When things fall apart, we come together. Help us create #PeoplePoweredEconomies now!
We need to raise $20,000 this December to close a budget shortfall and continue our work in 2017.
If every one of our supporters gave $3.60 right now, we'd reach our goal!
A Letter from our Co-Founder, Janelle Orsi
If you’re like most people, you’ve had a mix of emotions since Election Day. Some combination of “Nooooo,” “Aaaaaaaaugh,” and “Ok, let’s get to work” seems to sum up a lot of what I’ve been hearing.
It may seem like we face problems of unfathomable dimensions in a sharply divided political climate, but here’s an important reminder: Most solutions are local in dimension and practical in nature. Across the political spectrum, communities want to look around and see thriving local farms, vibrant small businesses, good workplaces, and stable housing. It hardly feels political, because it’s just practical!
The election results prompted a good deal of reflection at Sustainable Economies Law Center, and now we are more driven than ever to make our vision of more just and resilient local economies a reality across the country. If we search for the root of extremism, racism, and other -isms exaggerated in our recent election, I believe we would find feelings of powerlessness and fear. The Law Center’s work gets to that root by building power at the community level and creating stable local economies that provide for people in the long-term. We are:
1. Localizing livelihoods: We work to give everyone control over their own livelihoods. In 2017, our Law Center will work to legalize homemade meal businesses and small compost enterprises. We are also helping protect small businesses across the U.S. by supporting their conversion to worker cooperatives as aging owners retire.
2. Creating permanent housing, farmland, and energy: In our quest for stable futures, many people are drawn to the concept of “permanence.” While nothing is truly permanent, the Law Center is using innovative legal structures to protect important community assets – housing, farmland, and renewable energy – to ensure that everyone has access in the long-term.
3. Bringing our money home: The Law Center is helping channel that money out of extractive Wall Street investments and into local enterprises, farms, and housing. We are advocating for policies and supporting new community-based financial organizations to make this possible.
4. Building power for everyone: We want every person to have power to shape their own workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. The Law Center is spreading models and resources for workplace democracy and we are training everyday people to shape public policy. True democracy means that everyone is a policymaker!
This is a pivotal moment in history. When things seem to fall apart, people are also motivated to come together. You have supported our vision in the past. Will you help us deepen our work across the country by making another contribution today? Our work is only possible with your support!
We have so much gratitude for your past and future support!
Janelle Orsi, Co-founder and Executive Director
What Your Support Has Helped Us Do
Click below to see a full-size report with hyperlinks.
$30k in 30 days - that's our goal this May.
Will you join us?
Become a member or make a one-time donation TODAY to join us in creating #PeoplePoweredEconomies everywhere!
What's a People Powered Economy? Why do we need one?
We want to live in a world where everyone can create and control the resources and relationships they need to live well. But right now, 0.1 percent of Americans own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of America combined. Over 25% of Bay Area residents are housing insecure, spending more than 50% of their income on housing. And the climate just keeps getting hotter and more unstable, disproportionately impacting already vulnerable communities.
It's time to change the rules of an economy rooted in pollution, exploitation, and wealth concentration to one where communities everywhere control their own sustainable sources of housing, jobs, energy, and other vital aspects of a healthy and resilient community. It's time for #PeoplePoweredEconomies everywhere.
That’s why we’re working with local communities to create community land trusts, housing cooperatives, and other innovative solutions that permanently preserve land and housing affordability.
That’s why we’re supporting community-based entrepreneurs to start and scale worker cooperatives, advocating for local governments to directly support worker coops, and cultivating regional cooperative networks to build a thriving cooperative economy.
And that’s why we’re developing new models of community-owned renewable energy that can help us transition to 100% renewable energy AND generate community wealth in the communities that have been most disproportionately impacted by pollution and disinvestment.
We aren't doing this alone. Join us in creating #PeoplePoweredEconomies today and 10% of everything we raise will support the incredible work of Cooperation Richmond and Planting Justice. Want your support to have an even deeper impact? Become a member with a monthly donation and Fund 4 Democratic Communities will increase your support by $100!
Only a people-powered organization can build a people-powered economy. Thank you for your support!
Thank you so much for supporting SELC and the wider movement for more just and resilient economies - it means a lot to us!
We're always interested in learning more about our growing community, so if you're willing to share a bit more about what motivated your support today, we'd greatly appreciate it! Your responses are for internal purposes only, and won't be shared with anyone else - we promise :-)Take the survey
Thank you for joining us at our annual Fall Celebration and showcase! Complete your RSVP by entering your payment info below. See you on the 19th!Donate
Cooperatives are people powered organizations and SELC has been hard at work building the legal roots for cooperative economies across the country. We've trained legal professionals in New York, Oregon, and DC on cooperative law, worked for the passage of a legal entity for worker coops in California, and started the first business accelerator course for worker cooperatives on the West Coast! The legal roots of people powered economies are still being grown and its only through your support that we'll be able to deepen our impact. Will you support our continuing efforts to lay the legal foundations for People Powered Economies?Read more
In the 8 months since we launched the Save Seed Sharing campaign, we've made incredible progress in protecting people's rights to share seeds! Will you support us in continuing to cultivate this work and People Powered Economies?!Read more
Only a people-powered organization can build a people-powered economy. Thanks for your interest in becoming a Sustainable Economies Law Center Community Member and supporting the movement for more just and resilient economies with a monthly contribution!
Please note that by joining our Community Membership, your credit card will be automatically billed each month until you cancel.
Just want to make a one-time donation? No problem, just click here!Donate
We want to live in a society where reliable and affordable legal support is available to all those creating the transition to localized, resilient economies.
The primary way that the Sustainable Economies Law Center provides legal advice is through our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe.
The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe provides direct legal advice, workshops, teach-ins, discussions, and legal services to businesses and organizations that are trying to make their communities a better place to live. Legal advice is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, so no appointment is necessary. Find our where the next Legal Cafe is and sign up here!
At the Legal Cafes, our staff and volunteers specialize in serving cooperatives, nonprofits, cottage food businesses, social enterprises, urban farms, complimentary currencies, time banks, and small businesses. We provide advice and legal consultations around the following legal areas:
Legal formation for small businesses
Legal entity choice
IP agreements and licensing
Food Safety Laws
Seeking ongoing legal representation?
Due to limited staff capacity, the Sustainable Economies Law Center very rarely provides ongoing legal representation. Nearly all of our past clients have come through the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe first, so why not start there?!
We are only able to provide low- or no-cost legal advice because of the generous support of people like you! Support our capacity to provide legal services for a people powered economy here and see why others support our work here!
Growing healthy and sustainable food starts with caring for the soil.
We think of SELC’s work as cultivating a healthy soil for more resilient communities to grow. We’re the soil biologists, not the farmers (metaphorically, at least - some of us actually are urban farmers)! So that’s why, as part of SELC’s People Powered Economies campaign, we are lifting up the work of our partners and allies who are rooted in the communities most impacted by the ills of an extractive economy, and most poised to cultivate and grow a new one.