Democratic ownership

Building community wealth with co-ops, worker co-ops, and employee ownership.

Participants were asked “What are your motivations for doing this work?” 

Creating a new economy...

  • An inclusive economy where everyone can thrive
  • An economy that is human-centered and fair
  • A democratic economy as a more just economic system
  • A revitalized American dream
  • An economy without such drastic wealth inequality
  • A society and economy built on broader values, drawing from collective wisdom and voice

...one that alleviates poverty

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Community development

What works with CDC's, community land trusts, and other cross-sectoral efforts.
The Democracy Collaborative, in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, the City of Cleveland, and the city's major hospitals and universities—is helping to implement a new model of large-scale worker-owned and community-benefiting businesses. The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative is beginning to build serious momentum in one of the cities most dramatically impacted by the nation's decaying economy. Increasingly, this model is being referred to nationally as The Cleveland Model. Other cities nationwide have begun the process of replicating and adapting this innovative approach to economic development, green job creation, and neighborhood stabilization.
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Community Wealth Interviews

Conversations with leading community wealth builders

Anchor Institutions

Hospitals, universities, and other anchor institutions as drivers of more equitable and sustainable local economies.
Featured publication:
How Hospitals Can Help Heal Communities
Ted Howard and Tyler Norris Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Featured publication:
Leveraging Anchor Institutions for Economic Inclusion
Chris Schildt and Victor Rubin Sustainable Communities Series
Featured publication:
Can Hospitals Heal America's Communities?
Ted Howard and Tyler Norris

Community finance

Driving investment in an equitable economy with CDFI's, program related investment, and impact investing.

Since the group's founding in the mid-1980s, LIIF has provided capital and technical assistance totaling $1.5 billion, which in turn leveraged an additional $6 billion, broadening economic opportunity for 1.7 million people. LIIF's investments helped to create 174,000 units of low income and special needs housing, 243,000 childcare spaces, and 72,000 educational facilities.

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Community Wealth Cities

Profiles of local community wealth ecosystems

Ecological development

State and local innovation

The city of Rochester, with Mayor Lovely Warren at the helm and supported by partners and allies across New York State and beyond, has hatched a plan to tap into at least that much to help level the economic playing field for Rochester’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. “It’s about being able to give employees an opportunity to have ownership and to build wealth within their own communities,” says Warren. The plan consists of supporting the creation or growth of cooperatively owned businesses located primarily in the city’s most distressed neighborhoods...

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Featured blog post:
State legislatures attacking community wealth building
Featured publication:
Field Guide: The Future of Health is Local
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
Featured publication:
Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources
The Democracy Collaborative

Social enterprise

Innovative business development through nonprofit social enterprise.

Related to the challenges of managing business operations is the implementation of the worker-owned cooperative model. The model is one of the key innovations of the Evergreen approach and an important mechanism for not only increasing income, but also building wealth for residents of the target neighborhoods. However, the approach was difficult to operationalize within the context of a new business.

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Asset strategies

Increasing the assets of low-income communities with wealth building, wealth preservation, and supporting policies.

Flexible savings allow families to manage unexpected financial emergencies and ultimately help families build long-term financial security. However, as this new report from the New America Asset Building Program highlights, flexible savings opportunities are limited, prompting many low-income families to take out payday loans or to incur financial penalties for early withdrawals from their tax-preferred accounts. The authors make several recommendations to broaden the offering of financial services and policies that both permit short-term use and help build assets in the long term.

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International inspiration

Best practices and models from outside the United States.