New State & Local Policies

6 Steps to Build Community Wealth

Anna Birley

This new guide, published by the UK’s Co-Operative Party, outlines the steps needed to develop a community wealth building ecosystem. Aimed at local officials and public-sector institutions, the guide provides information on these steps, from developing leadership to shifting procurement, a background on community wealth building, a case study of this approach in Preston, England, and recommendations for actions localities can take. 

Boston Worker Cooperative Initiative

The Boston Worker Cooperative Initiative aims to reduce economic inequality and help Boston residents build wealth by supporting cooperatives and other worker-owned businesses.  Tools to boost and grow worker-owned businesses include on-site technical assistance, small business loans, and general workshops to introduce entrepreneurs and businesses to cooperative models.  To help promote existing worker-owned businesses in the Greater Boston area, the City created an online, interactive map as well as charts broken down by key industries/sectors highlighting Boston employee-owned businesses.

Bridging the Two Americas: Employment & Economic Opportunity in Newark & Beyond

Demelza Baer and Ryan P. Haygood

While Newark, New Jersey is home to several major Fortune 500 companies, local residents are largely excluded from this economic growth and hold only 18 percent of all jobs in the city. This new report, published by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, explores the origins of this economic divide, which predominantly affects communities of color, noting a history of discrimination and an absence of pathways to middle-skill jobs. The report calls on the City to implement local hiring provisions for city contracts and calls on anchor institutions to develop local hiring and procurement strategies.

Stimulating Smart Investments and Job Creation in Low-Income Communities

Advancement Project , Community Voices Heard, People United for Sustainable Housing and Syracuse United Neighbors

Stimulating Smart Investments and Job Creation in Low-Income Communities

Advancement Project , Community Voices Heard, People United for Sustainable Housing and Syracuse United Neighbors

Jacksonville’s Community Wealth Building Roundtable: Local Government Convenes to Seed a New Idea for Community Development

Michelle Barth

A detailed look at how a municipal government can plan and carry out a successful community wealth building roundtable, from the perspective of the Mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff in Jacksonville, Florida.

Equitable Investments in the Next Generation: Designing Policies to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Meschede, Thomas Shapiro, Dedrick Asante-Muhammed and Emanuel Nieves

Median Latino and Black households have over $100,000 less in wealth than median White households, a disparity that persists despite reductions in income inequality. This new report from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and CFED puts forward a “racial wealth audit” framework, assessing how specific policies either lessen or inadvertently perpetuate the racial wealth gap. The authors call for “targeted universalism” noting that policies such as Children’s Savings Account and eliminating student debt will only successfully address the racial wealth gap if they focus in particular on low income households.

Maine Islanders Band Together to Preserve a Way of Life

Gloria J. LaBrecque

As owners of a valued island business began to think about retiring, the idea of helping their loyal workers form a co-op had real appeal. 

Policy Change for Local Living Economies: Practical Strategies for Champions of Change

David Brodwin

The work of building a vibrant local economy requires up-to-date government policies and responsive government processes. This report offers suggestions for would-be change agents to identify the best initiatives and work with local governments on their implementation. 

State Future Funds: Jumpstarting Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy and Transportation Infrastructure

Cathleen Kelly

The reality is that state and local governments—and communities—are on the front lines when it comes to coping with crumbling and outdated infrastructure, traffic congestion, air pollution, more extreme weather driven by climate change, and growing inequities. Congress has the power to provide state and local officials with a remedy to the pressing on-the-ground challenges they confront daily. Specifically, by creating State Future Funds, Congress can support state and local efforts to build low-carbon and resilient infrastructure, strengthen communities and grow opportunities for all to prosper. 

Job Creation for the Disadvantaged: A Review of State and Local Efforts

Karen Chapple and Robert P. Giloth

This paper examines current job creation practices, surveying the federal government response, think-tank proposals, and related programs in all fifty states. Given the failure of most to reach the least advantaged communities, we then propose an alternative set of approaches in three areas: sectoral strategies, entrepreneurship, and tax and employment policy. A conclusion discusses the challenge of generating and implementing new ideas for job creation. 

Equitable Development: The Path to an All-In Pittsburgh

Sarah Treuhaft
PolicyLink, Urban Innovation 21, Neighborhood Allies

Despite a recent development boom, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has experienced growing racial gaps in poverty, wages and employment over the past five years. This new joint report from PolicyLink, NeighborhoodAllies and Urban Innovation 21 sets forth an agenda for equitable development that prioritizes low-income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and others who have so far been excluded from Pittsburgh’s economic growth. Recommendations include expanding the use of community land trusts, leveraging anchor institution spending, and implementing diverse and local hiring and purchasing requirements for public projects:


Participatory Budgeting: Next Generation Democracy

This new white paper from the Participatory Budgeting Project discusses how governments can use participatory budgeting (PB) as a tool to foster civic participation, ensure more accountable and fair decision-making processes, and develop innovative policy solutions. The paper provides a broad overview of how PB works and highlights successes from the more than 3,000 PB efforts implemented across the United States. The paper includes perspectives from: New York City, where low-income residents represented 40 percent of participants in PB processes (compared with 29 percent for previous local elections); Boston, which has developed a youth-led PB process; and Greensboro, North Carolina, the first PB effort in the American south.


Launched in 2010 by the Baltimore Green Currency Association (BGCA), a group striving to create an alternative economy to strengthen local businesses, create jobs, encourage the formation of local supply chains, and ultimately provide economic opportunity and increased resilience to communities underserved by traditional economic structures, the BNote is a local currency accepted at over 230 independent Baltimore businesses.  As of February 2016, over 40,000 BNotes were in circulation.  Originally issued in denominations of one and five, in the spring of 2016 BGCA released its second series of notes, which include 10 and 20 notes and feature two prominent Baltimore women, Bea Gaddy and Lillie May Carroll Jackson.

Just Utilities: Organizing for solutions to the household energy crisis

Peggy Kahn and William Hoynes

This new paper from Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a New York-based grassroots organization and member of the Right to the City Alliance, calls for “utilities justice”—the right to have affordable, accessible, healthy, and community-controlled energy. It examines the ways in which communities and families in Poughkeepsie, New York are burdened by energy insecurity and notes racial and income disparities. Recommendations put forth address affordability and access to renewables and weatherization resources, as well as local and common ownership of energy sources. The authors also list strategic advantages for utilities justice community organizing.