Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our April 2016 newsletter. I am excited to share our latest report, Rochester’s Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation. Prepared on behalf of Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, New York, the report includes a feasibility analysis and implementation plan for the creation of employee-owned businesses in targeted low-income neighborhoods. The Democracy Collaborative will continue to work with the City of Rochester and other local partners to coordinate the next phase of the initiative and transition management to permanent local leadership. Read more below.

Noam Chomsky helped to inaugurate the Next System Project’s new teach-ins initiative in this exclusive interview where he speaks about his campus activism experiences and his vision of a just society. You can read our re-cap of the Madison, Wisconsin and New York City teach-ins and watch highlights from the New York City teach-in. The Next System Project also interviewed Riane Eisler, historian and president of the Center for Partnership Studies, about her vision for building an economy rooted in equity, democracy, and nonviolence. Eisler is featured, along with Next System Project Co-Chair Gus Speth, in the April 14 “Counting Care In” webinar.

Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb recently published an article about the opportunities for community wealth building in Detroit in the Journal of Law in Society. Steve’s writing is also featured in the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies’ (BALLE) newly developed Shared Ownership Toolkit.  In early March, Communications Director John Duda appeared on Baltimore’s WYPR Radio, where he discussed worker-owned cooperatives. In openDemocracy, Executive Director of the Next System Project Joe Guinan and Director of Research Thomas Hanna documented historical and contemporary experimentation with municipal enterprise in Britain in the United States in the context of the British Labour Party’s increasing focus on democratization and decentralization.

Ted Howard
President & Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative


New from the Democracy Collaborative

New C-W City: Dayton, Ohio

The thirty-ninth in our Community Wealth Cities series is Dayton, Ohio. Dayton faces major social and economic challenges, including a poverty rate twice the state average. However, many civic and community leaders are working hard to reverse this and promote economic and social inclusion. For instance, St. Mary Development Corporation has created over 3,500 units of affordable housing since its inception in 1989; PowerNet of Dayton, which operates a network of social enterprises that focus on re-integrating ex-offenders, has provided training and employment to over 1,000 people since 2009; and the faith-based coalition Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD), has begun to explore the development of worker-owned businesses linked to anchor institution purchasing.
Check out the C-W City

Establishing Rochester’s Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation

This new Democracy Collaborative report describes the feasibility of developing a network of for-profit, employee-owned businesses as a strategy for job creation and wealth-building in high-poverty areas of Rochester, New York. Confirming the presence and strength of several critical success factors, including anchor institution support, urban and cooperative business development expertise, as well as political and community concurrence, The Democracy Collaborative recommends the creation of a community-owned, cooperative business development corporation, which will then develop, promote, and support a diverse portfolio of employee-owned businesses in the City. The report outlines six primary operational functions of the corporation and includes a detailed implementation plan.
Read the full report

Recommended Reads

Community Schools Provide Model for Participatory and Transformative Education System

With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, communities have the opportunity to direct the change they wish to see in their education systems. This new report from the Coalition for Community Schools, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Southern Education Foundation profiles of 10 community schools across the country and outlines how this model can increase school attendance, decrease suspensions and expulsions, improve academic outcomes, and promote community health and well-being. The paper also outlines key strategies and mechanisms for implementation and includes resources to help codify community schools in policy.


Big Business Captures Majority of State Economic Development Spending

The third in Good Jobs First’s recent series exploring whether state economic development programs are fair to small, local businesses continues to find bias in favor of large companies. The report analyzes state economic development spending in Florida, Missouri, and New Mexico and finds that on average 68 percent of spending goes towards large companies, more than triple the amount received by small businesses—despite the fact that small businesses are the primary driver of job growth. The report recommends that states develop more transparent subsidy award reporting and track how economic development dollars benefit small businesses specifically. The authors also recommend that states develop safeguards to ensure that incentives going to large companies result in public benefits commensurate with the subsidy.


Assessing the Racial Wealth Gap in Los Angeles

This new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco seeks to better understand the factors that influence and create disparities in wealth accumulation, particularly intergenerational resource transfers, historical context, and local asset markets. Researchers draw on data from the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color (NASCC) survey, the first of its kind, to assess wealth disparities among different racial and ethnic groups in Los Angeles and inform multifaceted policy solutions tailored to distinct community needs.


Kitchen Incubators Continue to Grow

This most recent state-of-the-industry survey describes common characteristics of kitchen incubators, which stand at the nexus of the artisanal food movement, the sharing economy, and small business development. The authors find that the growth of the industry, which has increased by more than 50 percent over the past three years, is not a fad, but rather is representative of sustained and increasing interest in food as a tool for job creation and economic development. The report highlights common services offered by incubators to ensure business viability, such as such as small-business counseling, workforce development, and connecting businesses to affordable capital.



Upcoming Events

NCBA-CLUSA Annual Cooperatives Conference
May 2-4, 2016
Washington, DC
“Counting Care In” Webinar
Thursday, April 14, 2016
11am Pacific Time
See all events

Recommended Videos

Community Builders Webinar Series
Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley discusses findings from "Cities Building Community Wealth"


Next System Project Teach-In: New York City
Watch highlights and interviews from participants and presenters at the inaugural teach-in in New York City


Featured Websites

Cooperative Growth Ecosystem

A joint project from the Democracy at Work Institute and Project Equity, the Cooperative Growth Ecosystem provides a framework for understanding key factors leading to the sustainable growth of cooperative business and their ability to create quality jobs for low-wage workers. Drawing on a recent report for Citi Community Development’s Building the Inclusive Economy series, the project describes the cooperative ecosystems of Cincinnati, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; New York City; the San Francisco Bay area; and Western North Carolina and identifies how the private, public, nonprofit, and financial sectors can work together to catalyze worker co-op development.

Learn more:
Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD)

Founded in 1992, Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton (LEAD), a coalition of faith-based organizations, works to address systemic inequality in the Dayton, Ohio area. LEAD has helped to broaden
access to public transportation, reduce blight, and pass “ban the box” and living wage local ordinances. In 2014, LEAD launched the Dayton Works Initiative, a partnership with the City of Dayton to create cooperatively owned businesses that leverage anchor institution purchasing power.

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