The Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) is a public agency that owns over 1,500 affordable housing units and serves 11,000 people on an annual basis. Focused on providing quality housing and supportive services to people living in the Tacoma area, THA develops housing and real estate, owns and manages affordable housing units, provides rent assistance to those in need, and supportive services to ensure its tenants can succeed. Recognizing that successful schools are necessary to ensure children’s success and the creation of strong, healthy neighborhoods, THA launched its Education Project, which is now in an experimental phase. One Project initiative is a children’s savings account program, which provides students living in New Salishan with a $50 post-secondary education savings account, matched savings to incentivize family deposits, and financial literacy programs.
Harvest Pierce County aims to engage Pierce County residents in a just and healthy food system. Through its Community Garden program, Harvest Pierce County helps develop new gardens, orchards, and food projects; boosts the capacity of garden volunteers and community gardens through training, networking opportunities, one-on-one support, and other resources; and plans events to engage the broader community in its work. About half of Pierce County’s 70+ community gardens are located in Tacoma, 11 of which are on city-owned lots. To help the gardens thrive, the City donates TAGRO, its organic gardening product made from recycled wastewater byproducts.
Established in 2016 to ensure that the growth of downtown Chicago catalyzes equitable development across the city, Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund uses revenue from downtown developments to finance commercial and cultural projects in neighborhoods lacking private investment. The fund aims to support projects that will have a catalytic impact on the neighborhood and lead to the development of new commercial spaces or cultural establishments. Included in the criteria used to select grantees is a project’s impact on community wealth, which includes an assessment of how communities benefit from the project and the extent to which local entrepreneurs, property owners, and residents are included. The Fund’s first round of grants is expected to disburse about $4 million.
Launched in 2016, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) focuses on helping Atlanta women business owners succeed. To do so, it provides free incubator space to grow their businesses and workshops and mentorship to emerging and future women entrepreneurs. Its incubator program currently includes 15 women, all of whom have been operating small Atlanta businesses for at least 2 years.
As the City’s official economic development authority, Invest Atlanta works to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness to create increased opportunity and prosperity for city residents. It administers a range of loan programs to support small business. For instance, its Opportunity Loan Program provides gap financing to Atlanta small and medium-sized businesses that create at least five new jobs. Established to catalyze job creation, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization in underserved areas of Atlanta, its New Markets Catalyst Fund is a revolving loan program that provides loans to businesses in designated low-income census tracks. In 2015, Invest Atlanta made loans to 21 small businesses, investments credited with leveraging $2.5 million in development activity.
New Haven’s Small Contractor Development Program aims to help grow the city’s small minority and women-owned businesses by providing them with technical assistance, mentoring, networking, and targeted opportunities. All city construction contracts of $150,000 or less are reserved for contractors registered in the program, and larger contracts have a 25 percent small subcontractor requirement. The program also includes a loan program to help small contractors finance preliminary material and payroll costs up to $100,000.
New Haven’s Livable City Initiative (LCI) is the City’s neighborhood-focused effort to enhance the experience of those who live and work in New Haven. To do so, LCI focuses on enforcing housing code and public space requirements and on implementing programs and public improvements to support high quality, affordable, energy efficient housing and safer, healthier, more attractive communities. To help attract and retain residents, its Re New Haven initiative packages up to $80,000 in incentives for new homeowners, including $10,000 for down payment assistance, up to $30,000 for energy saving renovations, and full-tuition at in-state schools for public school graduates.
Developed over a two-year planning process by the Office of the Mayor, numerous city agencies, and eight Baltimore-based universities and hospitals, the Baltimore City Anchor Plan is concrete action plan that defines the mutual commitments of the City and participating anchors in four priority areas: public safety, local hiring, local purchasing, and quality of life. The plan is organized around geographic sectors to encourage collaboration, partnerships, and targeted investments that could produce greater impacts and also to help the City provide information to anchors about ongoing City investments and activities in a more coordinated and comprehensive manner. In 2015, the city awarded grant funding to four projects involving its anchor partners, including an effort spearheaded by Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to conduct merchant organizing, business development and recruitment, and marketing in an area suffering from disinvestment.
Florida International University Metropolitan Center
This feasibility study conducted by the Florida International University Metropolitan Center outlines opportunities to promote broad-based prosperity and economic growth in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Recognizing the importance of addressing wealth inequality, the study highlights best practices that promote economic mobility and greater equity. The authors include a “Preliminary Action Agenda” which suggests directing up to $10 million to create a social enterprise accelerator, a community benefit agreement ordinance, a children’s saving account program, and an employee-owned business development program:
In this article for the Academy of Management Perspectives, Steve Dubb, Director of Special Projects at the Democracy Collaborative, writes a comprehensive review on community wealth building strategies, progress, and implementation in local communities:
In partnership with Northland College's Center for Rural Communities and WITC, a League Forum features Sarah McKinley, Manager of Community Development Programs at the Democracy Collaborative. She presents on her research and travels around the US visiting cities who noted for their innovative strategies resulting in growing more prosperous local communities. Read more about "Building Community Wealth" Forum featuring Sarah McKinley...
Approved in 2014, Madison’s Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation & Business Development plan authorizes the city to spend $1 million a year from 2016 to 2020 on worker-owned business development—making it the largest allocation toward cooperative development by a U.S. municipality to date. Policymakers intend for the funding to catalyze job creation and general economic development in the city. Read more about Co-operative Enterprises for Job Creation & Business Development...
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announces an amazing city initiative to build community wealth. We've been working with the Rochester municipal government to develop a plan to uplift communities by investing in worker-owned businesses, inspired in part by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. As this article from Next City describes, the plan involves the creation of a community-owned and -operated "Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation" to oversee the effort.