Last night, I found myself at a networking event attempting to explain to a local business owner what I was working on currently and my career trajectory. His takeaway went something like this:
“So let me get this straight. You founded a bunch of local organizations and initiatives but that wasn’t big enough for you so now you’re going national?”
He’s not altogether wrong. After years of working on grassroots local economic development projects, I decided to go bigger. I wanted to find ways to scale up the impact of these projects, which was one of the reasons why I enrolled in the Bard MBA in Sustainability.
Through a fortuitous series of events, I connected with the team putting together the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3) last spring. NC3 was doing exactly what I wanted to do, so I eagerly joined on. I now find myself working directly with many people whose careers I have looked up to for years (Michael Shuman, Amy Cortese, Arno Hesse, Marco Vangelisti, Cutting Edge Capital, and the Sustainable Economies Law Center, to name a few) as well as many folks whose work has been hugely influential in their local communities and states (Janice Shade, Amy Pearl, Angela Barbash, Chris Miller, and so many others).
The task that we have set for ourselves is daunting: to catalyze the movement of wealth into local economies, shifting money from Wall Street to Main Street. To do this, we must reach investors, entrepreneurs, local governments, economic developers, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, NGOs, community organizations, and everyday citizens.
Right now, we are still on the starting blocks. NC3 plans to launch its first programs in 2018 so we’re busy planning and scheming about what’s to come.
I, for one, am enjoying the opportunity to dream big. NC3 has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country, teaching them skills that they can use to improve their communities from the ground up. With that many people investing in their communities — putting money into small businesses, schools, real estate, co-ops, parks, municipal projects, and community-owned assets — the potential impact is staggering.
Want to follow the journey? Click here to sign up for NC3’s email list and stay tuned to learn how we can help your community invest in its future.
Photo courtesy of Hatch Innovation, from the 2017 ComCap Conference in Monterey, CA.