Community Wealth Blog

The OFN Conference provides a platform for CDFI practitioners, board members, funders, investors and policymakers from around the country to get together to learn, share, inspire, and be inspired. Over three and a half days, attendees network, discover successful expansion strategies, learn about innovations in emerging financing sectors, and share the latest financial resources.

An exciting movement towards new cooperative business models and community wealth building strategies is gaining momentum and recognition, and there is a veritable bumper crop of recent documentary films testifying to this new interest in the new economy.  As communities throughout the country innovate and cooperative businesses develop and flourish despite a struggling economy, these films offer a compelling portrait of an alternative vision.

On July 23rd, 2012, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced two bills to support the expansion of employee owned businesses in the US.  The underlying rationale behind the legislation focuses on the increased productivity and stability of businesses in which employees are also owners.  By helping employee ownership and participation in businesses to become more widespread across the United States, the two bills would help preserve jobs and build a stronger economy.

The newly revised PBS documentary “Fixing the Future” by David Brancaccio is being released in theaters later this month. Along with many other wealth building initiatives from around the country, the Evergreen Cooperatives are also profiled. We hope you will be able to attend one of the screenings that will be held in hundreds of cities across the country on July 18th and 19th.

The University of Chicago’s Class of 2012’s gift was truly an investment in the community; after negotiating with administration officials in February about the University’s investment practices, students convinced the University to shift $1 million in deposits to four community banks. Each bank will receive the FDIC insured maximum deposit of $250,000.

In the second installment of the “America’s Tomorrow: Equity in a Changing Nation” series, PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell interviews Ted Howard, executive director of the Democracy Collaborative.  The series is dedicated to “exploring America’s future, the challenges we face, and the people who are making a difference ... [featuring] some of the nation’s most exciting leaders doing their part to blaze the path towards equity.”

Both Louisiana and South Carolina passed benefit corporation legislation in June 2012, becoming the eight and ninth states in the nation to do so, respectively. Perhaps more important to this growing trend is that both states are the first states in the South to do so, significantly expanding the geographic diversity of this movement and illustrating the broad appeal this new type of corporation is having.

This infographic features a simple network of connections that compose the Cleveland Model.

April 20th represented a milestone for Solar MosaicElla Baker Center and Green for All community, marking the fundraising conclusion of an exciting fifth solar panel project on the rooftop of St. Vincent de Paul in Oakland, CA. All of the funds were raised through community crowdsourcing, providing a local, zero-interest investment strategy for community solar projects.

Yesterday, New York City and Los Angeles overwhelmingly passed responsible banking ordinances, giving new momentum to a trend occurring nationwide. The responsible banking ordinance enables cities and localities to deposit city money into banks that can demonstrate their commitment and investment to the local community. It requires that banks disclose detailed loan and foreclosure data by community if they want to do business with the city.

History is paradoxical: Our politics are stalemated, our economy stagnating. But precisely because of this, literally thousands of new social and economic initiatives suggest the possibility, over time, of literally rebuilding the system from the bottom up.

The highest paid hedge fund manager makes what a household makes over their whole working lives in five minutes.