Dear Colleague,

I am pleased to share the latest edition of the Metropolitan Universities Journal, published by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and guest edited by The Democracy Collaborative’s Manager of Higher Education Emily Sladek. The issue brings together leading voices from the growing anchor movement within higher education, offering insights on how to leverage university assets to build community wealth. With article topics ranging from developing a city-level local procurement strategy to engaging students in anchor work, the issue provides thoughts and suggestions on how to embed and institutionalize the anchor mission approach. Read the full issue here.
As anchor strategies develop, there are increasing opportunities for new coalitions and partnerships. Research Intern Marie Therese Kane investigates one of these on the Community-Wealth.Org blog, writing about the opportunity to connect student fossil fuel divestment campaigns to community investment strategies. By divesting from fossil fuels, universities can then redeploy these resources to build climate resiliency through strategies like investing via Community Development Financial Institutions or providing capital for investment in community solar. Read more here.
I am also pleased to share two new websites and an exciting new development that point to the growth of community wealth building in the UK. Rochdale Stronger Together is an emerging collaborative that is working with local anchors to support cooperative and social enterprise development, in the historic birthplace of the cooperative movement. At a national level, the Labour Party’s Community Wealth Building Unit recently launched its website, featuring a number of useful resources. The Unit, which The Democracy Collaborative advises as experts in community wealth building, is focused on supporting local communities in implementing strategies that democratize ownership and control. Finally, inspired by Preston and Cleveland, the Welsh government has allocated £1.5m to spur innovative efforts to build community wealth.
Democracy Collaborative Vice President of Theory, Research & Policy Joe Guinan recently co-authored a book that provides important context for the explosive growth of community wealth building in the UK and the possibilities for transformative systemic change. In People Get Ready, Joe and co-author Christine Berry explore the hidden history of neoliberalism’s
rise, and provide a powerful blueprint for social movements intent on preparing to seize political openings and advance the democratic economy. Read more and preorder the book here.
Finally, I would like to welcome the newest member of the TDC staff, Lauren Nixon, who joins as Manager for the Healthcare Engagement team.

Ted Howard
President and Co-Founder,
The Democracy Collaborative


TDC & CWB in the News

  • Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa has highlighted the opportunity to include public ownership of utilities in the emerging debate around a Green New Deal as a means to not only decarbonize, but build a more just, democratic economy. Johanna was recently interviewed about the potential of public ownership for Vice’s Motherboard and co-wrote an op-ed on the need for policy proposals regarding community control of utilities for In These Times.
  • Interest in employee ownership continues to grow: a recent article in The Intercept highlights proposals for expanding employee ownership put forward by potential 2020 presidential contenders; Craftmanship Magazine highlights how worker cooperatives can help address income inequality; and the Miami Herald profiled an initiative in Miami to catalyze worker cooperative development. Read a roundup of further developments in employee ownership from Fifty by Fifty.
  • A recent article in CityLab documents the development of the Detroit Food Commons, a Black-led cooperative development initiative. The planned Detroit People’s Food Co-op will create jobs for local residents, support local farmers and entrepreneurs, and promote food security. Read more here.

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Elements of the Democratic Economy: Worker Cooperatives

The latest entry in the Next System Project’s "Elements of the Democratic Economy" series features worker cooperatives. Director of Communications John Duda explains how a worker cooperative provides for both democratic ownership, with each worker holding an equal interest in the business, and democratic governance, with each worker able to cast an equal vote in key decisions. Though worker cooperatives are relatively few in number in the United States, they are an increasingly popular way for workers to have real power in the workplace. Read more here.
Read More

Policy Proposal: Community Ownership of Power Administration

Co-Authored by Research Associate Johanna Bozuwa, Jackson Koeppel, executive director of Soulardarity in Highland Park, Michigan, and Liz Veazey, network director of We Own It, this new policy paper from the Next System Project outlines a potential component of the Green New Deal, the creation of a Community Ownership of Power Administration (COPA). Modeled after the New Deal’s Rural Electrification Administration, COPA would provide financing to transfer investor-owned utilities to community-run, renewable-powered utilities. Read more here.
Read More

Featured Audio & Video

The Laura Flanders Show: Revolution at the Federal Reserve

Director of Research Thomas Hanna joins author and journalist Nomi Prins on the Laura Flanders Show to discuss the federal reserve, public ownership, and Quantitative Easing for the Planet.

Webinar: A Lakota Translation of Community Wealth Building

Watch this webinar on the report An Indigenous Approach to Community Wealth Building, authored by Stephanie Gutierrez of Hope Nation LLC. Stephanie is joined by Jason Campbell, a citizen of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the CEO of Sovereign Power, and Sarah McKinley of The Democracy Collaborative to discuss social enterprise development in Native communities.

Recommended Reads

The Growing Racial Wealth Divide

“Between 1983 and 2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33 percent increase for the median White household.” This new report from the Institute for Policy Studies assesses trends in household wealth among Black, Latino, and White households over the thirty years, documenting the growing racial wealth divide and the extreme concentration of wealth. The report highlights how these trends are mutually reinforcing and calls for policies that address the legacy of racism in wealth building programs and policies. Read more here.

New Book: “The Economics of Arrival”

Authored by Katherine Trebeck of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and Jeremy Williams, this new book makes the case that we should move from “enlarging the economy to improving it.” The authors contend that the economy has “arrived,” meaning there is more than adequate wealth, but there needs to be more equitable distribution. The book highlights developments like participatory budgeting and outlines a new framework to conceptualize economic progress. Read a blog article about the book here and order copies from Policy Press here.

Featured Website

Power Lab

Launched by the Atkinson Foundation and the Broadbent Institute, Power Lab is an incubator for community organizers in Canada working to build community wealth. With a goal to reach over 100 organizers in eight Canadian cities over the next three years, the Lab brings together a cohort of organizers to share and develop innovative approaches for community economic development that center equity, inclusion, and resident voice. Learn more here.

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