Community wealth building represents a viable strategy for addressing historic wealth inequity particularly among marginalized families and communities. It focuses economic development dollars and employs inclusive strategies to grow or create businesses, opportunities and jobs that will build the assets of historically marginalized communities, serve current residents, families and communities and, enhance local prosperity. The Democracy Collaborative, describes community wealth building as:
“a community-based economic development strategy that aims to democratize the ownership of wealth from the ground up. It is an asset-based approach that addresses economic inequality and poverty by building upon existing local talents, capacities, capacities, and expenditure flows to develop community-owned businesses that are anchored in place and can sustain the local economy for the long haul.”
The goal of community wealth-building is to create and sustain an inclusive economic ecosystem that supports the entire community, including businesses by creating a healthier, better educated and aligned, diverse workforce; residents by enhancing the ability of disenfranchised populations to purchase goods and services, accumulate capital and to fully participate in their local communities and economies; and communities that retain the earnings of its residents.
The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative believes community wealth building strategies represent an opportunity to systemically address metropolitan Atlanta’s crisis of wealth inequity. The goal of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI) is to re-engineer Atlanta’s economic ecosystem such that all sectors, from small businesses to large corporations, to anchor institutions, philanthropy, nonprofits and government, consider day to day how to integrate the economic well-being of our most disenfranchised families and communities into their strategy and operations.