New State & Local Policies

Neighborhoods in Bloom

In 1999, the City of Richmond launched Neighborhoods in Bloom, a multi-year, coordinated strategy to improve seven neighborhoods in areas with high incidence of vacant and abandoned properties. The city targeted the bulk of its federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, its Home Investment Partnership (HOME) funds, as well as significant amounts of capital improvement funds to build and renovate four hundred housing units. With the assistance of community development corporations and the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, nearly 400 new or renovated houses were sold and more than 130 owners repaired their homes. Since its initiation, occupancy rates have risen eleven percent and housing prices have increased 9.9 percent faster per year than the citywide average. 

Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty

In 2011, Mayor Jones established Richmond’s Anti-Poverty Commission, known as the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty. The Commission developed the city’s first comprehensive anti-poverty policy plan, connecting all aspects of the poverty problem: employment and economic development, transportation and access to jobs, housing and quality of life, education and preparation for employment, financial literacy and asset development, and removal of barriers to escaping poverty.

The East End Transformation

The East End of Richmond has been trapped in concentrated poverty for decades. With the construction of interstates 64 and 95 in the 1970s, separating East End from the downtown area and neighboring communities, the neighborhood experienced extreme disinvestment.  Today, fifty percent of Richmond’s poor live in the East End. To revitalize this depressed area, Mayor Dwight Jones established a partnership between the City of Richmond, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, and the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority to uplift the East End. They have hosted a series of public meetings to engage East End residents and business owners on the East End Transformation Master Plan. The leading projects that emerged from the charrette include new community centers along 25th Street, redevelopment surrounding Richmond Community Hospital, a new gateway to the city along Nine Mile Road, improved pedestrian and bicycle access to downtown Richmond, and enhanced streetscapes throughout.

Chokwe Lumumba, RIP

Jackson, Mississippi mayor and solidarity economy advocate dead at 66

Chokwe Lumumba, a long-time civil rights activist and the newly elected mayor of Jackson, died yesterday, just weeks before the "Jackson Rising" conference–the launch of an ambitious plan to localize and democratize the city's economy–was scheduled to take place (We understand that the conference will proceed as planned).  Our hearts are with the people of Jackson at this tragic moment.

Watch Laura Flanders' interview with Mayor Lumumba, filmed just two weeks ago:


Read more about Chokwe Lumumba, RIP ...

Illinois Governor's Task Force Moves Forward with Community Wealth Building

Democracy Collaborative contributions highlighted

In April of 2013, Democracy Collaborative Executive Director Ted Howard was invited by the Governor's Task Force on Social Innovation, Enterpreneurship, and Enterprise to present our recommendations for low-cost, high return policies that could build community wealth across the state of Illinois.  (You can read this "Action Agenda" document here.) We're happy to report that a number of our suggestions have been incorporated into the Task Force's new report to the Governor and General Assembly.

Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise Report 3: January 2014

Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise

The Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise was established by the Executive Order of Governor Pat Quinn on November 2, 2011.1 The purpose of the Task Force is to provide recommendations on how Illinois can better foster an environment to: create, scale, and sustain innovative social programs; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations and government to pursue entrepreneurial ventures; and attract funding to Illinois to support these ventures.  Central to the Task Force’s mandate is to provide a series of reports to the Governor and General Assembly, with recommendations on how to position Illinois to achieve the aforementioned purpose. This represents the third such report