Marjorie Kelly is Distinguished Senior Fellow with The Democracy Collaborative, and the author, with Ted Howard, of The Making of a Democratic Economy. Her previous books are Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution and The Divine Right of Capital. Kelly has for years been a thought leader in next generation enterprise design, employee ownership, impact investing, and the building of a community-rooted democratic economy. Previously she was a Fellow at the Tellus Institute and cofounder/president of Business Ethics magazine.
The Making of a Democratic Economy, co-authored with Ted Howard, is a clarion call for a movement ready to get serious about transforming our economic system. Illuminating the principles of a democratic economy through the stories of on-the-ground community wealth builders and their unlikely accomplices in the halls of institutional power, this book is a must-read for everyone concerned with how we win the fight for an economy that’s equitable, not extractive.
“It’s not enough to imagine another world is possible, we need to feel and taste it. Kelly and Howard give us the concrete stories we need to truly believe in this new world.”—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough, This Changes Everything, and No Logo
Opportunity Knocking: Impact capital as the transformative agent to take employee ownership to scale
Authored with Jessica Rose, this December 2020 report – the result of two years’ research funded by a Rutgers University fellowship – suggests a bold new approach for the decades-long stalled growth of employee ownership. Instead of an information approach – persuading exiting owners to consider employee ownership – authors Marjorie Kelly and Jessica Rose suggest what is needed is a capital approach: organized capital that can become “the knock upon the door,” like private equity is. Investment funds would simply ask owners if they wish to sell, and having the capital available to make it happen, then prepare the company for exit to employee ownership. The report includes a look at dozen emerging funds taking this approach.
Mission-led employee-owned firms embody a powerful model of enterprise design for a new era of environmental sustainability and social equity. This report shares the story of this emerging model, embodied in 50-plus firms that are employee-owned B Corporations and benefit corporations, plus dozens more employee-owned firms with strong social and ecological missions. These companies offer a distinct alternative to the publicly owned corporation, which was designed for an era of in which large sums of capital were needed to fuel carbon-based industrial enterprises. Now we face new challenges—catastrophic climate change and growing wealth inequality—that demand new solutions. Among those solutions are new models of ownership, or what we are calling next generation enterprise design.
More from Marjorie Kelly
Fast Company: Is private equity joining–or co-opting–the employee ownership movement (May 19, 2022).
Stanford Social Innovation Review: The Case for Investing in Employee Ownership (January 3, 2022).
Impact Alpha: These 12 impact funds are catalyzing transitions to employee ownership (March 18, 2021).
Fast Company: Scaling up employee ownership is key to an equitable economic recovery (March 4, 2021).
Next City: Local Economy Preservation Funds: A Plan to Save Local Businesses and Create Broad Prosperity (May 13, 2020).
The Hill: The profit maximizing corporate model must evolve (August 19, 2020).