Newsletter | May 2013

Jay Owen Community Development Solutions

Dear Colleague,

Welcome to our May e-newsletter. This month we have a number of updates and features to bring you:

  • Today, May 8 from 4-6 pm (eastern) in Cambridge, MA, The Democracy Collaborative and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT present the findings of our recent case study: The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth. The report focuses on the path-breaking Vision 2010 program implemented in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio by University Hospitals that targeted more than $1 billion of procurement locally to create a “new normal” for responsible, community-focused business practices in the region. Among the speakers at the event will be Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and University Hospitals CEO Tom Zenty. For those who cannot join us in person, we hope you will participate via livewebcast.
  • The Democracy Collaborative is excited to begin work with the Northwest Area Foundationand several Native American tribes on a community economic development “Learning/Action Laboratory.”   The year-long program will provide high-impact training, education and entrepreneurial coaching to a cohort of the Foundation’s grantees in support of the Native Employee-owned Enterprise Pilot Project.

As always, we have added new links, articles, reports, and other materials to the site. Look for this symbol *NEW* to find the most recent additions.

Ted Howard
Executive Director, The Democracy Collaborative

New from The Democracy Collaborative

Community Wealth Building Action Agenda Offers Illinois a Path Forward

Last month, The Democracy Collaborative’s Executive Director Ted Howard presented testimony before Illinois’ Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. His presentation and companion brief outlined low-cost, high-return steps that could be implemented in Illinois to help build stronger communities. This action agenda would position the state as the leader in adopting a comprehensive community wealth building strategy, effectively leveraging its assets to help individuals build wealth, creating community-owned businesses that anchor resources in communities, and linking anchor institution procurement needs and public expenditures to community businesses. Read More»

Recommended Reads

Online Tool and Brief Outline Community Benefits After Healthcare Reform

The Hilltop Institute’s Hospital Community Benefit Program has released a new online resource, the Community Benefit State Law Profiles, and a companion brief, Hospital Community Benefits After the ACA: The State Law Landscape. The Profiles present a comprehensive analysis of each state’s community benefit landscape as defined by its laws, regulations, tax exemptions, and, in some cases, policies and activities of state executive agencies. As state policymakers and community stakeholders assess their state’s community benefit requirements (or the absence of such requirements) in the wake of national health reform, these tools provide a contextual basis for consideration of these policies and those of other states in comparison to federal community benefit benchmarks. Read More»

Access to Healthy Food Stimulates Economic Opportunity

A new report from PolicyLink examines the economic development benefits of improving healthy food access. Authors Erin Hagan and Victor Rubin argue that new grocery stores, corner stores, farmer’s markets, and other food retailers generate significant economic activity in all communities, and specifically in low-income communities. The report encourages researchers to consider the economic benefits (not just the health benefits) of innovations in food retail, distribution and production, such as financing incentives, urban agriculture, food hubs, and federal assistance programs. The report concludes by offering a series of recommendations to help understand and promote the economic benefits of improved access to healthy food. Read More» 

New Report Calls for Joint Action To Build a Just Economy

SolidarityNYC’s latest report Growing a Resilient City: Possibilities for Collaboration in New York City’s Solidarity Economypresents their vision for an interconnected economy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy where communities take control of their own development in a grassroots, bottom-up, and democratic manner. The result of a “listening and building process,” this report examines the challenges and possibilities for connecting organizations working towards social change from community credit unions to worker cooperatives. Responses were divided into the following categories: growing visibility, strengthening organizations, building economic power, building political power, and structures for collaboration. Read More»

Study Recommends Expanding Mortgages to Owners of Manufactured Homes

CFED’s national initiative Innovations in Manufactured Homes (I’M HOME) Loan Data Collection Project released its findings from a two-year study of more than $1.7 billion in manufactured home mortgages. Key findings from the study include analysis showing that mortgage performance for manufactured homes is comparable to similar site-built homes and sometimes actually outperforms them, and that mortgages for manufactured homes can be made with low down payments and alternative credit. The I’M HOME project is part of an effort to expand affordable mortgages to owners of manufactured homes and ensure that they have the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. Read More» 

C-W City: Albuquerque, NM

The 30th in our continuing series ofCommunity Wealth Cities is Albuquerque, New Mexico. The largest city in New Mexico and one of the country’s most culturally diverse, Albuquerque is a rapidly growing metropolis in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. Known as a hub for scientific and technological innovation — particularly in the energy sector — Albuquerque is also a center of Southwestern culture, with deep ties to its Native American heritage. Community wealth building organizations are working to protect this heritage and ensure that all residents equitably benefit in the face of rapid economic growth. Read More»

Featured Websites

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, this website ranks the overall health of each county in the United States and highlights the impact of social factors such as poverty on health outcomes. Utilizing a variety of indicators, including the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, unemployment, limited access to healthy foods, air and water quality, income, rates of smoking, obesity and teen births, these rankings offer a useful starting point for understanding the many determinants that influence the health of our communities. Find Out More»

Genuine Progress

A project of the Center for Sustainable Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies, the Genuine Progress Project works to shift our economic system away from using gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress. Instead, they offer the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) that considers economic, environmental and social factors, offering a more accurate picture of progress. With 26 indicators, including the costs of crime, pollution, commuting, inequality, as well as the value of education, volunteer work, leisure time, and infrastructure, the GPI is intended to help leaders understand the effects of policy decisions and how to build a more sustainable economy.Find Out More»

Community Health Needs Assessment

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CNHA) website is a free online tool to help hospitals, organizations, and community members better understand the needs and assets of their communities and to encourage collaboration to improve community health and well-being. Although geared primarily for hospitals and assisting organizations, this website also serves as a valuable resource for community development practitioners. The tool provides various resources that enable community stakeholders to develop strategies to improve community health, support the creation of a shared agenda for community development, and assist hospitals in conducting Community Health Needs Assessments. Find Out More»

Sawmill Community Land Trust

The Sawmill Community Land Trust formed in 1996 to purchase and remediate 27 acres on the site of a former particleboard factory in Albuquerque, NM in an effort to preserve affordability for working families near downtown. Sawmill now manages 34 acres of reclaimed industrial land where it has constructed 93 affordable single-family ownership homes and three affordable rental apartment complexes complete with community gardens, playgrounds and a plaza. By separating the ownership of the buildings from the ownership of the land, the land trust makes it possible for homeowners and other residents to benefit from secure housing without the risk of rising costs of escalating land value. Find Out More»