Local Wealth Building – Part 1 of 2

measuring money

During the Illinois Task Force meeting on April 24, 2013, Ted Howard, co-founder and Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, discussed paths to community wealth building including, community-based cooperative businesses, university and community partnerships and anchor institutions (nonprofit institutions that once established tend not to move location).

Community-Based Cooperative Businesses
Mr. Howard showed a definite affinity for community-based cooperative businesses as he is responsible for developing a comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative of Cleveland, Ohio.  Focusing specifically on low-skilled, and therefore often low-wage, workers, he argues that co-ops provide increased earnings, better benefits and asset-building opportunities for these individuals.

Mr. Howard also discussed paths to community wealth building including, community-based cooperative businesses, university and community partnerships and anchor institutions (nonprofit institutions that once established tend not to move location).

Mr. Howard showed a definite affinity for community-based cooperative businesses as he is responsible for developing a comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

Meche Sansores of Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security (WAGES) in Oakland, CA, wrote an insightful piece about the economic benefits of cooperatives.  Focusing specifically on low-skilled, and therefore often low-wage, workers, Sansores argues that co-ops provide increased earnings, better benefits and asset-building opportunities for these individuals. This occurs because co-ops are democratically controlled and owned by their workers who then set company policies — from benefits to salary decisions.

Furthermore, as Sansores points out, co-ops distribute any profit among the workers-owners rather than simply the executives and unknown shareholders. Sharing in ownership of a business is a way for low-wage workers to build wealth and lift themselves out of poverty — when other, more “traditional” pathways out of poverty such as homeownership and investing are not available to them.

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When not reading, working or attending conferences and networking events, I am supporting my favorite charities: Teen Living Programs where I am a mentor, committee member and Executive Board member and YWCA Chicago where I am an Associate Board Member. I am passionate about causes related to supporting youth, women and families. Particularly in the areas of education, employment, violence intervention, social services and housing. With a keen intuition on helping people tap into their brilliance,  I am passionate about helping people grow. I can be reached at sherryclayton78@gmail.com if you would like to know more about my charities or this blog.

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Categories: Finance, Social

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