For 18 years, BALLE has worked alongside community leaders to advance bold ideas that are changing systems.
Why are we bringing this up now?
BALLE — The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies — was formed to accelerate the emergence of local economies that are regenerative and sustainable. In our early days, we mainstreamed the concept of “buying local” by supporting 80+ local-first business networks across the U.S. and Canada. Today, the localism movement has reached far beyond the vision of our founders.
Working with this network reinforced our theory that community leaders are the key to thriving, local ecosystems.
Despite the focus on local economies, our actions have not matched the urgency of unprecedented wealth inequality and economic injustice that primarily affects communities of color.
While people of color will constitute the majority in the U.S. as early as 2043, it’s going to take all of us working together to resist those who are are extracting wealth, not only from marginalized communities, but from working people, the middle class, rural economies, mid-tier cities, gentrifying neighborhoods — all of us.
We seek to restore wealth, and build wealth anew, in these communities. This year, we are re-examining our work and shifting our attention in big ways: racial equity and economic justice now have a front seat in new initiatives we are launching to unite capital with marginalized communities.
We’ve already shifted $150M by working with foundations to rethink more equitable investment strategies.
What would it look like if we transformed $1B or more of untapped capital (endowments, DAFs, traditional Wall Street investments) into community wealth and connected thousands of wealth-holders and creators pursuing a shared vision?
It will look like our Common Future. BALLE is announcing our new name, brand, and identity — Common Future — to signal our commitment to economies that work for all of us.
What does this mean for our day-to-day work?
Common Future is embracing new roles in our ecosystem. We’re becoming a platform for leaders to incubate ideas, an aggregator of philanthropic and impact investment capital, a trusted advisor to funders, a collaborator working alongside our Network, and a mainstream influence for reimaging the economy.
But really, what does that mean?
Some BALLE programs will continue (our Foundation Circle), while others are being retooled to meet the current needs of our Network Leaders (our Fellowship). While we may not be actively recruiting for the Fellowship in 2020, we are in active conversation about how we best resource existing community leaders in our Network and continue to reach more people.
A number of initiatives are in pilot and incubation, such as our Social Entrepreneurs in Residence (SEIR) program. Our SEIRs (executive-level leaders across industries) will advance individual bodies of work within Common Future, connected by a commitment to community wealth.
For SEIR Sonia Sarkar — Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Leader, New America health policy Fellow, former chief policy and engagement officer at the Baltimore City public health department — this means shifting capital in healthcare institutions. SEIR Sean Campbell — previously a managing director at Macquarie group — is strengthening the pipeline of equitable investable opportunities by assisting organizations in our Network to raise inclusive impact capital.
Beyond the new initiatives, we are currently recruiting for our 2020 Foundation Circle, designing and leading convenings such as CoCap, and forging new advising and consulting relationships with national players.
One thing is true: we are entering uncharted territory. Now 18 months into this strategy, we are clear-minded about our goals and open to the means it may take to get there.
Love + power,
The Common Future team