Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our June 2016 newsletter. I am pleased to announce the release of our latest report, “Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative: An Anchor-Based Strategy for Change,” co-authored by Walter Wright, Kathryn Hexter, and Nick Downer. This report is the first in our new Community Wealth Innovator Series, in which leading practitioners will document community wealth building best practices and lessons learned. Read more about the report and the series below.

Recently, Communications Director John Duda and I wrote about the growing wave of state legislatures attempting to thwart local hiring provisions in Common Dreams. Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley joined the Marc Steiner Show for an installment in its month-long series Baltimore Uprising: One Year Later, where she discussed opportunities for community wealth building in the city. And our Co-Founder, and Co-Chair of the Next System Project, Gar Alperovitz contributed to the national discussion surrounding President Obama’s trip to Hiroshima through an interview with Harper’s Magazine, an article in The Huffington Post, and an appearance on Southern California Public Radio’s AirTalk.

Our Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building, developed with the support of the Northwest Area Foundation, gathered for the second of its year three convenings on May 24-25 at Little Earth of United Tribes, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Learning/Action Lab brings together five Native American organizations from Minnesota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Washington to develop capacities and strategies for their communities that foster ownership of enterprise, increase access to local assets, and create and anchor jobs locally.

On June 1st, our Washington, DC area team moved into our new home located at 1200 18th Street NW, Suite 1225, Washington, D.C. I am also excited to welcome the latest additions to our growing staff, Community Development Associate Nicole Brown and Research Assistant Will Flagle.  

Ted Howard
President & Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative

New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Community Wealth Innovator Series

This new report, co-authored by Walter Wright, Program Manager for Economic Inclusion at Cleveland State, Kathryn Hexter, Director of the Center for Community Planning and Development at Cleveland State, and Nick Downer, a graduate assistant at the Center for Community Planning and Development, discusses lessons learned from the Greater University City Initiative (GUCI), a multi-anchor economic revitalization effort in Cleveland, Ohio. The report draws out elements of the “secret sauce” that has enabled GUCI to bring together local anchors to reverse legacies of disinvestment in their surrounding neighborhoods. The report is the first in The Democracy Collaborative's new Community Wealth Innovators Series, in which leading practitioners will share best practices, innovative models, and critical lessons learned from their on-the-ground experience building more inclusive and equitable economies.
Read the newest report in our series

New C-W City: Madison, WI

The fortieth city in our Community Wealth Cities series is Madison, Wisconsin. The second largest city in the state, and the state capital, Madison is home to a number of historical community wealth builders. One of the oldest worker-owned cooperatives, Union Cab, was established in the city in 1979 and now boasts gross annual revenues over $7 million and 230 members. In 2014, the city allocated $1 million a year for five years to support the growth of worker-owned businesses. This is the largest allocation toward cooperative development by a U.S. municipality to date.
See the C-W City

Recommended Videos

Toward a Caring Economy

Watch footage from the Next System Project’s June 7 webinar, Toward a Caring Economy. Moderated by Laura Flanders, host of the Laura Flanders Show, the webinar features Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Gar Alperovitz, Riane Eisler of the Caring Economy Campaign, and Neva Goodwin of Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute.

We the People 2.0 – The Second American Revolution

Watch this trailer for Tree Media’s upcoming film depicting the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and how it has organized to prioritize local control and environmental stewardship.


Recommended Reads

Economic Development Tied to Community Health

This new guide, published by the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), outlines how “localism strategies” can help health systems address the social determinants of health. The guide identifies five social determinants of health—economic stability, social and community context, education, neighborhood and built environment, and health and well-being—and provides targeted strategies for how health systems can leverage their procurement, hiring, and investment to impact each particular social determinant. The guide features examples from Kaiser Permanente, Henry Ford Health System (based in Detroit, Michigan), and the Alaskan Nuka System of Care.

Inventory of the Minneapolis Cooperative Ecosystem

Published by the City of Minneapolis’ Office of Community Planning and Economic Development, this report inventories and assesses worker, consumer, and producer cooperatives in Minneapolis. The authors find access to start-up capital and real estate, as well as a dearth of knowledge on cooperative governance structures and city regulations, as some of the most common challenges facing the development of cooperatives in the city. To minimize these barriers, the authors recommend creating a cooperative technical assistance network and investing in cooperative education for city employees.


Gaps in Minority Business Ownership Cost the U.S. Billions

“America is currently forgoing an estimated 1.1 million businesses owned by people of color because of past and present discrimination,” writes Algernon Austin, author of this new report from the Center for Global Policy Solutions. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Austin finds that the country would produce an estimated 9 million more jobs and have $300 billion more in national income if entrepreneurship amongst people of color were proportional to their distribution in the labor force. To address this, Austin recommends creating tax credits to incentivize investments in minority-owned businesses, expanding the number of Minority Business Development Agencies, and utilizing alternative credit data for those with limited credit histories.

Communities Measure the Economic Impact of Local Food Systems

Compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, this new toolkit provides resources for communities to capture the impact of local food system investments. The toolkit describes how to develop the necessary infrastructure to collect data, and details various economic analysis methodologies. Topics covered include assembling a research team, defining the parameters of a local food system, identifying economic indicators to measure, developing processes for accessing datasets, and communicating findings.


Upcoming Events

The Next System Project's
Energy Democracy Webinar

Wednesday, June 29
12-1:30pm ET
CommonBound 2016
July 8-10, 2016
Buffalo, NY
See all events

Featured Websites

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)
Founded in 1995, CELDF provides legal resources to communities fighting against corporate control and the misuse of natural resources. It has helped almost 200 communities to adopt Community Bills of Rights laws, which strengthen local authority and democratic control over environmental resources. CELDF offers free or low-cost legal services, as well as organizing support, to grassroots organizations and municipal governments that are working to advance community, environmental, and worker rights. Learn more at
Madison Area Community Land Trust
Founded in 1991, the Madison Area Community Land Trust (MACLT) seeks to ensure permanently affordable housing for lower-income, first-time homebuyers in the Madison, Wisconsin area. MACLT has developed homes in three neighborhoods, including Troy Gardens, a 31-acre project that includes community gardens, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, a restored prairie, and thirty houses. Learn more at
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