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Dear Colleague,

Happy New Year and welcome to our January newsletter. We start 2015 with the following developments:
  • Our most recent report—A New Anchor Mission for a New Century—about the role community foundations play in building wealth through impact investing, was profiled earlier this month in Forbes magazine. The Stanford Social Innovation Review also featured an article by Marjorie Kelly, co-author of the report with Violeta Duncan.
  • In an Al Jazeera article, Democracy Collaborative Co-founder Gar Alperovitz argues for a guaranteed income to improve the plight of veterans, many of whom struggle with poverty and homelessness. In a Truthout article, Gar explores the challenges of structuring institutions of justice that promote public accountability. Gar and the Collaborative are also cited in an article in Dissent magazine describing Reading, Pennsylvania’s rebuild Reading initiative which aims, among other community wealth building goals, to establish a city-owned bank and to leverage anchor institution purchasing to create worker cooperatives.
  • Last year, Democracy Collaborative Research Director Steve Dubb traveled to Cuba with a delegation organized by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) to learn about the conversion of state controlled enterprises into worker-owned cooperatives. NCBA released the findings of this exploratory journey in a new report.
  • In December, I had the pleasure of presenting at the Annual Learning Exchange of the Richmond based B-corp and CDFI, Virginia Community Capital. 
As always, we continue to add new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find the most recent additions.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative

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In this Newsletter:


New from the Democracy Collaborative

Recommended Reads

Featured Websites

On our Blog:

Nebraska's Community-Owned Electricity System

Community Foundations Move to Adopt a New Anchor Mission

A Wave Is Rising


New from The Democracy Collaborative

C-W Interview: Ed Whitfield

This month we interview Ed Whitfield, co-founder and Co-Managing Director for the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC), a private foundation that aims to promote economic democracy and cooperative economics in the U.S. South. To maximize its impact, F4DC founders decided to disburse the entire fund’s corpus by 2020. Among F4DC’s leading initiatives are its support of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project and its effort to launch a community-owned Renaissance Cooperative grocery store in Greensboro, North Carolina. Find Out More» 

Recommended Reads

Etsy Outlines Strategies for a ‘People-Powered Economy’


This paper from Etsy, an online platform connecting small, independent producers to the market, identifies strategies to support the growth of small-batch manufacturing. The report recommends investments in manufacturing support services as well as asset building initiatives so that small-batch manufacturers can better connect to local production partners and reduce the financial risks involved in starting a business. The paper also highlights the opportunity to incorporate entrepreneurship training into workforce development programs. Read More»

LISC Evaluates the Impact of its Community Investments


Written by LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) Director of Research Chris Walker, this report highlights early-stage results from LISC’s Building Sustainable Communities initiative. The report demonstrates how a comprehensive community development approach that targets investments in affordable housing, economic development, edu­cation, health, and safety can significantly raise incomes and decrease unemployment in low-income neighborhoods. Also included are case studies in Providence, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Chicago. Read More»

Paper Advocates for Local Ownership of Utilities

John Farrell, senior researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, compares the economic and environmental impact of locally owned utilities against absentee-owned utilities. Finding that local ownership not only encourages a more rapid adoption of renewable sources of energy but also generates local economic activity and jobs, Farrell recommends that states create incentives for locally owned projects. Farrell cites examples of successful community ownership models in Minnesota, Washington, and Colorado and argues for the cessation of current state and federal tax incentives that privilege commercially owned projects. Read More»

Book Outlines Data Collection and Sharing Strategies for Community Development

What Counts, a joint publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Urban Institute, offers a series of essays on how practitioners, policymakers, and funders can collect and analyze data to better inform community development strategies. The authors, with backgrounds in public health, education, finance, law, community development, and information systems, highlight the necessity of data sharing across sectors to foster collaboration. Read More»

Featured Websites

City of Richmond (VA), Office of Community Wealth Building

Established in 2014 by Mayor Dwight C. Jones, the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building coordinates Richmond’s anti-poverty initiative, also known as the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty, named after the pioneering early 20th-century African American banking innovator. Broadly, the office aims to break down divisions among seven different policy areas—transportation, housing, workforce development, targeted economic development, early childhood education, adolescent transition, and college access. The website provides updates on the Office’s ongoing programs, which include a social enterprise development initiative and a bus rapid transit project. Find Out More»

Common Market

Based in Philadelphia, Common Market is a food distributor that connects small-scale farmers in the Delaware valley to institutional buyers. Common Market aggregates food from a total of about 75 regional producers and delivers six days a week to almost 150 public and private schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, workplaces, grocery stores, nonprofits and faith institutions. The food hub also owns and manages the Philly Good Food Lab, a shared space for local food enterprises and entrepreneurs. Since launching in 2008, sales have totaled more than $4 million. Find Out More»

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