Community Wealth Blog

Last month, PBS NewsHour’s Business Desk featured an essay by Chris Mackin with the consulting group Ownership Associates entitled “The Alternative American Dream: Inclusive Capitalism.” Mackin uses the term “inclusive capitalism” as an ownership sharing proposition – one that is about creating a new relationship between employees and their workplace based not on a “sense” of ownership but on actual, tangible ownership. 

This week, The Democracy Collaborative is releasing a new paper to create a framework for measuring the effectiveness of university and hospital efforts to partner with and improve conditions in surrounding communities.  Our goal is to help institutions reflect and assess broadly the long-term impact of their anchor-mission activities, and particularly the extent to which they may benefit low-income children, families and communities.

Green. Local. Not-for-profit. That’s the goal in Boulder, Colorado where grassroots activists and the local nonprofit New Era Colorado Foundation have been campaigning to turn the city’s private power source into a public utility in order to more aggressively pursue renewable energy options and reduce carbon emissions.

Reporting to the CEO and a member of the senior management team, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a newly created position that will allow the CEO to focus more externally on fundraising, advocating nationally for the CWB paradigm of economic development, building key stakeholder and strategic partnerships, and strategizing about “what comes next”.

The Democracy Collaborative – working in close collaboration with Jill Bamburg of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Marjorie Kelley of the Tellus Institute, and supported by the Northwest Area Foundation  is spearheading a year long intensive training and advisory program designed to help Native communities better engage in comprehensive community economic development.

We first learned about the innovative, multistakeholder Fifth Season Cooperative Wisconson's 7 Rivers region from the community wealth builders at Gundersen Lutheran Health Systems, whom we interviewed for one of the case studies in our report Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission.  The more we learned, the more excited we became...

Many of the benefits of employee ownership are quite apparent. Through owning a portion of stock in her or his company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, an employee is part owner and receives not just income, but has the opportunity to build wealth that would otherwise be unavailable in a traditional workplace.

We are pleased to announce a new intern position at The Democracy Collaborative that will focus on the Community-Wealth.org newsletter and adding web content. For further details, please see the position description below. Remember to submit your applications by August 30!

As highlighted in a recent post for The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Democracy Collaborative's new report Raising Student Voicesco-published with the Responsible Endowments Coalition, insists that "everyone benefits when colleges invest in local businesses and sustainable economic development, and that students and community organizations should work together to push for more such alliances."  

In response to my earlier post about anchor institutions and community development, Andrew Frishkoff, executive director of LISC Philadelphia, commented “Too often we have seen beneficent anchor institutions acting paternalistically on behalf of communities, instead of in partnership with them.” Frishkoff called for “intermediaries who can help to bridge the divide ... Such intermediaries need to be independent of, but accountable to, anchors and communities, with a deep understanding of both.”

Last month the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, better known as BALLE, had its annual conference in Buffalo, New York, bringing together international thought leaders, on-the-ground social entrepreneurs, policymakers, local economy funders, and philanthropists who are all working to build a new localist economy.

Earlier this month at Left ForumThe Democracy Collaborative helped organize five panels on a variety of different topics related to cooperatives, sustainability and growing a new economy. The last session of the weekend, “Community Organizing for a New Economy,” offered a spirited conversation around some innovative new work that is helping build a new economy.