Dear Fellow Entrepreneurs, Artists, Community Leaders and Activists for Economic and Social Justice,
I want to share with you some good news about an upcoming conference that will be bringing together hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs, economic development professionals, and www.livingeconomies.org) will be held next week from June 5-7th at Boston University. I will be attending this conference as a representative of Business for Shared Prosperity (BSP), along with several others who are helping to grow BSP: Holly Sklar and Gina Perille. Holly is the E.D. of BSP, a long-time advocate for Economic Justice, columnist, author, and a national leader of the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign. (see attached BSP prospectus for more detailed bios and information about BSP). BSP was co-founded by Chuck Collins, a co-founder of United for a Fair Economy and Responsible Wealth. Some of you already know of BSP through its first Business for a Fair Minimum Wage campaign to raise the federal minimum wage. on the campus of Boston University to discuss emerging opportunities to grow community wealth through strong locally-owned businesses. The national BALLE (Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy) conference (
I have been inspired by the growth of BALLE over the past 6 years since it has been a national (and now international) organization. There are now over 15,000 entrepreneurs and community activists working with BALLE networks everywhere. In the mid 1990s I helped to found the Connecticut River Valley Businesses for Social Responsibility that is today the Pioneer Valley (Western Mass) chapter of BALLE. Also as many of you know, BALLE grew out of the Social Ventures Network or SVN (www.svn.org) and as a long-time SVN member many of the founders of BALLE are friends or colleagues.
I am currently the Executive Director of a local community NGO – The Brick House Community Resource Center in Turners Falls MA. We support individual, family and community well being through collaboration on economic development, youth development, leadership development and education. I am bringing to this work my 17 years of experience as CEO and co-owner of Motherwear, a catalog company for nursing mothers that my wife and I grew from a home based business to national and international company known for it’s social responsibility. I am now working to bring together people working in the area of economic justice and sustainable community economic development and am VERY excited to be working with Business for Shared Prosperity and participating in the national BALLE conference.
BSP wants to strengthen its partnership with BALLE members. Our strength is in developing and supporting public policies (on a national and state level) that are consistent with the core BALLE values of local ownership and social responsibility. While BALLE members are focussed on developing our local economies and local communities we are all affected by the current national economic and political environment. The work of BSP is to develop, support and promote policies and practices
on a national and state level that will be beneficial to our local communities and to the people that BALLE members employ, serve and partner with.
BSP is currently working in three major areas: a fair minimum wage (a living wage), affordable health care, and tax and investment policies that will benefit local communities, local businesses and our national economy. In short, our aim is to promote policies that promote “Shared Prosperity” – in contrast to the world of greater and greater inequality, injustice and insecurity that we have all been experiencing for too long.
David Korten, one of the founders of BALLE, calls this the “Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.“ We are at a moment of economic, environmental and social crisis. This crisis also brings us the opportunity for great change. BALLE is a dynamic movement that is part of this change away from Empire and back to Community.
BSP can be a great partner with BALLE for it is essential that we change the policies and practices of our national and state governments towards sustainable shared prosperity.
I, along with Holly and Gina of BSP look forward to networking with all of you who may be attending the BALLE conference and invite those who are not able to make this conference to contact BSP and learn how you can be part of this network.
BSP will have a table at the BALLE conference with much more detailed information about our work and opportunities for you to support specific initiatives and policies.
I am attaching a more detailed prospectus about BSP. You can also learn more at our website: www.businessforsharedprosperity.org.
Business for Shared Prosperity Outreach Consultant