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Low wages, precarious jobs, shuttered Main Streets and bleak futures — do towns have a way out of poverty that doesn’t involve begging and bribing outside employers to invest? From Clevland, Ohio to Preston, England and Scotland, some local governments are experimenting with investing public resources locally in community-held businesses, and public health. They’re calling this approach Community Wealth Building, and it’s gaining traction around the world. Most recently, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has included money for Community Wealth Building in the Biden Administration’s National Strategic Plan. In today’s episode, we explore the spreading of Community Wealth Building and its impact on the well-being of individuals and communities so far. How are these models working where others have failed, and is now the time to take Community Wealth Building to a whole new scale?

“There’s something in the spirit of this that frankly can appeal to both liberals and conservatives. It’s really about making a place for our community, and making it a healthy place.” – Ted Howard

“If we do not fix this issue . . . we’re going to continue to see the kind of poverty, the disinvestment, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and this is just unacceptable.” – India Pierce Lee

“This is not just a small pilot project here and there. This is about rewiring the economic system for social, economic and ecological justice.” – Neil McInroy


  • Ted Howard: Co-founder & President, The Democracy Collaborative
  • India Pierce Lee: Senior Vice President, Program at the Cleveland Foundation
  • Neil McInroy: Advisor of Community Wealth Building, Scottish Government

Portions of this interview are featured in our episode “Community Wealth Building: An Economic Reset“.

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