Building Local Equity: ILSR’s Impact in 2015

Date: 18 Nov 2015 | posted in: agriculture | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Image: Donate ButtonILSR’s forward-thinking, bottom-up solutions have never been more needed.   Please help us expand our impact in 2016 by making an online tax-deductible donation to ILSR.

Download our 2015 Annual Report

Since our founding, building equity has been a core value and aim of our work. The word “equity” originally meant fairness or equality. Today the term has degenerated into a narrow reference to the ownership of property or stock. A growing movement is trying to recapture its original emphasis, and is shaping public discourse from the neighborhoods of Baltimore to the Vatican to the Presidential campaign trail. ILSR is part of that movement.

The conventional debate about economic inequality focuses on income redistribution. We believe a redistribution of power makes possible a redistribution of income. ILSR fights the centralization of economic and political power in pivotal sectors – energy, waste, telecommunications, retail, and banking – and argues for decentralized systems and rules that are just and fair.

Our work had significant impact in 2015. Take a look at our 2015 Annual Report: Building Local Equity to see how our vision, research, and partnerships helped advance a more equitable and democratic economy.

Our community-owned broadband initiative, for example, had front-row seats when President Obama traveled to Iowa to congratulate Cedar Falls on its municipal network and called on states to relax barriers to communities investing in their own networks. We were invited because our powerful examples of local networks and their economic development benefits catalyzed the Administration’s position and Federal Communications Commission policy. We have since been called to the White House for closed-door policy discussions. Over the course of the year, we have increased our focus on how local investments can ensure everyone, regardless of income, can access the Internet at home on reasonable terms.

In 2015, as a result of ILSR’s research and advocacy:

  • Legislatures in several states were spurred to action by our investigation of a new tactic big retailers are using to force cities to refund the property taxes their stores have already paid.
  • Minnesota’s largest utility committed to a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in large part because of the work of the Community Power coalition, which ILSR helped to found and continues to advise.
  • Volunteers at more than a dozen community gardens have learned to compost under our Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Training Program.
  • Residents of Curtis Bay, a largely African-American, low-income neighborhood in Baltimore, stalled the construction of an immense trash incinerator and proposed a compelling alternative based on solar, reuse, and recycling enterprises with the assistance of ILSR.

We need your help to expand our reach and multiply these successes.  

Image: Map from ILSR's Annual ReportWith your help, more neighborhoods will be connected through community fiber networks, more independent businesses will be protected from rising real estate costs, more community solar will be accessibl, more locally-based composting will revitalize urban soils, and a better educated electorate across the ideological divide will promote strategies that embrace the commonwealth. Our policy roadmap includes shifting capital from Wall Street to local economies, reinvigorating antitrust policies, ending subsidies for large low-wage corporations, and supporting local business development in marginalized communities.

Help us bring these policies and practical solutions to governments and business allies throughout the country who have asked for our assistance. Today, we are asking you to help make this a reality by giving a tax-deductible year-end donation to ILSR.

Your gift today of $250, $100, $50 – no amount is too small – is what sustains our ability to build local equity and healthy self-reliant communities. We greatly appreciate your support and collaboration.

Please help us expand our impact in 2016 by making an online tax-deductible donation to ILSR, or donating by mail or phone.