Dear Colleague,
This past month, I had the opportunity to attend The World Transformed (TWT), an international gathering of scholars, policymakers, and activists in Liverpool, England that “is about imagining the world we want to live in and planning how we get there.” The convening, hosted alongside the Labour Party’s annual conference, featured multiple panels from The Democracy Collaborative, highlighting groundbreaking work happening across the US and UK and the real, growing movement to bring about a more democratic economy.
To document these developments, The Democracy Collaborative partnered with openDemocracy and Commonwealth Publishing to produce a free e-Book, New Thinking for the British Economy, which was also released as a series of pamphlets at the conference (hard copies are available for order here). Research Director Thomas Hanna co-authored a chapter with University of Glasgow professor Andrew Cumbers on “democratic ownership,” a concept that is being translated into powerful policy proposals on both sides of the Atlantic. Thomas and Andrew are also the lead authors of a new consultation paper released by the Labour Party on democratic public ownership. Thomas and Executive Director of the Next System Project Joe Guinan also authored a chapter in the new book, Economics For The Many, edited by Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell. Read further commentary on this powerful agenda around alternative ownership models and advancing re-municipalization in New Socialist, Bloomberg and The Guardian.
We are also seeing advances at the community level. In a recent essay, journalist Hazel Sheffield highlights how the Community Wealth Building (CWB) framework can guide philanthropic investment, profiling examples where communities are cultivating place-based assets rather than relying on attracting large, outside businesses. By focusing on ownership and control of how economic development unfolds, communities are better able to withstand economic shocks and begin to reverse longstanding inequality. Read the full essay here.
It is developments like these that emphasize the importance of the work underway at The Democracy Collaborative. As communities across the globe push back against disinvestment and austerity, it is clear that democratic ownership offers a powerful way forward. This is the thinking that underlies our Elements of the Democratic Economy series and our Anchor Collaborative Webinar series, featured in detail below. As stated by my Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz, democratic ownership is “an idea whose time has come,” and at The Democracy
Collaborative we are committed to being ready to turn those ideas into action.
Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative



TDC & CWB in the News

  • Director of Communications John Duda was interviewed by Co-Op News about the role cooperatives can play in advancing greater democracy. Next City published an article highlighting the growth of worker cooperatives in Philadelphia.
  • The Fifty by Fifty blog published an interview with Andrew Delmonte, a business advisor and the social enterprise coordinator for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Buffalo State College, about the role of SBDC’s in advancing employee ownership. 
  • Senior Associates Bich Ha Pham and Jarrid Green authored a post for the Build Healthy Places Network about the role of anchor institutions in supporting community control of land and housing, highlighting Bon Secours’ investment in the creation of the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Writing for the Next System Project website, Deputy Director Dana Brown provides commentary on the potential of public ownership of pharmaceutical companies to ensure that Nobel Prize-winning cancer therapies are affordable.
  • Research Director Thomas Hanna was interviewed on the Old Mole Variety Hour (KBOO) about public ownership and the next financial crisis.

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Elements of the Democratic Economy

This new series from the Next System Project will feature the different institutions and strategies that can act as the building blocks for a more democratic economy. Elements highlighted—such as Clt (community land trusts) and Gb (green banks)— include sections on potential impact, transformative characteristics, examples and case studies, and challenges to scaling each approach. More elements will be added over the coming months, and we invite you to download and share the accompanying two-pagers. Read more here.

Anchor Collaborative Webinar Series

The Anchor Collaborative Network launched a webinar series on best practices for advancing Community Wealth Building (CWB) and fostering anchor institution collaboration. The webinars will feature leading practitioners from anchor collaboratives across the US, and provide deep dives into specific geographies and projects. The next webinar is on November 6th and will feature the work underway in Preston, England. Registration is available here. Past webinars focused on Government Perspectives and Roles on Anchor Collaboratives and Short Term Wins for Anchor Collaboratives. For more information and a link to webinar slides, read more here.

Featured Audio & Video

The Antidote to the Amazon Economy
On this episode of the Next System Podcast, Stacy Mitchell, Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) discusses the importance of community-scaled economics and opportunities to challenge corporate consolidation.

Evergreen Cooperative Laundry & The Cleveland Clinic
This video highlights the partnership between Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and the Cleveland Clinic to operate the Clinic's Collinwood Yard facility, expanding access to wealth building and ownership opportunities for local residents. 


Recommended Reads

Credit Union and Anchor Partnerships to Build Community Wealth
This new case study profiles how the Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), based in Durham, North Carolina, partners with anchor institutions to invest locally and build community wealth. Local anchors like Duke University, the Museum of Life and Science, and the cooperatively owned Weaver Street Market have made deposits with LCCU, which in turn expands access to affordable financial products and loans. Read more here.


Regional Plan Association Recommends Anchor Collaboration
The Regional Plan Association, which operates in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut metropolitan region, recently published new recommendations for developing the Anchor Opportunity Network, with an aim to leverage anchor institution assets to drive equitable economic growth. The Network will work to foster relationships between anchors, municipal leaders, and local neighborhoods to better coordinate and accelerate practices such as inclusive, local purchasing. Read more here. 

Featured Website

Opportunity Atlas

A collaboration between researchers at the Census Bureau and Opportunity Insights, a research and policy group based at Harvard University, the Opportunity Atlas visualizes social mobility across the United States. The data is mapped by where children grew up, regardless of where they moved as an adult, providing a visualization of how economic opportunity varies across neighborhoods. Users are able to generate maps and download neighborhood level data. Find out more here.

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