17 Dec

What a year. Despite the substantial turmoil facing our community in 2021, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished this year at Cleveland Owns to build a more democratic economy in our city – and that we’ve had fun doing it :) Here are some highlights: 

  • Launched a new coalition campaign to bring participatory budgeting to Cleveland (see a photo of our recent meeting with Mayor-elect Bibb below!)
  • Wrote a business plan with ConnectedNEO, the community-owned open-access broadband internet network, that has since generated substantial funding for a pilot program
  • Through our annual event and monthly relational meeting, we’ve started to unite grassroots Cleveland cooperatives into a coalition for economic democracy (the photo is from our holiday party :))
  • With PowerUp Purchasing Cooperative, led a group purchase of electric supply contracts with 28 local nonprofits and congregations worth more than $300,000
  • And a whole lot more you can read about on our blog 

Supporters like those of your reading this blog make this work happen :)

Please consider making a year-end contribution at this link, or—even better—to start a recurring contribution at this link

Below are other end-of-year updates and reflections and some snapshots from 2021. Please enjoy, and reach out with questions or comments. And have a wonderful holiday season. 

In solidarity, 

Jonathan, on behalf of the Cleveland Owns team: Michael, Mordecai, Dawn, Deborah, Adam, Indigo, Holly (and—in January—Luther!)  


More reflections on 2021: 

In 2021, Cleveland also delivered the most progressive local election in decades. In fact, Cleveland Owns founding board member Rebecca Maurer was elected to Cleveland City Council after defeating an incumbent by less than 100 votes! She has since recused herself from the Cleveland Owns board. We are so proud of Rebecca’s work, what she stands for, and what she represents for the future of our city. 

While we’ll miss Rebecca serving on our board very much, we are ready to take full advantage of the exciting political moment in Cleveland to make real progress towards deep democracy in the public sector and in ownership by workers and community. 

Two weeks ago we submitted to the Bibb transition team a proposal to launch an Office of Community Wealth Building in Cleveland City Hall. Modeled on similar work in Chicago, Richmond, and Rochester, our vision for an Office of Community Wealth Building (OCWB) calls for innovative new economic development strategies centered on collective ownership. While we're not sharing the proposal publicly, send me an email if you'd like me to send you a copy.

It’s going to take sustained effort to course-correct the injustices of current economic development practices in our city (and state and country). We’re ready to start!

Some snaps from 2021:

* The email will not be published on the website.