Rethinking Communities

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The drivers of inequality are complex — but not all of our solutions have to be.

The Rethinking Communities project gives students the tools to work with their institutions of higher learning and communities to identify and advance solutions that promote broadly shared economic progress. The project focuses on anchor institutions, a term for large employers such as universities that are anchored to a particular place and play a significant role in shaping their local economy.

Students research and diagnose the local drivers of inequality and build strategies and coalitions to broaden prosperity. Recognizing that this is the defining challenge of our generation, and that gridlock in Washington has hindered progress, Rethinking Communities empowers students in the places where they have the most direct influence: their colleges and universities and their campus communities.

Individually, these are small, grassroots initiatives. Taken together, they represent an ambitious effort to solve inequality beginning in the places where we live, work, and study.

Learn more here.

The Challenge: Inequality in the Communities Where We Live, Work, and Study.

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We believe solving inequality doesn’t have to be an overwhelming endeavor — in fact, we can start with our colleges and universities.
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Why focus on anchor institutions as a way to tackle inequality?
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20%

of DC Residents Live Below the Poverty Line
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7.3%

Women and minority owned businesses comprise 50% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 7.3% of business.

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$1.25B

The dollar amount lost by Harvard University on interest rate swaps.

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“Community wealth building is very interested in this question of how do you keep money in your community and keep it circulating, rather than exiting? ” – Ted Howard, Democracy Collaborate

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Want to make a change in your local community? Get started by asking the right questions.

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Download the toolbox and let’s get to work.

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