This posting falls under the heading of better late than never, but the Fund for Democratic Communities gave our presentation at the US Social Forum in July rave reviews. Here’s an excerpt:
One very beautiful feature of C2BE’s work is the type of cooperation between businesses that it inspires. While we toured the Willis Avenue area, I went into the Spiral Coop, a joint business of three African American women comprised of a book store, an art gallery and a fragrances and notions gift shop. When I asked them if they were friends with the Avalon International Bakery down the street they beamed and shared that Avalon had loaned them the money that they needed to get their building on the corner ready for use. The thought that one successful business might loan money to a start-up which would have had difficulty borrowing from a bank in this tight money market was an eye-opener to me. The reason for the loan isn’t just the altruistic desire to help someone; Avalon recognizes that every successful business on their block enhances their own business possibilities. With the encouragement of C2BE to which the Avalon owners belong, the businesses on that block have shared community celebrations that bring more business to the area. It is a synergy that has produced a vibrant and healthy place in Detroit’s largely bleak landscape. Because it is a replicable model, we can look to see a lot of other people in and out of Detroit learning from it.