The Democracy Collaborative
a new understanding of democracy
The Democracy Collaborative focuses on the role community economic stability plays as an essential foundation of civic practice and democratic life. Few Americans are aware of the steady build-up of innovative community wealth building strategies throughout the United States. Community-Wealth.org brings together, for the first time, information about the broad range of community wealth building activity.
Across the United States, democratic, community wealth-building institutions have begun to multiply dramatically in number in recent years. Although many ventures are small in size, a number have already become a major presence in their communities and have implications for longer-term community change. The various efforts differ from traditional corporations, on the one hand, and small individually-owned businesses, on the other. For example:
* community development corporations have grown from a mere handful in the late 1960s to around 4,000 today;
* there are also now more than 11,000 employee-owned firms (ESOPs), which employ more people than workers in America's private sector labor unions;
* cooperatively-owned businesses involve more than 100 million members nationwide;
* nonprofit organizations have increasingly begun to initiate profit-making business enterprises to support their public service missions;
*in one of the fastest-growing and most interesting innovations, a host of local municipal enterprises that help anchor jobs and contribute to the tax base have gained the support of Republican and Democratic mayors alike.