Marjorie Kelly is Executive Vice President and a Senior Fellow with The Democracy Collaborative. Her recent book, Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, released in 2012 by Berrett-Koehler, has won a Nautilus Book Award. Kelly previously was a Fellow at Tellus Institute, and cofounder/President of Business Ethics magazine. For five years she was a lead consultant on the Ford Foundation’s WealthWorks initiative.

Recent Publications


Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.
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Cities Building Community Wealth

In cities across the nation, a few enjoy rising affluence while many struggle to get by. This situation is created in part by the practices of traditional economic development. Current trends threaten to worsen, unless we can answer the design challenge before us. Can we create an economic system—beginning at the local level—that builds the wealth and prosperity of everyone? This groundbreaking report, co-authored by Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley of the Democracy Collaborative, profiles growing movement of municipal governments and organizations uniting to change the paradigm of economic development, truly showing the way forward to build community wealth.
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A New Anchor Mission for a New Century

It was in 2005 that the highly regarded Monitor Institute report declared that the field of community foundations was “On the Brink of New Promise,” and in the decade since, there have been countless working groups and initiatives to introduce innovative approaches to the field. At the same time, largely beneath the radar, a small but growing group has begun pursuing the innovative path we explore here. Mostly in small steps—but sometimes in larger ways—they are adopting elements of what could emerge as a new anchor mission to deploy all resources to build community wealth. Read more…

Owning Our Future


Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Silver Book Award

In her 2012 book, Kelly explores many experiments with new forms of ownership, which she calls generative: aimed at creating the conditions for life for many generations to come. To understand these emerging alternatives, Kelly reports from all over the world, and finds the five essential patterns of ownership design that make these models work. And she explores how they may hold the key to the deep transformation that our civilization needs. Read more…

The Economy: Under New Ownership

In the Spring 2013 issue of Yes! Magazine, Kelly defines how cooperatives are leading the way to empowered workers and healthy communities. Read more…


The Architecture of Enterprise: Redesigning Ownership for a Great Transition

In Volume 22 of The Good Society, Kelly contributes a piece for a symposium on Alternative to Capitalism edited by, and with a lead article by Gar Alperovitz and Steve Dubb of the Democracy Collaborative. For a free version of substantially the same piece, click here. To purchase the Good Society piece, click here.



  • Intermountain West Funder Network 2016 Convening
  • April 27-29, 2016, Ft. Collins, CO

    Marjorie Kelly gave the keynote address at this convening hosted by the New Belguim Family Foundation and the Gates Family Foundation.

  • Workers to Owners 1-Day Seminar
  • April 11, 2016, Minneapolis, MN

    Marjorie Kelly gave the concluding remarks at this one-day event hosted by Workers to Owners "to move the needle forward on an exciting trend in sustainable economic development: converting existing businesses to worker ownership."

  • Cities Building Community Wealth
  • January 29, 2016, CUNY School of Law, New York, NY

    Marjorie Kelly gave the opening remarks at this event, co-hosted by The Democracy Collaborative and CUNY Law's Community and Economic Development Clinic and supported by the Surdna Foundation, which brought together key stakeholders to discuss emerging policy frameworks for creating more inclusive cities.

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