one of our leading economists of what's gone wrong and how to make it better.” Starting in April, we hope you can join Gar as he discusses his system-transforming vision on his national speaking tour. Pre-order a copy now. 
  • Last week, February 25th, the third business in Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative network, Green City Growers, had its official grand opening. The new co-op will produce 3 million heads of lettuce and 300,000 pounds of herbs annually – while providing living wage jobs, no-cost health care benefits and wealth building through employee ownership.
  • At the end of January, I had the opportunity to keynote the UK annual conference of Cooperative Futures during an inspiring trip to England and Wales. Co-operative News featured an article and video about Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative multi-stakeholder design and the importance of anchor institution participation in developing the employee-owned businesses. 
  • Last month, Gar was also featured in a segment of The Real News on worker ownership and its role in democratizing wealth. More recently in Truthout, Gar pointed out how President Obama’s visit to Youngstown overlooked the fact that this older industrial city was the inspirational home of the modern US worker-ownership movement that began more than 30 years ago.
As always, we have added 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:

Hospitals As Anchor Institutions: Linking Community Health and Wealth

Credit Unions on the Rise

The State of the Housing Market

Cooperatives Year in Review

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Hospitals Strengthen Communities by Embracing an Anchor Mission

The Democracy Collaborative’s latest report, Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission, provides an in-depth look at six hospitals in five cities that are rethinking their economic and community engagement strategies.  These hospitals have recognized that health is more than just treating the patients that come through their doors and are beginning to adopt an “anchor institution mission” that can help build not only more prosperous, but also healthier communities.  Author David Zuckerman presents detailed case studies and other best practices from across the nation that are intended to expand the anchor institution conversation and encourage new strategic economic approaches not just by hospitals, but also local philanthropy, community-based organizations, and policy makers.  Read More»

Recommended Reads

Housing and Asset Policies Contribute to Racial Wealth Divide

To mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, United for a Fair Economy outlines how a national history of racially discriminatory policies and practices created the racial wealth divide that exists today. Worse, present policy perpetuates these patterns. This report offers recommendations for housing, ownership, and wealth creation policies that aim to reduce this divide by designing asset building policies that reach those most in need and not just home-buyers and encouraging alternative ownership models that build community, and not just individual, wealth.  Included are several case studies that highlight action at the local, state, and regional levels to address racial inequality. Read More»

Analysis Paints Picture of Financial Insecurity in America

Despite signs of a U.S. economic recovery, CFED’s 2013 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard shows that many Americans are still struggling just to get by. This year’s result finds that nearly half (43.9 percent) of households—or more than 132 million people—are “liquid asset poor.” As a result, they do not have enough assets to provide themselves with a basic personal safety net to protect against an unforeseen crisis, such as unemployment or a medical emergency, or plan for future needs, such as a child’s college education or homeownership. To address this problem, this report highlights measures states have taken to build financial security and increase opportunities in the areas of financial assets and income, businesses and jobs, housing and homeownership, health care, and education. Read More»

Layoffs are Less Likely for Employee Owners

In a recent paper for the National Center for Employee Ownership, Corey Rosen finds that people who work for employee-owned companies are much less likely to be laid off than those who do not. Analyzing data from the 2010 General Social Survey, Rosen shows that 12.1 percent of all working adults in the private sector reported being laid off in the previous year compared to just 2.6 percent of those respondents who said they own stock in their company through some kind of employee ownership plan. Rosen estimates that during that year the implied federal savings from the lower layoff rates of employee owners is $23.3 billion and that the implied savings for ESOPs and stock bonus plans alone is $13.7 billion. Read More»

EPA Presents Strategies for Healthy, Equitable Communities

A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities examines how communities across the country are integrating smart growth, environmental justice, and equitable development approaches to design and build healthy, sustainable, and inclusive neighborhoods. Author Megan McConville offers a range of examples from low-income, minority, tribal, and overburdened communities that illustrate ways community groups can shape development to better respond to their needs and their values. Read More»

Featured Websites

The American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange

An outgrowth of the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s “high-road” economic policy think-tank, the Center On Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), The American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange (ALICE) presents itself as an alternative to the corporate-backed ALEC and promotes economic fairness, environmental sustainability, and effective democratic government. Their website acts as a one-stop public library of model progressive state and local law on a wide range of issues that can be searched by policy area, topic, level of government, and year. Find Out More»

Farm To People

Farm To People is an online farm stand for buying food directly from small, sustainable farmers and craft producers around the United States  with the goal of strengthening the link between food, health, environment, and people. This website provides a diversity of avenues for small farmers to reach consumers and offers a directory based on specialty so that eaters can simplify their search for environmentally and socially sustainable food.  Find Out More»

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