A Statement from The Democracy Collaborative:

For all of us at The Democracy Collaborative, this past week since the election has been a period of deep reflection as we take stock of the realities our country and our communities will likely face in 2017 and beyond. From the community and economic development perspective, many fear that the levels of pain, disinvestment, and marginalization will grow in many places and among large segments of our nation’s population.
In the face of these challenges, The Democracy Collaborative is committed to continue to develop, implement, and project a powerful alternative that builds wealth and strengthens democratic life in communities across the country – with no one left out. 
We remain committed to continuing our work to create a more equitable, more sustainable, and more broadly owned economy for all Americans. We maintain our belief that tools, innovations, and strategies exist to build democracy and strong, local economies wherever people are most in need – be it in the agricultural fields of California's San Joaquin Valley, the inner city of Newark, New Jersey, the rural towns of Appalachia, or the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
We are steadfast in our responsibility to envision and bring forth the kind of systemic change our nation now, more than ever, so urgently needs. The work ahead is to advance the idea and reality of democratic ownership and democratic civic life not as an empty abstraction, but concretely on the ground in communities and more broadly in the national consciousness.

Together, let us resolve to make a new place for community in America. 
Dear Colleague,
Now is the time to double our commitment to inclusion, and it is exciting to see this shift is already taking place. Last month, I had the opportunity to keynote Chicago Anchors for A Strong Economy’s inaugural conference, Driving Collective Impact through Anchor Collaboratives. It was incredibly powerful to be in a room full of people working to advance inclusive, economic development in cities across the U.S. and to dive deep into conversations about how to focus anchor work on addressing racial and wealth inequity and how to sustain impact. See a graphic summary of my talk below and read the conference summary here.
“Health care has a moral obligation and a responsibility to act and lead,” writes Jamie Harvie, executive director of the Institute for a Sustainable Future (ISF) and founder of the Commons Health Network, in the latest article from the Next System Project. Harvie outlines a vision for a health system grounded in community control and a more holistic understanding of personal and ecological health. As the legislative and regulatory environment around healthcare will likely shift in the changing political environment, it is more important than ever to develop innovative ways to address our nation’s health disparities. Later this week, we will be releasing the second installment of our Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities toolkit series. Produced with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this second toolkit will provide resources to hospitals and health systems so that they can leverage their procurement to drive community health and well-being. Watch an animated video about the toolkit and strategies for inclusive, local sourcing below.
The Next System Project has also released the fourth volume of papers in the “New Systems: Possibilities and Proposals” series edited by Co-Chair Gus Speth. Read the latest four papers on participatory economics, the wellbeing economy, a green economy at the community scale, and eco-socialist democracy here.
The Democracy Collaborative’s work continues to receive substantial attention and interest. The Fall 2016 issue of Shelterforce includes an article on the growth of community wealth building strategies at the city level and quotes Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley.  Last month, our recent report Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy was featured in a Forbes article about financing “ownership for the 99%.” Marjorie Kelly, co-author of the report and Democracy Collaborative's executive vice president, was recently named a Kelso Fellow for her extensive work on employee ownership and current work co-founding the Democracy Collaborative’s 50 by 50 project – aimed at creating a network to catalyze 50 million employee owners by 2050. The fellowship brings together employee ownership scholars and is organized by Joseph Blasi of Rutgers University, one of the leading employee ownership experts in the nation.
It is very exciting to see this work take root in more and more cities. This month in Jackson, Mississippi, subject of a 2015 Democracy Collaborative report on opportunities to build a cooperative economy, Cooperation Jackson launched a new Center for Community Production, which will house a fabrication cooperative, training facilities, and an innovation hub. Read more on their website.
Lastly, I would like to welcome three new Democracy Collaborative staff members: Terri White has joined our Cleveland office as an executive assistant to myself and Executive Vice President Marjorie Kelly, and Adam Simpson and Dylan Petrohilos have joined our Washington, D.C. office as a program associate with the Next System Project and a communications associate respectively.
Ted Howard
President & Co-Founder, The Democracy Collaborative

New from The Democracy Collaborative

A graphic report from Democracy Collaborative President Ted Howard’s keynote presentation at Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy’s inaugural conference in October. Ted’s keynote, titled “Going ‘All In’ For Mission” discussed the role that anchor institutions can play in promoting inclusive, local economic development. See the reports from the other panels online.
Explore the reports
Inclusive, Local Sourcing: Hospitals Aligned for Healthy Communities

Video: Inclusive, Local Sourcing

This new animated video explores how healthcare institutions can creatively leverage their supply chains to address the upstream economic and environmental conditions that have the greatest impact on health. The animation is part of the forthcoming toolkit on inclusive, local sourcing, produced with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Authored by Manager of Healthcare Engagement David Zuckerman and Research Associate Katie Parker, the toolkit will include case studies from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, West Virginia; and Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy in Chicago, Illinois.
Watch the video

Featured Videos

Webinar: Financing the Inclusive Economy

Marjorie Kelly and Steve Dubb joined Camille Kerr of The ICA Group, Marnie Thompson of the Fund for Democratic Communities, Melinda Pollack of Enterprise Community Partners, Olivia Rebanal of Capital Impact Partners, and Tina Corea of Citi Community Development for a webinar about our new Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy guidebook.


Announcing the Judges for the Next System Project Essay Contest

The Next System Project is pleased to announce the judges for their essay competition on the next system: Naomi Klein, Raj Patel, and Dayna Cunningham. Enter to win one of three $5,000 first prizes for the best original essays by an undergraduate, a graduate, and a non-student. Submit your essay by December 31, 2016.


From Our Blog

Real Pickles DPO: How Workers Raised Half a Million Dollars to Buy a Business
A case study from our Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy report


Wiping the Slate Clean: Quantitative Easing, “Cancelling” Student Debt, and the Latent Power of the Fed
by Cecilia Gingerich


Recommended Reads

Moving Impact Investing from “Transaction to Transformation”

This new paper from KP Advisors puts forth a vision of “impact investing for social equity.” Noting that conventional impact investment strategies still tend to prioritize the needs of investors over the needs of communities, the paper draws on interviews with leaders in the field who are using investments to address the root causes of social and economic inequality. The authors call on investors to shift their expectations with regards to levels of risk, return, and time frame, and to better involve local communities in the decision-making process.


Equitable Development: The Path to an All-In Pittsburgh

Despite a recent development boom, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has experienced growing racial gaps in poverty, wages and employment over the past five years. This new joint report from PolicyLink, NeighborhoodAllies and Urban Innovation 21 sets forth an agenda for equitable development that prioritizes low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and others who have so far been excluded from Pittsburgh’s economic growth. Recommendations include expanding the use of community land trusts, leveraging anchor institution spending, and implementing diverse and local hiring and purchasing requirements for public projects.



Featured Websites

A project of Grounded Solutions Network, Inclusionaryhousing.org provides resources to ensure that new residential developments include affordable units for low-income and working families. The website includes tools and worksheets for designing an inclusive housing policy, case studies from successful initiatives, and a calculator to determine whether inclusionary housing could be created in local communities. Learn more at http://inclusionaryhousing.org/.

Created by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Community Power Map visualizes where local renewable energy projects are taking root across the U.S. The map includes community solar and wind projects, community groups working on renewable energy projects, and state community power scores, calculated by the presence of policies and programs supporting renewable energy production. Learn more at https://ilsr.org/community-power-map/.
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