Dear Colleague,
Welcome to our August 2016 newsletter. This month I am pleased to announce the release of Conversations on Community Wealth Building, a new book that features over 30 interviews conducted by Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb with leaders in the field of community wealth building.
For the past three years, The Democracy Collaborative has worked with six universities as part of our ongoing Anchor Dashboard Learning Cohort project. Earlier this summer, the Cohort met at Buffalo State University where we continued to develop best practices for measuring the impact of anchor institution strategies on communities. Read more about the gathering here.
With Cleveland in the spotlight for the Republican National Convention, the Evergreen Cooperatives received significant press coverage, including a video about Green City Growers in The Huffington Post, a profile in U.S. News, an article in The Nation, and a segment on PBS NewsHour. Read more about the impact of Evergreen on our blog.
Community wealth building continues to develop beyond the United States. Director of Communications John Duda authored an article in Yes! Magazine about lessons learned from the flourishing cooperatives in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy. In the latest issue of Renewal, Councillor Matthew Brown from Preston in the United Kingdom discussed how community wealth building is taking root in that city. And Research Director Thomas Hanna and Senior Fellow and Executive Director of the Next System Project Joe Guinan wrote an article about community wealth building in the United States for the blog of Democratising the Economy, a new UK-based project (that Thomas and Joe are on the advisory board of) led by the University of Glasgow, Nottingham Trent University, Oxfam, and the New Economics Foundation.
I am also pleased to announce the release of The Opportunity Makers, written by our colleague Charles Rutheiser, senior associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Center for Community and Economic Opportunity. The book chronicles how the mentorship organization Sponsors for Educational Opportunity has worked to close the opportunity gap for students of color. Also, our friends at the Build Healthy Places Network (for whom I sit on their National Advisory Council) recently published an article about the tensions between community economic development and gentrification, suggesting housing cooperatives and the implementation of “health impact assessments” as tools to fight displacement.
Lastly, I would like to welcome both Erin Kesler, who joined The Democracy Collaborative Team as a Senior Communications Associate in July, and Kaylee Thornley, our new Special Assistant to the Co-Founder.
Ted Howard
President & Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative

New from The Democracy Collaborative

New Book: Conversations on Community Wealth Building

We are excited to release Conversations on Community Wealth Building, a compilation of interviews conducted by Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb. Drawing on a decade's worth of conversations, this book brings together the voices of community-based activists, cooperative developers, social enterprise innovators, and many others working to create a more democratic and equitable economy. Covering both breakthroughs and challenges, the book provides a unique look at the people, practices, and policies behind the growing field of community wealth building.
Our new book: Available on Amazon and local bookstores

New C-W Interview: Elandria Williams

This month we interview Elandria Williams, an Education Team member at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee. Elandria focuses on building a movement for a more democratic and equitable economy in the South and Appalachia, and participates in the Southern Grassroots Economies Project, the US Solidarity Economy Network, and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund. Elandria is also on the board of the Democracy at Work Institute and is an editor at Beautiful Solutions. She discusses her background as an organizer, her current work with Appalachian youth, and her vision for systemic transformation in this C-W Interview. 
Read the interview

Recommended Videos

Green City Growers Gives Staff Room to Grow
Watch Huffington Post’s video about Cleveland-based worker co-op Green City Growers.


Toward Democratic Eco-Socialism
We illustrate the vision of Hans Baer, as detailed in his paper in The Next System Project’s "New Systems: Possibilities and Proposals" series.


Recommended Reads

Racial Wealth Disparities Continue Despite Business Ownership Opportunities

While business ownership is seen as a vehicle for wealth building, research from the Asset Funders Network finds that Latino and African American business owners are frequently excluded from this opportunity. With lower levels of family wealth to invest, lower levels of experience in family-owned businesses, and limited access to markets, the wealth gap continues. To reduce disparities, the Asset Funders Network calls on philanthropic funders to direct investment toward cooperatively owned businesses and CDFIs, and to support policy efforts that direct public resources and contracting opportunities to CDFIs and business owned by people of color.


Communities Demand Utilities Justice

This new paper from Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a New York-based grassroots organization and member of the Right to the City Alliance, calls for “utilities justice”—the right to have affordable, accessible, healthy, and community-controlled energy. It examines the ways in which communities and families in Poughkeepsie, New York are burdened by energy insecurity and notes racial and income disparities. Recommendations put forth address affordability and access to renewables and weatherization resources, as well as local and common ownership of energy sources. The authors also list strategic advantages for utilities justice community organizing.  


Financial Coaching Helps Communities Build Wealth

With nearly ten million households in the U.S. lacking a bank account, many families face challenges building wealth. However, with financial counseling and coaching, families can work towards financial security. This new collection of essays from Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE Fund) and Citi Community Development highlights this potential and brings together the perspectives of leading experts in the field. The essays share strategies for building cultural competency, accessing public funding opportunities, and scaling and professionalizing efforts.


Shared Equity Homeownership Proves a Viable Housing Model

This new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) acknowledges the importance and potential of community land trusts (CLTs) to build wealth, stabilize communities, and preserve affordable housing. It outlines the characteristics of shared equity models and provides site acquisition strategies for CLTs. The author makes policy recommendations to restore funding for affordable housing and community development programs, broaden CLT’s access to the secondary market and FHA-backed mortgages, and increase lenders’ comfort with the model.


Upcoming Events

National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations Summit
August 29-31, 2016
Cleveland, OH

Intersections 2016: National Community Land Trust Network National Conference
September 26-29, 2016
Park City, UT

See all events

Featured Websites

Launched in 2013, Regenerative Finance directs non-extractive investment capital to communities most affected by racial, economic, and environmental injustice. Specifically focused on leveraging the capital of young people with wealth and class privilege, Regenerative Finance has invested in projects such as the Renaissance Community Cooperative in Greensboro, North Carolina. Its website includes impact investing resources and a blog on how to use resources to build a more just economy. Learn more at

The Solutions Project campaigns to create a clean, renewable energy system for all. The website includes energy plans tailored to the potential energy sources of each state and many countries. It also shares stories of success and operates a “100% Leader Fund” to award local leaders who are advancing the mission. Learn more at

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