Dear Colleague,

Climate change is an unprecedented global social, political, and economic crisis and will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent political and economic challenges of the 2020s. As we explore potential solutions, we can look at our history for tools to catalyze action at the scale and magnitude we need. Our latest report, authored by Director of Research Thomas M. Hanna, explores the surprisingly rich history of nationalization in the US, demonstrating that there is historical precedent for leveraging the economic power of government to address large-scale social and economic crises. Read more below and in Jacobin.

We also know that critical element in the effort to transform our current economic system is accounting for the historic theft of life, labor, land, and wealth from Black and Indigenous people – the effects of which resonate to this day in how tens of millions of people experience the American economy. More and more we are clear that any work to build the democratic economy must also include serious approaches to reparative justice. To advance our work in this area, earlier this fall The Democracy Collaborative (TDC) hosted the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) for a conversation on reparations and the democratic economy. This consultative session included TDC staff, community organizers, and philanthropic leaders who are advancing the work of racial equity and reparative justice. We look forward to continued opportunities to learn, organize, and take action on this mission-critical issue with our friends from NAARC and the larger field of practitioners. Read more about the conversation in Medium from Ronnie Galvin, Vice President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy.

Another exciting development is a recent announcement from 14 health systems that are part of the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) around a commitment of over $700 million for place-based investing to address the economic, racial, and environmental resource disparities that impact community health outcomes. These health systems, representing some of the largest employers in their respective states, will leverage their investment capital to support efforts ranging from inclusive economic development to affordable housing. Read more in this press release, as well as in dozens of national and local publications.
This fall, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly and I have been travelling nationally and internationally to discuss our new book The Making of a Democratic Economy. We have been thrilled to see old friends and meet so many new ones at these events, and we are profoundly grateful for all the support and kind words. You can watch our plenary session from SOCAP and my remarks from a conversation hosted by the London (Ontario) Poverty Research Centre at King's. Marjorie was recently profiled by Fast Company as part of their The New Capitalism series. In the piece, she discusses the underlying principles of the book, stating: “What I believe is that we need a democratic economy. That means you bring the values of the public good and broad-based prosperity into the core design of economic institutions and practices." Read the full profile here.
For readers based in the UK, I will be travelling there at the end of this month to speak on a series of panels focused on community wealth building on both sides of the Atlantic. Read more about the series and view the locations here. In early December, several members of our team will be in Amsterdam for The Future is Public, an international conference on democratic ownership hosted by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and 99Vanamsterdam and co-organized by TDC and numerous other international partners. Register here.
Lastly, I am pleased to share that The Democracy Collaborative and the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU) have reached an agreement on our organization’s first staff contract. Read the full press release here

Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative


Jobs at TDC

TDC & CWB in the News

  • Teen Vogue recently published a piece on the role publicly owned utilities can play in addressing the climate crisis, including a quote from Johanna Bozuwa, Co-Manager of The Democracy Collaborative’s Climate & Energy program.
  • Director of Healthcare Engagement David Zuckerman was quoted in an article in Next City about leveraging city and anchor procurement to support minority- and women-owned business enterprises, discussing the Healthcare Anchor Network’s efforts in this area.
  • Nonprofit Quarterly published an article about universities and the anchor mission, highlighting the work of the Anchor Learning Network, a joint initiative of The Democracy Collaborative and the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. The article discusses the growing conversation around centering equity and inclusion in anchor work.
  • Preston, England was included in the New Economics Foundation’s Change the Rules mapping series, with an entry on the city’s efforts around community wealth building. Read more about the Preston Model here, and about the series below.
  • The Fifty by Fifty blog recently profiled Project Equity’s work promoting business retention through employee ownership, detailing partnerships with city governments in Berkeley and Long Beach, California.
  • Vice President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy Ronnie Galvin contributed a piece to Truthout about the recent announcement that Papa John’s Pizza franchise would place a location on every historically Black college and university (HBCU) campus. To actually confront racism, Ronnie outlines the need for economic approaches that center building wealth in the community instead of extracting it. 

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Nationalization: Quintessentially American

In this new report, A History of Nationalization in the United States, 1917-2019, Thomas M. Hanna explores the history of the federal government nationalizing – the process of shifting ownership and or control from private to public hands – certain businesses, assets, or industries to advance the public interest. Rather than being an anomaly, the US actually has a rich history of taking control of private enterprise, particularly in times of economic or social crisis. As we face a growing global climate crisis, this history of nationalization can potentially inform a strategy to take over and decommission the large fossil fuel extraction corporations that are blocking action on climate change. The report is accompanied by is an interactive timeline, a chart visualizing the frequency of nationalization, and a brief video.

Learn More

Supporting Good Jobs for All

The Democracy Collaborative has signed on to the Jobs for All Manifesto, joining many other organizations working for racial and economic justice in calling on our political leaders to enact a federal job guarantee and ensure that everyone who wants to work can have a living-wage job. Our partners at PolicyLink are working to enlist additional organizations and individuals to sign on to the manifesto, so please consider adding your name to this important initiative by November 27th. 

Learn More

Featured Video & Audio

The Next System Podcast: The Homes Guarantee

This episode of The Next System Podcast focuses on transformative solutions that center housing as a human right, featuring the organizations Pathways to Housing DC, Stomp Out Slumlords, KC Tenants, and People’s Action.

All Things Co-op: Emilia-Romagna

Director of Communication John Duda joins the All Things Co-op podcast to discuss cooperative economies, focusing on the Emilia Romagna region in northern Italy

Recommended Reads

Federal Reserve Paper on Community Wealth & Resiliency

Thomas Hanna and Johanna Bozuwa contributed an article to a collection of papers from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco outlining the financial risks of climate change and potential solutions. The article focuses on the intersection of community wealth building and climate resiliency, suggesting how alternative models of ownership such as public enterprise or worker-owned businesses can help ensure that resiliency strategies will benefit the residents who will be most impacted by climate change. Read more here.

The State of Community Wealth Building

“Over the last ten years, we have seen community wealth building emerge as part of a new economic movement,” opens this new report from our partners at the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), based in Manchester, England. The report provides an overview of the community wealth building movement across the UK, highlighting the principles driving the framework, examples of the strategies in practice, and emerging best practices. The report also outlines challenges to scaling this approach and recommends next steps to establish community wealth building as the new norm for economic development. Read more here.

Featured Website

Change the Rules

This new website from the New Economics Foundation maps projects across the UK that advance a more democratic and sustainable economy. The website includes a “New Economy Map” that provides a catalogue of initiatives as well as a compendium of policies and solutions needed to advance and scale these approaches. Learn more here.

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