Office of Community Wealth Building

With over 24% of Burlington residents experiencing poverty, My administration will focus on poverty reduction but also building up neighborhood and community wealth, not just private wealth, but public facilities and amenities. There has been a growing number of local initiatives that work on building local ownership of wealth such as City Market, cafe mamajuana, and more. These innovative models over time showed promising entrepreneurship, community wealth ownership models and laid out the blueprint of opportunities for our community’s economic success. We have the clientele, the time and the expertise within our community to build more community wealth, strengthen our local economy and neighborhoods, reinvigorate a sense of community and keep our community members and profits here.

Community Wealth Building (CWB) is a system-changing approach to community economic development that works to produce broadly shared economic prosperity, racial equity, and ecological sustainability through the reconfiguration of institutions and local economies on the basis of greater democratic ownership, participation, and control.

During my first 100 days in office, my administration will create an appointed seven member advisory board seeking to improve the ability of communities and individuals to increase broad-based asset ownership, anchor jobs and resources locally, create broadly shared prosperity, and ensure local community economic stability and democratic support and control. I have a strong belief that Community Wealth Building stands in opposition to the prevailing model of economic development that puts the accumulation of private wealth and profit above the basic needs of people, entrenching and exacerbating racial, economic, and geographic disparities. The City of Burlington Community Wealth Building Advisory Board will have the following as a proposed scope of work:

  1. Launch new initiatives (service, worker wealth building, community wealth building dedicated to starting cooperative models of community wealth throughout the City of Burlington and potentially in collaboration with surrounding communities.
  2. Ensure the cooperative models that work meet our community values, and when created in economically and socially marginalized communities, ensure they are adequately supported, effective and strategically directed.
  3. Provide legal research, technical assistance and support, and training necessary for systemic change to communities/neighborhoods interested in launching a CWB project. Support with data gathering, and evaluation of the success of new CWB initiatives and their contribution to the overall health of our local economy.
  4. Secure grants and investment cooperatives from business, neighborhood organizations, individuals, state and federal government and local philanthropy.