Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth

New Democracy Collaborative Report: A New Anchor Mission for a New Century
Community foundations deploying all resources to build community wealth

Across the country, community foundations are adopting innovative strategies to catalyze community economic development and drive transformative local investment. This is a new anchor mission, using their placed based resources to build community wealth.

Why are these community foundations moving in this direction? What exactly are they doing? In our new report, Democracy Collaborative Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly and Community Development Associate Violeta Duncan explore how community foundations are moving beyond simply disbursing grants toward a leadership or catalytic role in economic development, and are moving beyond paper returns in their asset portfolios to locally focused experiments in impact investing.

Through on-the-ground stories, A New Anchor Mission for a New Century examines the motives guiding this work, as well as the benefits, barriers, strategies employed, and steps involved in getting started. We share thoughts from leaders in the field on how this work might best evolve over time, and highlight the trailblazing work of 30 representative community foundations—the “Innovative 30.”

Download and read the report now

And make sure to join Marjorie Kelly and Violeta Duncan on Thursday, December 4th, at 2PM EST, for a national launch webinar exploring the conclusions of the report and highlighting exciting best practices from community foundations across the country.

Alexandria VA bike coop on the radio today

Christian Myers, Founder of Velocity Bike Shop Appears on Everything Coop on 11/6/2014

Tune in to WOL 1450 AM, tomorrow, on November 6, at 10:30 a.m. for Everything Coop, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon Interviews Christian Myers, Founder and Manager of Velocity Bike Shop. Vernon and Christian will discuss training programs, new initiatives, and the business behind the bike coop.

The mission of the Velocity Bike Shop Cooperative is to educate, encourage, and empower a vibrant and inclusive cycling community through learning. The Coop provides a non-profit, volunteer-run, educational do-it-yourself workshop offering training, rides, and events to empower all levels of cyclists in building, maintaining, and embracing the fun of bicycles.

To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio

Congratulations, Jessica Gordon Nembhard!

Jessica Gordon Nembhard has been awarded the Oni Award at this year’s International Black Women’s Congress:

The Oni Award symbolizes the essence of all that is good in African People. The word ONI is taken from the Ife culture of Nigeria. It represents a spiritual force that protects the people.  A recipient of the Oni Award has been identified as someone who protects, defends and enhances the general well-being of African people. A recipient of the ONI is diligent, persistent and uncompromising. We like to think of her as our unsung heroine.

Read her recent article “The Cooperative Solution”:

Cooperative businesses are also stable, community-based business anchors: Cooperative businesses have higher survival rates than traditional corporations and small businesses after the first year of startup and after five years in business. In addition, evidence shows that cooperatives successfully address the effects of crises and survive crises better than other types of enterprises.

From the employment angle, cooperatives, especially worker cooperatives, create not just jobs, but high-quality jobs. They tend to lead their industries in wage levels and benefits. In addition, as owners of the business, worker-owners share in the surplus (or profits) of the enterprise. Many worker cooperatives provide annual dividends to worker-owners, which increase the compensation level and also symbolize the member’s ownership. They enable their owners to not only generate income, but accumulate assets—equity in the cooperative—promoting economic independence.

Read the full article here:


New Book on Community, Cooperation and the Commons

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is an overview of the commons heritage which unearths and identifies pivotal commons practices within self-organizing, self-governing and self-informing principles, and brings them to the forefront of society today.

Students will find two comprehensive chapters on the Tragedy of the Commons, as well as eight specific capacity building practices and a manifesto exploring eight historical frames for current activism.

This overview is intended for students studying economics, politics, sociology, environmentalism, and history. Rich in historical detail, Reclaiming the Commons uncovers a denigrated piece of history, selectively culls elements that could be usefully revived today and ends with a vision in which some promising current initiatives, such as permaculture and the Occupy Movement, take on a deeper significance.

Heather Menzies is an award-winning writer and scholar and the author of nine books, including Whose Brave New World? and No Time. She has been awarded an honourary doctorate and the Order of Canada for her “contributions to public discourse.” A mother and grandmother, a gardener and social-justice activist, Heather regularly contributes to journals and newspapers, and is in high demand as a speaker, offering a thoughtful critique of our disintegrating social fabric.

Praise for Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

“It’s an admirable, even noble, vision, and expresses very eloquently what will have to be done if humanity is to escape the current race towards disaster. There’s not much time, and it’s a huge risk. I hope that this book has the impact it deserves.”
—Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, political theorist, MIT

“When the great Crash, ecologic or economic, comes, Heather Menzies’ brilliant critique, provides an understanding of why it came about and a path towards a truly sustainable way for humanity to live on the planet.”
—David Suzuki, author, Wisdom of the Elders and The Sacred Balance


Group House Olympics!

Hello Former (& hopefully future) Olympians, Community Junkies, and Potluck Pals:
I hereby light the torch for this fall’s Group House Olympics.
Now in its’ fourth gathering, the GHO brings community-minded folks together for friendly competition between group houses across the DC metro area. This fall’s Games will run from Saturday, October 18 to Sunday, November 9. During these three weeks, participants will gather at events hosted by each house. Yes, there are medals. The podium is secondary to having fun, getting to know each community, and developing relationships that last beyond the Games.
Are you fired up and ready to go? Register your house by Sunday, October 5.
Never participated in the GHO or don’t know what it is? It’s open to anyone and easy to participate:

1. Read this handy dandy flyer:
2. Register your house (or just yourself if you don’t live in group house):
3. After you register your house, fill out the
We hope to see you all for the Opening Ceremonies Potluck and Event on Saturday, October 18 at Noon.
a BIG PS. Please forward this email to others (houses and individuals) that you think would be interested. Let’s widen our circles to include more families, communities of color, and DC area native residents.

in community,

Brett Wiley and the rest of Team Maitri, host of the fall 2014 Games and overall gold medalists of the winter 2014 Games

Cooperative book endorsed by Vandana Shiva

Capital and the Debt Trap: Learning from Cooperatives in the Global Crisis

By Claudia Sanchez Bajo and Bruno Roelants

Palgrave MacMillan (2013)

The recent financial crisis has had a devastating impact around the globe. Thousands of businesses have closed down and millions of jobs have been cut. Many people have lost their homes. Capital and the Debt Trap explains how key economies have fallen into a ‘debt trap’, linking the financial sphere to the real economy, and goes beyond, looking into alternatives to the constant stream of financial bubbles and shocks. Overlooked by many, cooperatives across the world have been relatively resilient throughout the crisis. Through four case studies (the transformation of a French industrial SME in crisis into a cooperative, a fishery cooperative in Mexico, the Desjardins Cooperative Group in Quebec and the Mondragon Group in the Basque country of Spain), the book explores their strategies and type of control, providing an in-depth analysis within a broader debate on wealth generation and a sustainable future.

Vandana Shiva, the internationally known environment activist, recently wrote: “We have been falsely made to believe that competition is the way nature and society work. However, greed and competition are dis-values imposed by corporate rule. Both nature and society work on the principles of co-operation. In CAPITAL AND THE DEBT TRAP – Learning from Cooperatives in the Global Crisis Bruno Roelants and Claudia Sanchez Bajo show us how an economy based on co-operation can address the deep crisis we face.”

Earlier endorsements. Vandana Shiva’s recent endorsement comes after other ones received from a number of academics, among whom Noam Chomsky (MIT, USA), James Galbraith (Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, USA), Jean Ziegler (University of Geneva), Paul Singer (University of São Paulo, presently Brazilian Secretary of State for the Solidarity Economy), Louis Favreau (Université du Québec, Canada), George Irvin (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), Robin Murray (London School of Economics), Stephen Yeo (previously Principal of Ruskin College, Oxford), Yves Cabannes (University College London), Peter Davies (University of Leicester, UK), and Anis Chowdhury (Western Sydney University, Australia). The late Prof. Ian MacPherson from Victoria University, Canada, drafted the foreword of the book.

How to buy the book? The book can be purchased directly from the Palgrave website at: The cost for the second paperback edition (December 2013 under a paperback format for the price of 19.99 British Pounds (around 22.7 € or 31.3 US$). For academic institutions in North America, the book can also be ordered through Raincoast or Indigo, or through Ashton Quinn, the Palgrave university representative in North America (

Blog and Facebook page. You are welcome to visit the book blog at , to read new comments and texts on the book, but also to leave your own comments. You can also follow us on facebook at

About the authors:

§ Claudia Sanchez Bajo, PhD in Development Studies (ISS, The Hague), is Chair in Cooperative Enterprises at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. She previously taught in The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, China and several Latin American countries at pre-graduate and MA levels, and published among other titles: “The political Economy of Regionalism – Business Actors in Mercosur in the Petrochemical and Steel Sectors” (2001) and contributed to the book “The Political Economy of Regions and Regionalism” (Shaw, Boas and Marchand. Eds., Palgrave 2005).

§ Bruno Roelants, Master in Labour Studies (ISS, The Hague), is Secretary General of CICOPA, the sectoral organization of the International Cooperative Alliance for industrial, handicraft and service cooperatives, and its European organization CECOP CICOPA-Europe. He was previously responsible for cooperative development projects in China, India and Central and Eastern Europe. He coordinated the cooperative organisations in the negotiations in 2001-2002 in Geneva on the ILO Recommendation 193 on the promotion of cooperatives. He has taught on cooperatives and local development in Italy. He has edited “Cooperatives and Social Enterprises – Governance and Normative Frameworks” (CECOP, 2009), and is a co-author of “Cooperatives, Territories and Jobs” (CECOP, 2011).

Interview with Executive Dir. of The Cooperative Development Foundation on 9/25 at 10:30 am WOL 1450 AM

This week Vernon interviews Leslie Mead, Executive Director of The Cooperative Development Foundation (CDC). Vernon and Ms. Mead will discuss the 2014 Cooperative Hall of FameThe Co-op 5K Race/Walk, and other initiatives of CDC.

Mead has 30 years of experience with cooperative organizations, most recently serving as president of The Cooperative Foundation, a private foundation based in St. Paul, MN. She began her career with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and served as the executive administrator of the Association of Cooperative Educators, an international organization of cooperative educators and developers.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University School of Law — Bloomington.  She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two sons.

Vernon Oakes is President of Oakes Management Inc. As President, he has renovated and managed his own properties, and those owned by other entities since 1985. Mr. Oakes is the immediate Past President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, and serves on several boards to advance the interests of cooperatives. He is also a former coordinator of the MBA program at Howard University, and an MBA graduate of Stanford University, who has used his business acumen to benefit the community by providing quality housing for all populations. Vernon is a consummate advocate for cooperatives.

Don’t miss this opportunity join a lively informative conversation. Click Here To find out more about The Cooperative Development Foundation. To listen live online Click Here!
or Click Here! to Listen on your cell phone with Tune-in Radio