Steve Dubb writes for the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the importance of having access to tools that educate and empower low-income communities to shape their economic future.
Empowering communities to take control of economic development is slow, patient work—and people funding or supporting it need to take this into account when assessing success. Long-term, place-based commitments are critical; parachuting in and out does little to build local capacity. And the metrics we use need to take into account the often intangible relationship-building that weaves together a truly empowered community; shortcuts and quick fixes can cause real damage.
Justine Porter, Danny Fisher-Bruns and Bich Ha Pham
The Democracy Collaborative’s new report Anchor Collaboratives: Building Bridges with Place-Based Partnerships and Anchor Institutions discusses the role of anchor institutions and collaboratives in leveraging the power of their economic assets to address social and economic disparities and to revitalize local communities.
The report focuses on the work of anchor institutions and partner organizations that have joined to form place-based networks, or anchor collaboratives, to develop, implement, and support shared goals and initiatives that advance equitable and inclusive economic development strategies. Anchor mission work is not easy, but our hope is that this state of the field report will provide information and assistance to groups wanting to do anchor mission work or to create anchor collaboratives.
Many anchor institutions are also major landowners in their communities, and many are already engaged in housing programs such as employer-assisted housing. Anchor institutions can and should employ CLTs to maximize the impact of their long-term investments in housing for their workforce, and utilize and support CLTs to help build more inclusive communities around their institutions more generally.
A growing number of forward-thinking healthcare anchor institutions have taken up an “Anchor Mission” to realign all institutional resources to fight long-standing inequities at their root by building community wealth.
Anchor collaboratives are stronger and can accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach by combining efforts and resources. However, forming an anchor collaboration isn’t automatic; it takes effort and time to get institutions to see their common interests and potential alignment. The article discusses some ways it can work.
Tabita Green writes, forYes! Magazine, "What a Society Designed for Well-Being Looks Like." Green highlights the dozens of strategize to democratize wealth on the Community Wealth website:
"The worker cooperative is one of several ways to democratize wealth and create economic justice. The Democracy Collaborative lists dozens of strategies and models to bring wealth back to the people on the website community-wealth.org. The list includes municipal enterprise, community land trusts, reclaiming the commons, impact investing, and local food systems. All these pieces of the new economy puzzle play a role in contributing to economic justice, which is inextricably intertwined with mental and emotional well-being."
In Lancashire our has county council had its own now infamous battle with then communities secretary Sajid Javid when he overturned the council’s rejection of Cuadrilla’s application to frack at Preston New Road. Two years on Cuadrilla are set to begin drilling – and the government is attempting to ensure that councils lose any oversight of where fracking developments are established.
The Real News Network interviews Thomas Hanna of the Democracy Collaborative about 'The Next Global Financial Crisis is Inevitable.' In this article, The Real News Network discusses the report The Crisis Next Time:
It has been ten years since the last major financial crisis. With systemic deregulation undoing the safeguards, we are due for another crisis very one soon. Thomas Hanna, research director of the Democracy Collaborative’s Next System Project, says it is almost guaranteed
In this article, Laura Flanders writes for The Nation "In the Age of Disaster Capitalism, Is ‘Survival Socialism’ the Solution?" In this article, she writes about the needs for alternative to the boom and bust cylce of capitalism, as well as featuring graphic designed by Dylan Petrohilos
Brown is tall and bald, mid-40s, but, even now, you can imagine him as a boy, smart and obsessive, taking radios apart to study their workings and reassemble them better. What he’s been tinkering with since he was elected to the Preston City Council in 2002, at age 30, is the machinery of city government. In 2011, after a 12-year plan to create jobs fell apart when a powerful name-brand retailer pulled out of what was to have been a shiny new shopping center, Brown reached out to Ted Howard of the Democracy Collaborative, an American “think-and-do tank” that he’d been reading about online. The collaborative helped start the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland.
Alexander C. Kaufman writes in the Huffington Post "A Trump Plan To Nationalize Coal Plants Could Be A Surprise Gift To Climate Hawks." In this article, Kaufman quotes Thomas Hanna and the research by the Democracy Collaborative:
All of this fortifies the argument that investors cannot reform fossil fuel producers quickly enough, making the case stronger for severe government intervention in the form of nationalization, said Thomas Hanna, director of research at the Democracy Collaborative, a left-leaning think tank.
“Time may simply have run out on other options that we may be considering now,” Hanna said. “If climate change is a crisis, which it will be in the future, all economic possibilities need to be on the table to deal with that, and that means taking over fossil fuel companies.”
Hanna and his team estimated that it would cost the government $1.15 trillion to buy the top 25 largest U.S.-based, publicly traded oil and gas companies as well as the roughly four major remaining publicly-traded coal producers. That may sound like a lot, but he argued that could cost less than $200 billion annually over six years, which is slightly over one-third of the military’s current annual budget.
Alyssa Ochs and David Callahan write in Inside Philanthropy, "Another Community Foundation With High Hopes for Impact Investing." In this article, the writers highlight the study released by the Democracy Collaborative A new Achor Mission Strategy For A New Century:
Impact investing by community foundations is not a new thing. Back in 2012, for example, the Council on Foundations brought together leaders from the worlds of impact investing and community foundations to help more local funders get going with impact investing. That effort led to a handy field guide to this topic in 2013, produced by COF and Mission Investors Exchange. A year later, the Democracy Collaborative released a study, "A New Anchor Mission for a New Century," which analyzed how 30 innovative community foundations were engaged in impact investing, often around housing and economic development, two areas where larger amounts of capital are needed to move the needle.
CFO, and Director of Employee-Ownership of the Democracy Collaborative, Jessica Rose writes in Times Union "Employee ownership can boost NY economy, families." Rose's op-ed highlights how empowee-ownership can boost upstate New York's economy:
"Companies owned by their employees are more widespread than you might think. Nationally, there are at least 7,000 of these firms in nearly every major industry, sector, and region of the U.S. In New York, many employee-owned businesses are recognized industry leaders and household brands, such as Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) in the Bronx, and Chobani yogurt, in Norwich, which each employ more than 2,000 workers. Though structured differently, both offer employees an opportunity to share in the fruits of their labor which, in turn, makes workers invested in the company's success. It's not just fair, its smart: Extensive research shows that participatory employee ownership contributes to greater productivity and firm stability."
Laurie Larson writes the article Trusteee Magazine "Anchoring hospitals in the community." In this article, Larson covers the Healthcare Anchor Network, a project of the Democracy Collaborative:
Theirs is just one example of the work emerging from the Healthcare Anchor Network, a blooming consortium of nearly three dozen health systems launched in May 2017. The network's overarching goal is to “reach a critical mass of U.S. health systems [that are] strategically improving community health and well-being by leveraging all of their institutional assets, including intentionally integrating local economic inclusion strategies in hiring, purchasing and investing.”
HAN is the brainchild of the Democracy Collaborative, an economic development agency in Cleveland, which was launched as a “democratic renewal” research center at the University of Maryland in 2000. The collaborative has since moved well beyond its research roots, offering field activities to expand community wealth-building, hosting nationwide roundtables to discuss transformative economic development solutions, and advising local governments, foundations and anchor institutions such as health systems on new strategies for addressing the root causes of socio-economic inequity in their communities.
Thomas M. Hanna, Joe Guinana, and Joe Bilsborough write in Open Democracy "The ‘Preston Model’ and the modern politics of municipal socialism."In this piece, the writers highlight the flagship community wealth building project in Cleveland, Ohio, and Preston, England and what it means for municipal socialism:
There are now two flagship models of community wealth building—and a growing number of additional efforts in cities across the United States and United Kingdom. The first model is the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio—created, in part, by our own organisation, The Democracy Collaborative. Cleveland had lost almost half of its population and most of its large publicly-traded companies due to deindustrialisation, disinvestment, and capital flight. But it still had very large non-profit and quasi-public institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, and University Hospitals—known as anchor institutions because they are rooted in place and aren’t likely to up and leave. Together, Cleveland’s anchors were spending around $3 billion per year, very little of which was previously staying in the local community. The Democracy Collaborative worked with them to localise a portion of their procurement in support of a network of purposely-created green worker co-ops, the Evergreen Co-operatives, tied together in a community corporation so that they too are rooted in place. Today these companies are profitable and are beginning to eat the lunch of the multinational corporations that had previously provided contract services to the big anchors. Last month came the announcement of an expansion of the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry to a new site serving the needs of the Cleveland Clinic, with a hundred new employees on fast track to worker ownership.