Community Wealth Blog

Drawn from our new report, A New Anchor Mission for A New Century: Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth.

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions—such as hospitals and universities—can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Increasingly, cities—often led by Mayors—are launching comprehensive strategies to leverage these institutions to address challenging problems of unemployment, poverty, and disinvestment.

Opportunity Threads is a worker cooperative cut and sew factory in Morganton, North Carolina. Started in late 2008, it’s an inspiring example of how democratic ownership in manufacturing can create jobs, empower workers, and even rebuild the value chains that sustain a community economically. To find out more about their story, we talked with Molly Hemstreet, the organizer, developer, and now worker-owner who got the ball rolling.

At the Democracy Collaborative, we’re interested in finding ways to build community wealth at scale — that is, in finding ways to anchor capital, democratise ownership, and stabilise local economies to really make a difference in the lives of low-income communities that find themselves marginalised by the current paradigm of economic development.

We are pleased to announce that we are looking for candidates for our Junior Fellowship position that focuses on the Community-Wealth.org newsletter, maintaining web content, and assisting with research. For further details, please see the position description below. Deadline for applications extended to October 9th!

Communities across the country are recognizing the tremendous resources nonprofit anchor institutions (like hospitals and universities) can provide as engines of inclusive and equitable economic development. Increasingly, cities – including Mayors – are launching comprehensive and coordinated strategies to leverage their local anchors to address otherwise potentially intractable problems of unemployment and disinvestment.

Last week, the Nevada legislature approved $1.25 billion in tax breaks for Tesla Motors to establish a  lithium battery "Gigafatory” for electric cars. Optimists like Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval believe that the facility will create 22,000 new jobs, while others, including urban theorist Richard Florida, caution that such expectations are idealistic at best, contending that the factory will create not more than 10,000 jobs.

Our infographic explains how the Cleveland Model functions and how it includes the entire community to keep wealth local.

Although an important figure in both U.S. and African-American history, Maggie Lena Walker is not a household name—not the way, at least, that her contemporaries such as Brooker T. Washington, Zora Neale Hurston, or WEB Dubois are.

At the end of 2012, the Cuban government approved a law that permitted for the first time the formation of non-agricultural co-ops. Passed at the end of the United Nations-designated International Year of Cooperatives, the new Cuban legislation permitted, as the New York Times reported at the time, “workers to collectively open new businesses or take over existing state-run businesses in construction, transportation and other industries.” As of July 2014, 257 new co-op businesses have launched as a result of this legislation. 

Our infographic highlights the benefits and impact of cooperatives.

Earlier this month, the small city of Somerset, Kentucky drew national attention when it opened a municipally-owned and -operated fuel center in an effort to drive down gas prices for local residents. As a result of its proximity to Lake Cumberland, a popular tourist destination, the city of 11,000 residents has long struggled with high fuel prices—especially during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.