Green Economy

Pear Energy

Pear Energy is an intermediary that buys clean, renewable energies from small community-led wind and solar companies across the United States and sells it directly to customers through their local utility.

The Rise of Community Wealth Building Institutions

More people are turning to economic alternatives in which new wealth is built collectively and from the bottom up

Crossposted from Policy Network, and later published on the London School of Economics website, this blog is part of a debate event hosted by Policy Network in London, UK, that was reviewed in OurKingdom by grassroots activist James Doran:    

Five years after the financial crisis economic inequality in the United States is spiraling to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. While most Americans are experiencing a recovery-less recovery, the top one per cent of earners last year claimed 19.3 per cent of household income, their largest share since 1928. Moreover, income distribution looks positively egalitarian when compared to wealth ownership.

Assessing Impact at Anchor Institutions

New anchor dashboard identifies 12 priority areas and indicators
Crossposted from Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog

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.

Democracy Collaborative Offers Paid Internship

Work with us on newsletters and

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

Better Buildings Neighborhood Program

Greensboro’s Better Building Neighborhood Program aims to promote home energy upgrades, job creation, economic development, neighborhood empowerment, and consumer education.  To do so, the program offers all city residents an “energy saver power pack” with compact fluorescent light bulbs, a low-flow showerhead, and an energy saving power strip, as well as a range of financial incentives, including grants, rebates and loans, to encourage participants to make additional updates that will result in at least a 15 percent improvement in their home’s energy usage.  From the project’s launch in 2010 through December 2012, the project is credited with conducting 1,432 residential evaluations, completing 217 residential energy upgrades, and training 26 workers in performing energy efficiency upgrades.

Welfare Reform Liaison Project

The Welfare Reform Liaison Project (WRLP) is a community action agency that aims to help low-income families in Guilford County achieve self-sufficiency.  To do so, it provides workforce training and job placement in a variety of green-focused industries.  One training site is Mattress Go Round, a company that recycles old mattresses, and thus, diverts nearly 3,000 mattresses a year from local landfills.  Most recently, WRLP initiated training programs in digital imagery/paper reduction and “green” hospitality.  Between 2010 and 2011 alone, about 150 people found jobs after participating in one of WRLP’s training programs.

Community Organizing for a New Economy

Democracy Collaborative panel highlights transformative work of community-based organizations

Earlier this month at Left Forum, The 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.

A Third of All States Now Have Benefit Corp Laws

A primer on the difference between B Corps and Benefit Corps
Copyright B Lab (
Last month, the state of Nevada became the 17th state to pass legislation enabling businesses to incorporate as benefit corporations. There are nearly a dozen other states considering legislation, illustrating just how rapidly this idea has spread since Maryland became the first to pass legislation in April 2010. Legislatures in all corners of the U.S. have supported this concept overwhelmingly. This widespread acceptance of a need for a corporation that is motivated by more than just profit is an intriguing trend especially as other environmental and economic trends continue to move in the opposite direction.

Worker Co-op New Era Windows Opens For Business

From sit-down strikes to state subsidies
Photo courtesy of Brendan Martin/The Working World

Last week, the New Era Windows cooperative celebrated its opening in a former Campbell’s Soup building in Chicago, the culmination of a hard-fought struggle by workers to save their livelihoods. Their well-documented struggle began in 2008 when the workers of Republic Windows and Doors occupied the factory to keep it from closing, attracting national attention. Read more about Worker Co-op New Era Windows Opens For Business...