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

Welcome to our November newsletter. This month’s new developments, include:
  • Save the date for December 4 at 2:30pm EST when the Democracy Collaborative and Community Catalyst host a webinar on the opportunities that new Community Health Needs Assessment requirements create for hospitals to promote community revitalization. Democracy Collaborative research associate David Zuckerman will participate along with representatives from the national healthcare advocacy organization Community Catalyst, Indianapolis-based Community Health Network, and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.  
  • Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore will host Marga's annual Anchor Institutions Task Force conference on December 10. For the first time, there will be a plenary meeting featuring healthcare institutions, which will discuss their strategies for building community wealth. Other participants include experts from the White House Domestic Policy Council, The Chicago Community Trust, and other leading community-based organizations and anchor institutions. Register here for this free event.
  • In a Truthout op-ed, Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Researcher Thomas Hanna discuss the challenge of sustaining and building participatory decision-making structures and organizations, highlighting the recent bankruptcy filing of Fagor Electrodomésticos Group, the principle company of the Mondragon Corporation. Gar also answered questions about his book What Then Must We Do? as part of a Reddit AMA. He further discusses elements of rebuilding US local economies in his article, "How to Democratize the US Economy," which we have profiled in more detail below.
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:

Featured From The Democracy Collaborative

C-W Interview

Recommended Reads

Featured Websites

On our Blog:

Will Our Universities Rekindle Their Public Purpose?

Anchor Dashboard Focuses the Conversation on Meaningful Impact

The Rise of Community Wealth Building Institutions 

Featured from The Democracy Collaborative

Community Wealth Building Key to Democratizing the Economy

As real income levels have stagnated and traditional politics remains deadlocked, communities are looking for new avenues to educate and employ themselves, from social enterprises and cooperatives to community development corporations and credit unions. Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz reviews the impact of these community wealth building organizations in “How to Democratize the US Economy,” a new article published in the Nation. This article presents the challenges of supporting these organizations and structuring new local and national institutions that foster efficient, effective, stable, and equitable local economies. Read More»

C-W Interview: Reverend Barry Randolph

This month we interview Reverend Barry Randolph, pastor of the Detroit-based Church of the Messiah. Reverend Randolph discusses the church’s involvement in Detroit revitalization work as well as its entrepreneurial social enterprises, including: Basic Black, a t-shirt manufacturer; Lawn King, a landscaping business; Repeat Boutique, a second hand store; and Nikki’s Ginger Tea. These businesses have provided job training for single parents, convicted felons, and artists and have encouraged a spirit of self-reliance. Read More»

Recommended Reads

Book Explores Equitable Solutions to Global Environmental Challenges

Jody Heymann of UCLA and Magda Barrera of McGill University bring experts together from the fields of public health, climate risk, urban and regional planning, sustainable agriculture, and water governance in a new book that examines economically viable solutions to the environmental challenges that disproportionately impact the world’s poorest populations. Democracy Collaborative Executive Director Ted Howard contributes a chapter on the connection between environmental sustainability, community stability, and equitable development in struggling neighborhoods. Other chapters focus on clean energy and food production enterprises to build wealth and increase social equity. Read More»

New Series Investigates Community Wealth Building Initiatives Across the Nation

YES! Magazine, in collaboration with GRITtv, has launched its Commonomics series, with its first article investigating the components of a strong local economy. Speaking to community wealth leaders in Oakland; New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, journalist Laura Flanders begins outlining attributes and measures of strong local economies. Among these are the ability for workers to collectively organize and the capacity to imagine, and plan for, the future. An evolving series, YES! Magazine and GRITtv will continue to profile leading community wealth building practices from around the country. Read More»

Growing Opportunities to Invest Directly in Communities Builds Local Economies


A joint report by the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the Initiative for Responsible Investment, and the Milken Institute identifies new opportunities for community-based investment. As interest in buying local and building self-sustaining economies has grown, the range of investors involved in community development has broadened and diversified. This report offers sector specific strategies in health care, food, and transit oriented development. Read More»


Collaboration Between Anchor Institutions and Food Hubs Supports Local Food Economies


In their 2013 National Food Hub Survey, The Wallace Center at Winrock International and the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University surveyed more than 200 businesses and organizations managing the aggregation, distribution and marketing of source-identified food products, known as food hubs. Researching food hubs’ potential to amplify distribution infrastructure for local food, the survey identified food hub operational characteristics, finances, values, and services, as well as challenges and opportunities for food hub expansion. This report recommends that nonprofits and anchor institutions, like universities and local governments, collaborate with food hubs to enhance local food system resilience. Read More»

Featured Websites

The Center for Environmental Transformation

Based in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden, NJ, in close proximity to a sewage treatment plant and incinerator, the world's largest licorice processing facility, a cement manufacturing facility, scrap metal recycling facilities, two Superfund sites, and 28 contaminated sites, the Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) offers much needed environmental education, sustainable employment opportunities, youth leadership training, and a weekly farmers market. It also partners with other community organizations to run stormwater management and waste recycling service projects, as well as youth-directed urban gardens that have produced over 2000 pounds of fruit and vegetables. Find Out More»


Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative

The Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI) is a partnership between the Mondragón Cooperatives in the Basque Region of Spain and the United Steelworkers aimed at developing family-supporting jobs and a network of worker cooperatives. CUCI offers technical assistance, funds feasibility studies, and attracts other cooperatives to come to Cincinnati. Its first start-up, the Harvest Food Hub Cooperative, is an incubator farm and packaging, processing, and distribution facility. Find Out More»

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