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Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our January newsletter. As we kick off 2014, we want to congratulate the Cleveland Foundation—one of our philanthropic partners and the nation’s first community foundation—on its 100th anniversary and a century of transformative work for the people of Northeast Ohio. Additional developments include:
  • The Collaborative is delighted to welcome Marjorie Kelly to our staff as a Senior Fellow and Director of Advisory Services. Marjorie has authored several books and reports on ownership strategies and led projects on social enterprise development with both the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Since June, Marjorie has partnered with The Democracy Collaborative as Project Director for the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, working with six Native American organizations to implement community wealth building strategies. Join Marjorie on January 23 at 1 pm EST when she discusses her recent book, Owning Our Future, on a webinar sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
  • In December we organized the first strategy workshop of the Next System Project, an initiative co-chaired by Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and prominent environmentalist Gus Speth. The purpose of the project is to promote bold new thinking about responses to the systemic challenges facing the United States. Held at the Ash Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School, this initial gathering brought together a select group of academics and activists to help set the terms of reference for the project launch.
  • Last month the Federal Reserve featured the Anchor Dashboard in a nationally broadcasted event, which was also highlighted in a video and transcript on the Fed’s website (more info below). In this article in Governing magazine, I also describe how anchor institutions can use the Dashboard as a reference to transform neighborhoods and build wealth in low-income communities. In a recent piece in Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog, Research Director Steve Dubb, responding to an article in The Atlantic  by Richard Florida, calls for these institutions to target their resources to communities most in need. 
  • Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz appeared on Russia Today’s Breaking the Set with Abby Martin to discuss his new book, What Then Must We Do?. The interview includes an overview of steps individuals can take to build community wealth, as outlined in his recent article What Then Can I Do?: Ten Ways to Democratize the Economy
2013 was a pivotal year for The Democracy Collaborative. Our Year in Review blog post highlights many of these accomplishments. We look forward to carrying on our community wealth building work in 2014. 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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Featured Websites


On our Blog:

A Look Back at a Busy 2013

Hospitals and Economic Development


Featured from The Democracy Collaborative

Gar Alperovitz Reflects on Dr. King’s Economic Justice Challenge

As we honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory and his contributions to the civil rights movement, this article reflects on King’s equally courageous but lesser-known efforts to challenge the failings of our economic system and pursue economic justice. Alperovitz shares his personal experiences with Dr. King in this Sojourners article and encourages us to remember Dr. King’s words, “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” Read More»

Video Showcases Anchor Dashboard for Measuring Community Impact

In a four-city videoconference organized by the regional Federal Reserve Banks of Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia, Ted Howard explains how the Anchor Dashboard can empower older industrial cities to develop equitable and effective strategies for community revitalization. Based on an edited version of his presentation, this video provides a succinct introduction to the principles behind the Anchor Dashboard. By providing indicators for anchors, like hospitals and universities, to measure the impact of their programs, initiatives, and economic activity on low-income children, families, and communities, the Anchor Dashboard furthers an important dialogue on how to achieve better outcomes in struggling neighborhoods. Read More»

Recommended Reads

Report Explores Green Economies as Drivers of Community Wealth

In a recent report sponsored by the Metcalf Foundation, ecological economists Peter Victor and Tim Jackson outline conditions for a green economy at a community scale. Questioning the nature of prosperity itself, the authors explore necessary changes in the organization of business to promote economic stability, social justice, full employment, and lasting (environmental sustainable) prosperity. They describe community-based companies and finance alternatives, including the Evergreen Development Cooperative Fund, and how they contribute to local self-reliance, community resilience, and democratic engagement. Read More»


Worker Co-op Launched in Springfield, Massachusetts

This article in the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Magazine Communities & Banking, highlights the Wellspring Upholstery Cooperative, a new worker-owned business supported by over fifteen anchor institutions and community-based organizations in Springfield, Massachusetts. Established by the Wellspring Collaborative, a network of worker-owned companies modeled after the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland and Mondragón Cooperative Cooperation in Spain, the upholstery cooperative will leverage the purchasing power of anchor institutions to employ ex-offenders and the underemployed. Read More»

International Survey Counts 2.9 Million Worker Co-op Member-Owners

A new study by the International Organization of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives provides the first comprehensive understanding of the global worker cooperative landscape. Based on data from more than 25 countries, the study finds that worldwide, 111,000 cooperative enterprises employ over 2.9 million people in industries as wide ranging as manufacturing and social work to real estate and education. Read More»

Municipal Enterprises Create Jobs and Promote Sustainability

A recent report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reviews municipal enterprise models and energy policies from around the country that have helped cities reduce energy use, save money, and create local jobs. Profiling case studies in New York, Tennessee, and California, the report demonstrates that cities have a wide range of tools at their disposal to broaden the base of locally controlled wealth. Read More»

Featured Websites

The Maine Employee Ownership Network 

The Maine Employee Ownership Network aspires to connect people of common interests and complimentary skills that are also interested in creating democratically governed businesses to build community wealth, stimulate economic growth and foster civic engagement. The Network aims to provide a database to link professionals, financial institutions, development organizations, and business owners facing retirement. It maintains the goal of eventually creating employee-owned enterprises across industries, from elder care and transportation to manufacturing and film production. Find Out More»



Asset Building Policy Network

The Asset Building Policy Network is a coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations that seeks to advance federal asset building policy and bolster long-term financial security for low- and moderate-income communities of color. The Network is active in a wide range of activities, from petitioning Congress to remove financial barriers to citizenship and integrate immigrant households into the mainstream financial marketplace to offering technical assistance to small businesses.  Find Out More»

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