By Sustainable Economies Law Center Executive Director, Janelle Orsi
Imagine that a group of people works hard to fill their neighborhood with urban farms, bike lanes, parks, murals, community services, and education programs. Next, imagine that those same people are forced to move away. Ouch, that bites.
Sadly, this is real: Improving the livability of a previously disinvested neighborhood creates opportunities for speculators, landlords, and developers to increase rents and drive up the cost of property, often causing displacement of the very people who made the neighborhood livable to begin with.Read more
By Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Summer Intern, Adrien Salazar
Communities of color have played and continue to play a pivotal role in realizing alternative economies in response to chronic economic exclusion in the United States. The history of civil rights is entwined with the history of cooperative economics in the United States. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, in her book Collective Courage, demonstrates this history in her account of black cooperatives and collectives in the United States. Nembhard documents the many black communities that organized cooperatives by necessity to build economic power in marginalized communities.Read more
In a world that desperately needs change, what if we could unleash the full changemaking potential of nonprofit organizations everywhere? It’s time to explore the power of worker self-directed nonprofits (WSDNs) to cultivate more diverse leaders, accountable organizations, and equitable workplaces that represent the same values of justice and democracy that we work to create in the world.Read more
Photo: courtesy of Josephine
Sarah Kessler of Fast Company covers the obstacles facing home-cooks and the online platforms they use. She follows the story of the start up Josephine, and what they're doing to change the laws of homemade food regulation so that they can resume operations. Sustainable Economies Law Center and our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is mentioned briefly.Read more
We did it! Our People-Powered Economies campaign raised over $30k in 30 days through the incredible generosity and commitment of almost 300 supporters! We also received a full $6,000 match from the Fund 4 Democratic Communities: $100 for all 60 of our new recurring monthly donors. Thanks so much to our amazing community of friends, allies, and community members -- this is what #PeoplePoweredEconomies look like!Read more
Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Fall and Spring Legal Intern, Simon Mont, reflects on his experience researching - and participating in - a worker self-directed nonprofit.
I didn’t know much about SELC’s governance structure when I began interning. All I knew is that I had been offered the position by the founder of the organization, Janelle Orsi, but that she needed to check with the staff to make sure it was OK to bring me on. She mentioned that SELC had some sort of collaborative governance but didn’t really go into. A few days later, she suggested that I read “Reinventing Organizations” by Frederic Laloux in order to prepare for my position. The book described how the philosophy and structure of human organizations has changed over time, and how that shift relates to human development and our understandings of who we are and how we relate to others. As I read its account of innovative organizations that blend empowerment, democracy, and teamwork to succeed, I got a bit more insight into exactly what I was getting myself into. I started to understand that SELC’s vision for a new economy didn’t just require us to do new things; we had to do them in new ways.Read more
Cooperative economies aren't created in a vacuum, nor do they take root without the participation of broader community involvement. Every year during the month of May, we ask our friends, families, and allies to become monthly contributing members of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and support the cultivation of the legal roots of just and resilient economies.Read more