By Simon Mont, Organizational Design Fellow //
How can nonprofits and movement workers committed to social transformation embody the change we want to see and become more effective, accountable, and equitable as we do it? In late September 2017, thirty-eight people from eighteen different organizations based in ten different states came together to answer this question and learn how to effectively govern, manage, and coordinate their organizations. Over three days, the gathered organizations each contributed to training, knowledge sharing, and relationship building to prepare the soil for a vibrant community of support for these organizations and more long into the future: it was the beginning of the Nonprofit Democracy Network (NPDN).Read more
A team of worker cooperative members, stewarded by the Sustainable Economies Law Center, successfully amended California State's worker's compensation law in favor of worker cooperatives. The law, SB 189, includes a provision that allows cooperatives to claim exemption from workers' compensation requirements under certain conditions. SB 189 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown last month and will go into effect July 1, 2018.Read more
Three years ago we set out to make it possible for communities to own their energy. And boy did we run into some strange things along the way!
Before introducing those peculiarities, first some background: If people could own their energy, they’d be more secure - both financially and infrastructurally. We could save money and increase our ability to bounce back after natural disasters by producing clean, decentralized energy in our own communities. If ordinary people could put their money toward renewables, instead of investing in fossil fuels on Wall Street, we’d also speed up our response to climate change.
Sacramento, California – Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that would require California officials to focus on and address the challenges facing farmers of color in the state by making access to state and federal resources more equitable. This comes at a critical moment as the current generation of farmers is retiring and new farmers are increasingly represented by people of color, including immigrants and refugees.Read more
If we don’t want our organizations and movements to replicate the oppressive power dynamics of the dominant culture, let’s design for the power relations we do want. This week, we are incredibly excited to host nearly 40 people from 17 social justice organizations from across the country for the three-day launch of the Nonprofit Democracy Network - a community of practice, organizational development training program, and peer support network for nonprofit organizations that want to deepen democracy within their organizations and make our movements for justice more participatory, responsive, and leaderful.
The Sustainable Economies Law Center (Law Center) is proud to be a sponsor of ComCap17, a national conference on community capital being held in Monterey, CA, September 10-13, 2017. Leaders and changemakers in the community capital movement will come together in Monterey to discuss and share knowledge, tools, and strategies for harnessing the collective wealth of a community and increasing access to capital.
Check out the conference schedule to see all of the exciting and timely topics on the conference agenda. For example, our Executive Director, Janelle Orsi, is a keynote speaker and will talk about The New Meaning of Equity, and our State Policy Director, Christina Oatfield, will be participating in a working group titled Why California Doesn't Have A Crowdfunding Law? Let's Make it Happen. Janelle and Christina will both be participating in a panel discussion on Financing the Legal Food Economy-Farms to Fisheries. And that is not all--the Law Center is holding a Community Capital and Legal Cafe, modeled off our popular Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, during which participants will have an opportunity to chat with us about raising community capital for their community-based or cooperative enterprise ideas.
We are excited that so many of our collaborators and supporters are scheduled to be there too, including: Marco Vangelisti, Founder of Essential Knowledge for Transition; Kim Arnone, Brian Beckon, and John Katovich from Cutting Edge Capital; Michael Shuman, Economist, Author, and Law Center Advisor; Arno Hesse, Founder of Credibles, Amy Cortese, Author and Founder of Locavesting.com; and many more.
Feeling inspired to hear and connect with this jam-packed schedule of speakers? Come join us in Monterey, CA, September 10-13, 2017.
Get 25% off the full conference pass when you purchase your ticket HERE!
By Christina Oatfield, Policy Director //
After the 2008 economic recession, banks were more conservative about lending and the general public was more aware of the flaws in our financial institutions and related regulations. Since then, small businesses, start-ups, nonprofits, investors, and ordinary folks with modest savings have shown growing interest in fundraising strategies such as crowdfunding, crowdinvesting, direct public offerings (DPOs), and community capital. These strategies all involve raising money from a large number of supporters, through donations or investment dollars from the business owner's friends and family, customers, and members of the broader community who want the business to succeed. Community members who have a personal interest in or see the value of a local business are often willing to take more risk or a more modest return on their investment than would a financial institution or investment professional who seek to maximize profits above all else. This is just one reason why beginning farmers might find community capital attractive.Read more