Today, the need to empower people left out of our investor-owned economy is greater than ever before, and co-ops are once again the engine of change. Electric co-ops, in whole or in part, serve over 90 percent of the poorest U.S. counties, making co-ops key to both energy democracy as well as creating an economy that works for all. (From New Economy Week 2015).
In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda.
Fostering resilient communities and building wealth in today’s local economies is necessary to achieve individual, regional, and national economic security. A community wealth building strategy employs a range of forms of community ownership and asset building strategies to build wealth in low-income communities. In so doing, community wealth building bolsters the ability of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability.
How do low-income communities learn to advance economically and build wealth? Low-income communities and communities of color, in challenging structural economic and social inequality, have historically grappled with tensions inherent to development. Who participates in, directs, and ultimately owns the economic-development process? In creating and sustaining new, inclusive economic institutions, how do community members cultivate and pass on skills, commitment and knowledge—especially among those who have long faced barriers to education and employment? And how should communities strike an appropriate balance between utilizing local knowledge and accessing outside expertise? This report draws on case studies of 11 different community economic development initiatives from across the United States to highlight a diverse set of powerful answers to these critical questions.
In an era of persistent urban inequality and chronic unemployment disproportionately impacting historically marginalized communities and communities of color, new alternatives to the traditional economic development strategies that have failed to bring broad and evenly distributed prosperity to America's cities are clearly needed. The Democracy Collaborative's new report, Cities Building Community Wealth, responds to this challenge by highlighting best practices in inclusive innovation from twenty cities across the country, and offering a unified vision of the underlying new paradigm of community focused economic development.
How can ordinary community members begin catalyzing a local conversation around building a stronger, more equitable local economy? How can you leverage volunteer power, public resources, and in-kind sponsorships to convene a community wealth building summit? In this new whitepaper from the Democracy Collaborative's Community Wealth Innovators Series, Justine Porter maps out how she and her grassroots team pulled this kind of powerful event together in Poughkeepsie, New York—and highlights the lessons learned so that you can benefit from their experience in planning your own community wealth building summit in your community.
Cuba has been transforming its economic model since 2011, and re-established relations with the U.S. in 2014. By engaging in an active question and answer format this CommonBound 2014 workshop explores what these profound changes mean for a socialist economy and the challenges of protecting the social gains of the Cuban revolution while creating a more robust, efficient economy.
What will an anti-imperialist, economy look like? What will it take to decolonize economic structures in pursuit of liberation? After introducing frameworks for building a movement for sustainable business, community and worker ownership, workplace democracy, and thriving family businesses, we go local. We hear lessons from Boston, where grassroots organizations, small businesses and investors are working together to model an alternative to the capitalist economy at a local level. Participants learn from leaders of the Boston Ujima Project about their efforts to fight poverty and displacement through the formation of a community capital fund, a Good Business Certification, and an alternative local currency. Participants learn about Boston's unique new economy project and engage in the opportunities and limits of this community development strategy.
Community Development Credit Unions have long been working for racial justice and innovating in economic justice. Part of the larger community development finance institution (CDFI) movement, these institutions are today boldly lending to undocumented immigrants, fighting predatory lending, preserving historic Black and farmworker CUs, financing worker coops and land trusts, and building partnerships to fund the new economy. Part history lesson, part show and tell, and part participatory debate, three practitioners from the field lead a session to engage participants in how they might access, build, challenge and partner with CDFIs in their own geographies to sustain the new economy.
How can we assure that the material resources and tools are available to communities to meet their needs and elevate the quality of life? This panel explores the movement to create democratic sources of financing to enable communities to build a democratic, just and sustainable economy. Leaders discuss the role of finance, fundamentals of non-extractive finance, and principles being used to develop a financial cooperative nationally, in close connection to grassroots front-line communities.The panel will use concrete examples of existing models.