New State & Local Policies

Municipal leaders share visions for cities that build community wealth

A report from our gathering at the CUNY School of Law

How can cities redeploy their economic development resources to focus on building a more inclusive economy grounded in broad, local ownership?  How can policymakers get strategies like worker cooperative development the support and resources needed to reach truly meaningful scale? How can collaborations between communities, local government, and key institutional stakeholders build pathways to economic equity for the people left behind by the traditional trickle-down economic playbook? Read more about Municipal leaders share visions for cities that build community wealth...

City governments building community wealth and cooperative local economies

Exciting news from Jacksonville, Florida, New York City, Austin, Texas and Richmond, Virginia

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of impressive activity at the level of city government, all around policies designed to build community wealth and encourage the growth of cooperative local economies. It's encouraging to see that the work of grassroots developers, local foundations, community activists, and field builders (like ourselves here at the Democracy Collaborative) is beginning to gain a foothold in the world of municipal policy. Read more about City governments building community wealth and cooperative local economies ...

Jacksonville’s Community Wealth Building Roundtable: Local Government Convenes to Seed a New Idea for Community Development

Michelle Barth

A detailed look at how a municipal government can plan and carry out a successful community wealth building roundtable, from the perspective of the Mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff in Jacksonville, Florida.

Equitable Investments in the Next Generation: Designing Policies to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Meschede, Thomas Shapiro, Dedrick Asante-Muhammed and Emanuel Nieves

Median Latino and Black households have over $100,000 less in wealth than median White households, a disparity that persists despite reductions in income inequality. This new report from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and CFED puts forward a “racial wealth audit” framework, assessing how specific policies either lessen or inadvertently perpetuate the racial wealth gap. The authors call for “targeted universalism” noting that policies such as Children’s Savings Account and eliminating student debt will only successfully address the racial wealth gap if they focus in particular on low income households.

Maine Islanders Band Together to Preserve a Way of Life

Gloria J. LaBrecque

As owners of a valued island business began to think about retiring, the idea of helping their loyal workers form a co-op had real appeal. 

Policy Change for Local Living Economies: Practical Strategies for Champions of Change

David Brodwin

The work of building a vibrant local economy requires up-to-date government policies and responsive government processes. This report offers suggestions for would-be change agents to identify the best initiatives and work with local governments on their implementation. 

State Future Funds: Jumpstarting Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy and Transportation Infrastructure

Cathleen Kelly

The reality is that state and local governments—and communities—are on the front lines when it comes to coping with crumbling and outdated infrastructure, traffic congestion, air pollution, more extreme weather driven by climate change, and growing inequities. Congress has the power to provide state and local officials with a remedy to the pressing on-the-ground challenges they confront daily. Specifically, by creating State Future Funds, Congress can support state and local efforts to build low-carbon and resilient infrastructure, strengthen communities and grow opportunities for all to prosper. 

Job Creation for the Disadvantaged: A Review of State and Local Efforts

Karen Chapple and Robert P. Giloth

This paper examines current job creation practices, surveying the federal government response, think-tank proposals, and related programs in all fifty states. Given the failure of most to reach the least advantaged communities, we then propose an alternative set of approaches in three areas: sectoral strategies, entrepreneurship, and tax and employment policy. A conclusion discusses the challenge of generating and implementing new ideas for job creation. 

Equitable Development: The Path to an All-In Pittsburgh

Sarah Treuhaft
PolicyLink, Urban Innovation 21, Neighborhood Allies

Despite a recent development boom, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has experienced growing racial gaps in poverty, wages and employment over the past five years. This new joint report from PolicyLink, NeighborhoodAllies and Urban Innovation 21 sets forth an agenda for equitable development that prioritizes low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and others who have so far been excluded from Pittsburgh’s economic growth. Recommendations include expanding the use of community land trusts, leveraging anchor institution spending, and implementing diverse and local hiring and purchasing requirements for public projects:

 

Participatory Budgeting: Next Generation Democracy

This new white paper from the Participatory Budgeting Project discusses how governments can use participatory budgeting (PB) as a tool to foster civic participation, ensure more accountable and fair decision-making processes, and develop innovative policy solutions. The paper provides a broad overview of how PB works and highlights successes from the more than 3,000 PB efforts implemented across the United States. The paper includes perspectives from: New York City, where low-income residents represented 40 percent of participants in PB processes (compared with 29 percent for previous local elections); Boston, which has developed a youth-led PB process; and Greensboro, North Carolina, the first PB effort in the American south.

BNote

Launched in 2010 by the Baltimore Green Currency Association (BGCA), a group striving to create an alternative economy to strengthen local businesses, create jobs, encourage the formation of local supply chains, and ultimately provide economic opportunity and increased resilience to communities underserved by traditional economic structures, the BNote is a local currency accepted at over 230 independent Baltimore businesses.  As of February 2016, over 40,000 BNotes were in circulation.  Originally issued in denominations of one and five, in the spring of 2016 BGCA released its second series of notes, which include 10 and 20 notes and feature two prominent Baltimore women, Bea Gaddy and Lillie May Carroll Jackson.

Just Utilities: Organizing for solutions to the household energy crisis

Peggy Kahn and William Hoynes

This new paper from Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a New York-based grassroots organization and member of the Right to the City Alliance, calls for “utilities justice”—the right to have affordable, accessible, healthy, and community-controlled energy. It examines the ways in which communities and families in Poughkeepsie, New York are burdened by energy insecurity and notes racial and income disparities. Recommendations put forth address affordability and access to renewables and weatherization resources, as well as local and common ownership of energy sources. The authors also list strategic advantages for utilities justice community organizing.  

Dallas Business Resource and Information Network (BRAIN)

A partnership between Dallas’ Office of Economic Development and the Dallas Public Library, Dallas BRAIN aims to position Dallas as a leading small business and entrepreneurship city by providing better access to startup and expansion resources, more transparent city services, and easier regulatory compliance.  To do so, entrepreneurs can access training sessions, workshops, counseling, networking, and free meeting space at library branches across the city (and many resources can also be accessed remotely as well). Read more about Dallas Business Resource and Information Network (BRAIN)...

Community Wealth Building Form: What they are and how to use them at the local level

Steve Dubb
Academy of Management Perspectives

In this article for the Academy of Management PerspectivesSteve Dubb, Director of Special Projects at the Democracy Collaborative, writes a comprehensive review on community wealth building strategies, progress, and implementation in local communities:

Highlights from our Cities Building Community Wealth convening

There's a movement building in cities across the country to reinvent economic development with a new focus on community wealth. Earlier this year, with the help of the Community and Economic Development Clinic at the CUNY School of Law and the Surdna Foundation, we hosted a daylong conversation with leaders from city governments and community-based organizations to explore this emerging movement—here's a short video highlighting the key insights and inspiring takeaways from the gathering. Read more about Highlights from our Cities Building Community Wealth convening...

"Building Community Wealth" Forum featuring Sarah McKinley

In partnership with Northland College's Center for Rural Communities and WITC, a League Forum features Sarah McKinley, Manager of Community Development Programs at the Democracy Collaborative. She presents on her research and travels around the US visiting cities who noted for their innovative strategies resulting in growing more prosperous local communities.
Read more about "Building Community Wealth" Forum featuring Sarah McKinley...