We are pleased to share the following news and resources:
Welcome to New Board Members
Matt Stinchcomb is Vice President of Values and Impact at Etsy, a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. The Company’s mission, inspired by the work of E. F. Schumacher, is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. Matt has worked at Etsy since its earliest days with a focus on giving people the means and desire to minimize harm and maximize benefit for people and the planet.
Caroline Woolard is an Artist in Residence at the Queens Museum, a lecturer at Cooper Union and the New School, and a member of Trade School and the Pedagogy Group. One of the founders of Our Goods, a barter network for the creative community, Woolard is engaged in establishing a New York City community land trust to ensure affordable access to housing, performance space, studios, and galleries for the creative community. She sees this work as the urban complement to the work of the Agrarian Trust to create a Farmland Commons.
Matt and Caroline join Peter Barnes, Mary Berry, Hildegarde Hannum, Dan Levinson, Anne MacDonald, Jerry Mander, Gordon Thorne, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Greg Watson, and Judy Wicks on the Board of Directors of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.
We are building programs and building our team. Summer internships with the BerkShares Local Currency Program and the Schumacher Center Library are now posted at the Schumacher Center’s website. Please share the postings with potential candidates.
Community Supported Bookstores
In her article for the current issue of Kosmos Journal, Susan Witt describes author James Patterson’s project of giving a million dollars to independent bookstores through grants of between $2,000 and $15,000. Turning traditional rules of philanthropy inside out, grant checks are written directly to the for-profit bookstores instead of to a non-profit advocate of bookstores. Tax credits are forgone but “community credit” is earned.
Employing a simple, single-page application process, storeowners are trusted to understand and describe what is most needed for their own operations. The result is a grant making process with many winners, building fellowship and a sense of shared mission within the independent bookstore community and bringing media attention to the critical role these stores play in the regional economy.
Witt imagines the potential for developing citizen grant programs for other forms of local production— Community-Supported Wool, Community-Supported Pottery, Community-Supported Cannery, Community-Supported Furniture, Community-Supported Bicycles, Community-Supported Energy Generation. A movement of concerned citizens acting together to support producers in building the diversity of small independent businesses at the heart of a thriving local economy. Read the full article and subscribe to Kosmos.
Moving from an Extractive Economy to a Renewable Economy
In his brilliant talk at April’s Our Land Symposium in Berkeley, California, Wes Jackson called the Agrarian Trust an important initiative in shifting from an extractive economy to a renewable economy. He thanked supporters of the Trust on behalf of all the new cultivators of a future Farmland Commons. A video of Wes Jackson’s presentation can be viewed here. Audio of all Symposium presentations are also available.
Crypto-Currencies Impact Local Currencies
At the beginning of May, the Schumacher Center convened a meeting of lawyers, local currency practitioners, bankers, and funders to discuss the impact of new regulations developed for crypto-currencies on operations of local currencies. Traveling from London, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC, Florida, New York, and throughout the Northeast, the group met at the Schumacher Center Library and on the Great Barrington campus of the American Institute for Economic Research. Following the example of European colleagues, the group determined the best strategy was to form a coalition to educate regulators about how place-based, non profit currency issue differs from crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and why they therefore require different types of regulations.
Thank you for your renewed support of these and other programs of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.