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A Decade of Pioneering Change

If you are reading this my guess is that you share a passion for making better communities and stronger economies. For that, I thank you for being part of our journey and I wanted to share an update.

Today, I am celebrating the fact that our company has made it to its ten year anniversary. Our launch in September of 2010 was on the heels of a prior economic disruption - the Great Recession. The national unemployment rate was 9.6% with 14.9 million people out of work. A great time to take a risk?! It actually was, as the field of community and economic development was being called on to figure out how to respond to the economic crisis. Our simple notion that there needed to be a new way of fostering an economy that serves the people was born and we began to define the principles of the fourth economy.

Our first newsletter began the now decade-long process of articulating a vision for Fourth Economy. We wrote about “Why Place Matters: Place-Based Strategies for the Fourth Economy” and “The Entrepreneurial City”. With almost 300 engagements completed, we have continued to evolve how we think on these matters and so much more.

At times we have been pioneers, charting new ideas about green jobs, water as an economic development opportunity, cross state border collaboration, and how to measure a community's potential. It is humbling to see the impacts that we have made in so many communities, but also to recognize the need never stops. As we move forward we will continue to focus on a resilient approach to community and economic development and do even more to advance equitable development policies and practices.

At our ten-year mark we are unfortunately seeing another September with a high unemployment rate (8.4%) and 13.6 million people out of work. This reality is more painful than when we started as we now know so many people on the front lines who are trying to do what they can to mitigate the disastrous impacts of a global pandemic, economic recession, civil unrest, and vivid discourse that combined create a situation that is intolerable. Yet, we are still thriving as we hear the empathy in your voices as we spend a moment sharing notes, or see your leadership in action as we work to provide the analysis and insights on how to respond. We appreciate the connections.

There is much work to be done, so while we celebrate what’s past, we are ready for the challenges ahead and are glad that you are a part of our community.

Be well and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Rich and the Fourth Economy team


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