Dear Colleague,

This is an exciting time at The Democracy Collaborative. First and foremost, I am pleased to welcome Ronnie Galvin as our new Vice President of Engaged Practice. Ronnie has 18 years of experience in community building, organizing, and advocacy, most recently serving as Executive Director of IMPACT Silver Spring and Senior Advisor to the Economic Justice Campaign at The Center for Community Change. I am confident that his leadership and vision will help us deepen our work to advance a more inclusive and democratic economy. Read more about Ronnie’s perspective and background in this interview. I am also pleased to welcome several more additions to The Democracy Collaborative team: Bich Ha Pham has joined as a senior communications associate; Isaiah Poole has joined as editorial manager for next system communications; Sonia Sarkar as a consultant for the healthcare engagement team; and Peter Gowan as a summer resident fellow.
At the end of June, we organized the inaugural convening of the Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative, co-hosted with our partners at the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. Held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, the convening brought together 32 universities and colleges from across North America, representing more than 120,000 employees, $6 billion in annual procurement spending, and $24 billion in endowment assets. Over the course of three days, participants discussed strategies for leveraging these assets—in combination with their academic and human resources—to support and sustain inclusive economic development in their local communities. Read more about the convening and the work of the initiative in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Next System Project released a new report, authored by Research Director Thomas Hanna, on preparing a policy for public ownership rather than bailouts the next time there is a financial crisis. The report argues that regulations put in place following the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 have been systematically undermined and weakened and that financial institutions are still “too-big-to-fail.” In contrast to the 
no-strings attached federal bank bailouts of a decade ago, it advocates a public policy requiring the transfer of ownership shares (with full voting rights) as a prerequisite to future government assistance. Read the full report here, and further commentary on the importance of public ownership from Resident Fellow Peter Gowan on the People’s Policy Project blog.
Lastly, I am excited to share a new documentary video from the Laura Flanders Show that provides an in-depth look at the community wealth movement underway in Preston and elsewhere in England.  An important source of inspiration for our friends across the pond has been the development of the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland and other efforts to democratize the US economy. Read more about the feature, co-produced by The Democracy Collaborative, below.

Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative


Community Wealth Building in the News

  • Senior Research Associate Jarrid Green recently presented at the Alliance for Housing Solution’s annual Leckey Forum in Alexandria, Virginia about strategies that advance community control of land and housing. View Jarrid’s presentation here and read coverage of the event in Alexandria’s Connection Newspaper.  
  • A recent article in Next City discusses how a growing number of community foundations are shifting their money from large investment companies to local community banks and intermediaries. The article is part of the Bottom Line, a new series on solutions for inclusive economic development.
  • The latest in a series on the intersections of environmental sustainability and employee ownership, the Fifty by Fifty blog features a post on Amicus Solar, a purchasing cooperative of solar installers and developers, and their work supporting member businesses in converting to worker co-ops or employee stock ownership plan companies (ESOPs). Read the post here and subscribe to further updates from Fifty by Fifty here.  
  • The Participatory Budgeting Project recently released new research showing that people who engage in participatory budgeting processes in their community are 7 percent more likely to vote in local elections. Read more about the study here.
  • Democracy Collaborative researchers Johanna Bozuwa and Carla Skandier published an article in Truthout in which they propose a bold plan to take over fossil fuel companies as a way to drive a just transition to renewable energy.

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Interview with Ronnie Galvin: Vice President of Engaged Practice

Director of Communications John Duda sat down with Ronnie Galvin, who joins our staff this month as Vice President of Engaged Practice, to discuss the perspective he brings to The Democracy Collaborative’s work. In the interview, Ronnie shares his vision for community wealth building, noting that “we cannot have the kind of democratized economy that we envision unless we also address issues related to racial equity.” Read the full interview here.

Building the Democratic Economy, from Preston to Cleveland

The Laura Flanders Show has released a Special Report, “Building the Democratic Economy, from Preston to Cleveland,” co-produced with The Democracy Collaborative. The documentary features the innovative work underway in Preston, which had been one of the most disinvested areas in the North of England. Inspired in part by the community wealth strategy being pioneered in Cleveland, Ohio, local leaders in Preston have advanced a new model of inclusive, democratic economic development that leverages public resources and investments. The segment explores how the “Preston Model” of community wealth building is now being taken up at the national level in the UK by Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Watch the full segment here.

Featured Videos

Reflecting with Nick Tilsen
Filmed on his last day as Executive Director at Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, this video highlights Nick Tilsen’s work building community wealth on the Pine Ridge reservation and captures important lessons learned.

Commonbound 2018 - Policy, Power, and the Radical Imagination
Watch Communications Director John Duda and Manager of Community Development Programs
Sarah McKinley discuss "Policy, Power, and the Radical Imagination” at Commonbound’s 2018 annual new economy convening.  

Recommended Reads

Strategies for Framing the New Economy

“A space has opened up to talk and think differently about the economy. The question is what this space will be filled by,” note the authors of this report from the New Economics Foundation, the New Economy Organisers Network, the Public Interest Research Centre, and the Frameworks Institute. Focusing in particular on Britain’s political context, the report highlights sample stories, framing techniques, and engagement strategies that can begin to shift public discourse around the need for a more democratic and just economy and open up the realm of political possibilities. Read the full report here.  


Advancing Economic Inclusion in Baltimore

This new report from the Baltimore Integration Partnership outlines the business case for economic inclusion, demonstrating how expanding economic opportunity for Baltimore residents—and in particular those who have been historically excluded from economic growth—can benefit local anchor institutions and businesses. The report highlights key lessons learned from existing efforts in Baltimore, noting how anchor institutions have been able to adjust their hiring and procurement practices to promote jobs for local residents of color and residents facing barriers to employment. Read the full report here.  

Featured Website

What is Community Wealth Building?

Housed on the Preston City Council’s website, What is Community Wealth Building? provides a clear and concise synopsis of the principles that drive community wealth building, and how this differs from traditional approaches to economic development. The webpage includes links to further publications, websites, and an animated video from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies. Read more here.


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