The People’s Economy Lab is led by and centers communities of color in our region that experience disproportionate harm in this extractive economy. We convene community leaders, workshop transformative ideas, and build better economic models. Our initiatives align with our values and advance new strategies to create a regenerative economy that anchors well-being, wealth and power in Black, Indigneous, and communities of color.
We Build Better Models
New Economy Washington (NEW) Frontline Community
In partnership with Front and Centered, and funded by Communities of Opportunity, the New Economy Washington (NEW) Frontline Community Fellowship Program supports leaders from Black, Indigenous and other communities of color who are integrating the principles and practices of a Just Transition into their entrepreneurial projects. NEW Frontline Community Fellows are imagining a new economy – one that supports sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities. Meet the NEW Frontline Community Fellows.
Just Futures is a project co-led by Statewide Poverty Action Network, Front and Centered, and the People’s Economy Lab to develop a community vision and metrics for a just and equitable economy, as well as a community accountability process for Washington State. Read our blog about Phase One of Just Futures.
Community Owned Resource Development (CORD) Coalition Capacity Building and Loan Fund Development
With funding from the City of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative, People’s Economy Lab is partnering with Community Credit Lab to support the development of the Community Owned Resource Development (CORD) Coalition. CORD is a transformative economic development group that empowers BIPOC to build Beloved Communities by advancing real estate development projects that address community needs, combat displacement, and generate wealth. CORD offers community-controlled economic infrastructure, a coordinated network of partners, and sources of capital that empower BIPOC to successfully hold, acquire, and develop real-estate in the greater Seattle area. This project’s goals are to formally establish CORD as an operating entity and design a community lending program for emerging Black developers combating displacement in Seattle.
Generational Wealth Building
We’re working with the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods to research strategies for generational wealth building and advise the City on how best to direct funds. We’re convening a roundtable of community leaders, and we’re conducting case studies of three Seattle neighborhoods.
Community Investment Trust
We’re testing the feasibility of a Community Investment Trust (CIT) model in the City of Seattle and King County.
South Seattle Community Capital (SeaCap)
Together with Homesight, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, and Ventures, the People’s Economy Lab is piloting a partnership between three BIPOC-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to provide small business capital and technical assistance to low-income immigrants, refugees, women and people of color in South Seattle and unincorporated King County whose businesses are vulnerable to failure and displacement. The project exists to advance the partners’ vision of creating a place-based, community-driven small business lending and technical assistance program. It aims to fill critical gaps and create synergy between the three partners and advance the larger field of community-controlled economic development in Seattle and South King County.
We regularly convene Lab Leaders – organizers, thinkers, and doers – to create a shared vision and roadmap for a community-centered economy that works for everyone.
Community Capital Working Group
We host conversations with groups in the community capital ecosystem, including community development financial institutions, credit unions, community banks, funders, and investors. The Community Capital Working Group envisions:
- Increased access to affordable, relevant, innovative capital for communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs
- Community control of investment and wealth redistribution
New Economy Washington Funders Collaborative
We facilitate a group of funders who are learning about economic systems change for social justice and sustainability and supporting a vision for a new economy in Washington State. Together, we explore how each funder can drive transformational systems change using the full spectrum of capital available to them, including investment portfolios, philanthropic funding, and economic activities, to engage in local place-based community-identified projects that are ready to build the new.
We’re conducting a racial and social justice evaluation of Seattle Public Utilities’ green stormwater infrastructure program.
Washington Just Transition Summit
The annual Washington Just Transition Summit, which we host with Front and Centered, offers communities across Washington State the opportunity to explore and discuss Just Transitions strategies and actions together.