Dear Colleague,

For the past several years, The Democracy Collaborative has been building a transatlantic learning and action network between our organization and like-minded colleagues in Europe. This dialogue has particularly grown throughout the United Kingdom.
 
For me, what’s especially rewarding is seeing how this growing relationship is leading to the proliferation of new approaches to community wealth building. The latest issue of Renewal focuses on some of these shared learnings, featuring writing from Executive Director of the Next System Project Joe Guinan, Research Director Thomas Hanna, and an interview with myself about the growing interest in economic democracy. Read the full issue here.
 
The Trans-Atlantic dialogue is also expressing itself in a new project we recently launched with the Manchester-based Center for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Health Foundation investigating the role of National Health Service organizations as anchors in the UK, building on lessons learned from the growth of the Healthcare Anchor Network here in the United States. Read more about the project here. Anchor institution strategies such as these have drawn growing interest from the Labour Party, which has advanced an agenda rooted in broad-based ownership. Resident Fellow Peter Gowan recently contributed an article to Jacobin highlighting the transformative possibilities of this platform. As an adviser to the Labour Party’s new Community Wealth Building Unit, The Democracy Collaborative is able to share our own experience with these types of innovations, while also bringing back novel approaches and strategies that can advance the work in the US.
 
This symbiotic relationship can be seen in the development of the Preston Model. Inspired in part by Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives, the Preston City Council has been advancing an agenda of local wealth building, leverage anchor spending to support local economic and cooperative development. A recent piece in The Nation highlights how Preston has innovated elements such as a local pension investment fund. City Council leader Matthew Brown now serves as Democracy Collaborative Senior Fellow for the Promotion of Community Wealth Building, helping to facilitate learning across continents. Matthew joined our Anchor Collaborative Convening earlier this summer, discussing advances made in Preston, as well as challenges, with economic development leaders from across the US. Read more about the convening below and hear more about the development of the Preston model from Matthew in the latest Next System Podcast episode.
 
Earlier this summer, The Democracy Collaborative hosted another conversation that brought together views from both sides of the Atlantic, this one around the issue of housing. Featuring Senior Research Associate Jarrid Green, Resident Fellow Peter Gowan, and Laurie Macfarlane, co-author of "The Economics of Land and Housing,” the dialogue focused on strategies that advance community control of land and housing, and how these can, in turn, help to mitigate the effects of gentrification and displacement. Read more here.

Lastly, The Democracy Collaborative is currently hiring for two fall internships. Find more information here

Sincerely,
Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative

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Community Wealth Building in the News

  • Senior Research Associate Katie Parker contributed an op-ed to OtherWords about Amazon’s recent move into public procurement, calling instead for local governments to act as anchors and leverage their everyday spending to build community wealth. Read more in Truthout. 
  • The Fifty by Fifty blog published an article synthesizing findings from the Democracy at Work Institute and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives’ recent report on the state of the cooperative sector, which estimates that worker cooperatives employed 6,833 people and generated $428 million in gross revenues in 2016.
  • Fast Company recently profiled California Harvesters, a worker-owned trust that offers farm workers higher wages and better benefits. This worker trust model has potential applications in other contract heavy fields, such as healthcare, janitorial services, and construction.
  • The Real News Network featured Research Director Thomas Hanna speaking about his recent report on preparing a policy for public ownership of banks, rather than bailouts, when the next financial crisis occurs.

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Anchor Collaborative Convening Update

In June, The Democracy Collaborative hosted the Anchor Collaborative Convening, which brought together leaders from across the country representing 35 initiatives and networks focused on leveraging anchor institution resources to catalyze inclusive, economic development. This convening summary provides a high-level overview of the convening, synthesizing discussions around common challenges and best practices. Participants moved from dialogue to action and began to develop the tools and resources needed to accelerate anchor strategies such as inclusive, local procurement, which will be continued through the Anchor Collaborative Network.
Read More Here

Featured Audio & Video

Gar Alperovitz & Peter Buffet in conversation
Democracy Collaborative Co-Founder Gar Alperovitz joined philanthropist Peter Buffet and journalist Jimmy Buff for a conversation about a vision for a more inclusive, democratic economy on Radio Kingston WKNY. Listen to the full segment here

The Political Economy of Land and Housing
Senior Research Associate Jarrid Green, Resident Fellow Peter Gowan, and Laurie Macfarlane, co-author of “The Economics of Land and Housing,” participated in a conversation about how community control of land and housing can address issues around gentrification and displacement. Watch the full livecast here.
 

Recommended Reads

Local Wealth Building in Birmingham, England

This new report from the UK-based Center for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) highlights work underway in Birmingham, England, where local anchor institutions have been advancing inclusive economic development through intentional local hiring and procurement, as well as innovative use of land assets. CLES will be launching the Birmingham Anchor Network to accelerate these local wealth building strategies. Read the full report here.

 


Amazon’s Foray into Public Procurement

“Amazon is changing the rules for how local governments buy goods — and putting cities, counties, and school districts at risk,” write authors Stacy Mitchell and Olivia Lavecchia in this new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The report explores Amazon’s contract with U.S. Communities, a purchasing cooperative made up of government agencies, finding that the contract lacks pricing protections and creates added barriers for local businesses. Read the full report here.
 

Featured Website

The Unequal States of America

This new visualization tool from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) allows users to examine income inequality in the United States, including trends at the state and regional level. The platform comes with the release of EPI’s report The new gilded age: Income inequality in the U.S. by state, metropolitan area and county. See more here.

 

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