Community Wealth Blog
The phrase “new economy” can mean a variety of things to different people. To some, the phrase still refers to the adoption of new technology or the growth of the tech sector. Among progressives, however, it has generally come to mean, as John Cavanagh and Robin Broad put it a while back in The Nation, the movement to achieve “holistic, systemic change” in our economic structures.
Worker-Owned Companies Class of 2014
In this year’s review of some of the newest worker-owners on the block, we highlight 16 fresh cooperatives—some were founded and others were converted to worker-ownership in 2014. If you find some of these businesses are local to you, we encourage you to support and welcome your new worker-owned neighbors.
New Memoir Charts Gus Speth's Political Evolution
By definition distinct from the status quo, radical ideas must always evolve. Still, Gus Speth has had a particularly unusual evolution to his current role as Co-Chair of The Democracy Collaborative’s Next System Project, which launched on March 31, 2015 and seeks to build upon our work on community wealth and take it to scale by opening up a broad national debate in the United States about much-needed systemic change.
Greensboro Community Looks to Food Cooperative to Fill Grocery Gap
What would you do if the only full-service grocery store in your community suddenly closed? When this misfortune fell upon the residents of northeast Greensboro, North Carolina, they took matters into their own hands and mobilized to build a community-owned store.
What If Community Developers Held a Congress and Everyone Showed Up?
A practitioner-driven agenda provides a unique lens for addressing challenges facing community economic development. The People and Places conference represented a joint effort by four organizations: NACEDA (the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations), NALCAB (the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders), National CAPACD (the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development), and the National Urban League.
How a credit union is increasing access to affordable, responsible financial services
Founded in 1980, Self-Help works to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all, especially minority, women-headed, rural and low-wealth families and communities. In 2006 Self Help expanded into California, and in 2008 launched Self-Help Federal Credit Union to increase access to affordable, responsible financial services in low-income communities.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives Rebuilds Equitable Food System
Grocery or “natural food” co-ops pioneered promoting local and organic foods, helping to propel these concepts into the mainstream. But spurred by expanding consumer demand, large corporations now dominate the market and have increased pressure on independent, grocery co-ops around the country. Today, the labels of organic, local, or natural do not necessarily reflect a more equitable distribution of wealth and profits.
A Fair Share: Worker Cooperatives and the Growth of Shared Capitalism
This past summer, in a sea-side town in Maine, the state’s largest worker cooperative was created. As a retirement gift, small business owners Vernon and Sandra Seile turned over ownership of their retail businesses to their 40 employees. Ashley Weed, a dutiful worker of the Seiles for 11 years, stated, “I am happy they actually sold it to us, so we don’t have to start at the bottom again.”
Nebraska’s Community-Owned Electricity System
In the United States, there is one state, and only one state, where every single resident and business receives electricity from a community-owned institution rather than a for-profit corporation. It is not a famously liberal state like Vermont or Massachusetts.
Community Foundations Move to Adopt a New Anchor Mission
According to the Foundation Center’s 2014 Key Facts report, community foundations today have nearly $65 billion in assets, more than 9 percent of all foundation assets ($715 billion). As noted at a recent White House conference, over 700 community foundations operate nationwide. Yet while the first community foundation inCleveland was founded in 1914, their present-day prominence is fairly new. As recently as 1990, U.S. community foundation assets totaled $6.6 billion.
A Wave Is Rising
“You can feel the toe of the tsunami,” said one person in the circle. “There’s a great wave rising, and you can feel the power of it, even though it’s just beginning.” The time was mid-December 2014, and I was seated with 20 others in a circle at a San Francisco gathering of community foundations wanting to learn more about impact investing as a tool for building community wealth. Someone else shared a new report on Millennials, and how they are seeking jobs and investments with meaning.
What is Community Wealth Building and Why is it so Important?
More than a decade ago, my colleagues and I at The Democracy Collaborative began using a term for a new kind of economic development – Community Wealth Building. For years, the term was so uncommon that it almost invariably appeared within quotation marks when used.