Below is a listing of a few organizations with whom I have been affiliated with—either as a rank-and-file member, a volunteer, a board member, or an employee.
The Anchor Institutions Task Force (AITF) brings over 700 people drawn from universities, hospitals, community foundations, libraries, arts institutions, and other anchors working to benefit their surrounding communities. Steve has been affiliated with the organization since its founding, participating in the initial group, led by Ira Harkavy, that, in December 2008,wrote a position paper (later published as a book chapter) on how the Obama administration might better integrate universities into its community economic development policies.
The Association of Cooperative Educators—better known as ACE—brings together three unique audiences: university professors who study cooperatives, co-op education staff within cooperatives, and co-op developers. Steve has served for several years on the organization’s conference planning committee. ACE draws an international crowd, with most participants coming from Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico.
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies—better known as “BALLE”—seeks to serve as a network weaver of community economy builders across the United States and Canada. Steve was a member of their third fellowship class in 2014 and remain deeply connected to this network. Working with impact investors, community foundation leaders, and local community builders, BALLE is tackling the tough questions of how do you address the cultural challenges and build, for real, the relationships that can make community-based economies effective. You can read more about the fellowship network here.
Founded in 2007, the Center for Community-Based Enterprise—better known as “C2BE”—provides legal, financial, product development, marketing and self-management expertise to create living-wage jobs through worker ownership in any of its forms—particularly among historically under-served populations in Detroit. Steve has been on its board since 2010. After wandering in the philanthropic wilderness for years, C2BE began to attract foundation support in 2014 and is currently providing technical assistance to a wide range of community-based and worker-ownership developing businesses.
The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive—better known as CoFED—provides technical assistance to college students seeking to build co-op food businesses that bring healthy food to their campuses while promoting thriving, equitable, and resilient local economies. Steve has been a board member of CoFED since it created its very first board in 2011.
This site, which Steve helped develop (the original text for the site was basically built out from the bibliography of the 2005 Building Wealth book that Steve was the lead author on), is operated by The Democracy Collaborative and provides an overview of the broad scope of the field of community wealth building and community-based economic development.
CooperationWorks! is a national organization of cooperative development centers and practitioners that span the breadth of the United States. The goal of the organization is to make technical assistance resources available to cooperative developers. Steve was elected to the organization’s board in 2016 and looks forward to working with the network to expand operations and better realize its mission.
The Democracy Collaborative seeks to address the root causes of economic inequality and rebuild local economies along more just, equitable and sustainable lines. Steve worked at the Collaborative from 2004 to 2016 and retains an affiliation as a senior fellow. The Collaborative has been an innovator in developing partnerships with nonprofit and publicly owned “anchor institutions” (e.g., hospitals, universities, and local government) as well as developing the theory of community wealth building (using community ownership of land and business to build wealth, especially in communities of color and low-income communities).
Founded in 2001 by anthropologist Alayne Unterberger, the Florida Institute for Community Studies — or FICS—is based on the simple, yet complicated idea that maybe community members should co-design the programs that are meant to “help” them. Combining community leadership, activism, research and education, FICS has been working with the diverse communities of Hillsborough County to do exactly that, with a focus on Latino communities in both West (Town N Country) and South (Wimauma) Hillsborough County. Steve was briefly on staff at FICS in 2003-2004 and served on their board of directors from 2008 to 2010.
This small but mighty collective has been in continuous operation since 1973. Steve joined Groundwork in 1989 and was a collective member and co-manager at this worker-run bookstore campus for about eight years while attending graduate school at the University of California, San Diego (including a year or so after completing his studies). Steve was first exposed to worker ownership, consensus decision making and collective theory as a member of the collective.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation—better known as LISC—is one of the primary intermediary organizations that provide lending and technical assistance to community development corporations in cities across the United States (Enterprise Community Partners and NeighborWorks America do similar work). In 2003, Steve volunteered for LISC, interviewing community organizations in the Tampa Bay Area to assess community needs and resources.
The National Alliance of Community Economic Development—better known as NACEDA—is a national grouping of state and local groupings of community development corporations. Steve has participated in NACEDA since its founding and has served at times on different committees, including its policy committee and, most recently, in 2016 served on the planning committee for a national conference on the connection of community economic development and hospitals.
The New Economy Coalition brings together a network of 175 organizations to connect leaders to tackle common challenges in their work to build a new economy and weave a narrative that can build shared identity, shift culture and policy, and promote a clear vision of a community-based economic system. Steve was part of a team (including folks from COWS, Demos and Institute for Local Self-Reliance) that organized a course track on what was labeled the New Economy Action Project at the organization’s biennial conference in Buffalo in July 2016.
An ambitious project, the idea is to provide a forum that can provide a place to think about how best to tackle the systemic issues that stand in the way of fully addressing major social challenges, such as climate change, racial and gender stratification, and economic inequality. Steve, working with Gar Alperovitz, helped lay a lot of the groundwork for this project, which to date has generated videos, a slew of conferences, as well as nearly two dozen publications.
The North American Students of Cooperation—better known as NASCO—has been a binational (U.S and Canada) network of campus and community housing and retail co-ops since 1968. I served as their executive director from 2000 to 2003, was on their board from 2006 to 2008, and continue to support the organization as an alumni advisor.
Plant City Community Development Corporation (PCCDC) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization established in 2005. I worked with them back in 2003 and 2004 as a consultant before they incorporated and, while founder Ernest Barefield did the overwhelming majority of the work, I like to think I played at least a small role in helping getting this group to launch.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, the Takoma Park Silver Spring food cooperative or TPSS is based in Takoma Park, Maryland (a close-in suburb of Washington DC). The co-op has a staff that speaks well over a dozen languages and serves the diverse community of Takoma Park and Silver Spring, Maryland. Steve served on its board for three years and remains a member-owner of the cooperative. The co-op has been thriving economically and is currently working with a local developer and the City (which owns adjacent land) to double its floor space.
Steve worked as a researcher in the organizing department of the United Steelworkers union in 1999 and 2000. Work included mapping manufacturing enterprises in Los Angeles and working on a hospital worker organizing campaign in Florence, Alabama. Steve is proud of the leadership that the Steelworkers have shown in partnering with Mondragón, the world’s largest worker cooperative, to bring the concept of “union co-ops” to the United States and Canada.