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  • July 15, 2019 5:52 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Interested in investing your retirement savings locally?  Nancy Moore and Janelle Orsi from the Sustainable Economies Law Center produced the  report “How to Invest Your Retirement Savings Locally: The Basics of Solo 401(k) Plans and Self-Directed IRAs.”

    What would it take for you to pull your retirement savings out of Wall Street and invest it in things that enrich your local community, like a local farm, solar project, worker cooperative, or housing cooperative? Below are some of your options for taking control of where you invest your retirement savings. We focus heavily on solo 401(k) plans, which are a particularly flexible, yet underutilized, tool for self-directing retirement savings. Then, we describe self-directed IRAs (individual retirement accounts) to draw comparisons. 

    View the entire report


    Image credit: The Next Egg


  • July 06, 2019 7:38 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Funds will support Pay-It-Forward Program

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to support its community-based crowdfunding platform and its Pay-It-Forward program that provides extra support to campaigns led by low-income individuals and/or projects focusing on affordable housing, farms & food, living wage jobs & equity.

    Currently, TLC Monadnock is supporting a cohort of seven campaign leaders who plan to launch their campaigns in late Summer to early Fall.
     
    Many studies highlight the positive community impacts of supporting locally owned businesses -- better jobs, more charitable giving, higher civic engagement, and increased prosperity for all.  TLC Monadnock provides an opportunity for social enterprises to raise the capital they need and, with their success, contribute to a stronger, more just and regenerative local economy.
     
    For more information, visit tlcmonadnock.com or contact Jen Risley at 603-283-5401.

    About TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is one of four communities participating in a year-long research project with the National Science Foundation and The Local Crowd designed to uncover the best ways to support social enterprises -- mission-driven organizations that use business principles to make the world a better place.

    The Local Crowd Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding program helping start-up ventures, early-growth stage companies, and community-focused projects find access to capital.  This program is hosted by the Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by community partners: Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation

    About New England Grassroots Environment Fund

    The Grassroots Fund is dedicated to co-creating healthy and sustainable communities throughout New England. Grassroots Fund empowers individuals, groups and organizations working across a broad range of environmental and social justice issues. By helping them identify, select and access the specific tools, resources and connections they need to challenge existing systems, they are able to develop lasting solutions to the complex problems affecting the places they live and the health of the people who live there. We're supporting change makers who not only experience marginalization but face systemic and structural barriers to traditional funding. To learn more visit grassrootsfund.org.

  • June 08, 2019 7:08 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    It’s time to start planning this year’s NH Eat Local Month, a month-long campaign in August that celebrates local food and farming in the Granite State.

    This year, the NH Food Alliance is collaborating with the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and FoodSeacoast Eat LocalMonadnock Food Co-op and hopefully you to amplify the “Eat Local” message and empower us to celebrate the harvest.

    We’re looking for partners to spread the word and energize their communities to eat local. With your help, NH Eat Local Month will connect more people with local food.

    Partners will:

    • Endorse NH Eat Local Month by sharing their business/organization’s name, logo, and website URL with us
    • Provide links to any events or promotions that they are organizing during NH Eat Local Month
    • Spread the word by sharing social media posts, adding a link to nheatlocal.org on their own website and finding other creative ways to engage their network with NH Eat Local Month

    Partners will receive:

    • A listing on NH Eat Local Month’s Website
    • Ideas on how to celebrate NH Farms & Local Food all month long
    • Event marketing templates — such as a press release, social media posts and support to create targeted messages
    • The chance to be featured on the NH Eat Local Month website by writing a blog post or article

    How do you sign on as a partner? Send an email to marketing@monadnockfood.coop with an “I’m in!” message and we’ll add you to our list (be sure your business/organization is easy to identify). As always, there’s no cost to you to participate as a partner.

  • May 28, 2019 6:14 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

    We asked and you voted! Over 100 community members helped The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program, decide which Local Living Economy building blocks to focus on in 2019. A Local Living Economy is an economy that improves our quality of life, meets everyone’s basic needs and creates an engaged citizenry.

    The top three Local Living Economy building blocks were affordable housing, farms & food, and living wage jobs & equity.  For this month’s article, we’ll dive into the topic of affordable housing and highlight current efforts in our region to address this need.

    First, what is affordable housing?

    Affordable housing means housing that is financially viable for households making a median income or below in their location.  In Cheshire County, affordable housing means housing that is financially in-reach for one person making $45,750 or less annually (huduser.gov).  Affordable housing encompasses all types of housing -- from emergency shelters and transitional housing to subsidized housing, rentals, and home ownership -- for individuals and families.

    Are we providing enough affordable housing?

    There’s rising concern about the lack of access to affordable housing across the U.S. According to a Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, 11.4 million households spend more than half of their income on rent -- and rents are increasing twice as fast as incomes.  In rural areas, 25% of households spend over half of their income on rent. 

    A New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority survey conducted in 2018 found that median gross rent for two-bedroom units rose almost 19% over the past five years.  In order to afford one of these units, a renter would need to earn 117% of the statewide median renter income ($47,100 a year).  Our state’s vacancy rate is low -- just below 2% compared to a 7% vacancy rate in the U.S. and 5% in the Northeast.  A vacancy rate between 4% and 5% indicates a balance between rental supply and demand.

    As an indicator of need in our region, four out of five affordable housing applications received by Keene Housing come from the elderly or people with a disability.  Keene Housing’s wait list for appropriate housing for these two populations reaches eight years. As the median age of our region’s population rises, so too will the need for more affordable housing options.

    Who is working to meet affordable housing needs in our region?

    Keene Housing owns or manages over 550 affordable housing units, from homeless shelters to subsidized homes.  In addition to providing affordable housing, Keene Housing also offers programs to residents that support employment, financial resilience, and healthy lifestyles -- from developing food forests that will provide residents with free organic produce to installing solar panels on units to decrease monthly utility bills.  Their Resident Self-Reliance program helps participants reach their goals by providing incentives such as education grants and rent credits.

    Keene Housing Kids Collaborative is a separate nonprofit that partners with community organizations to provide free or low-cost programs and learning opportunities to Keene Housing families.  You can support the Kids Collaborative at a silent auction on June 4 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Marriot Courtyard Downtown Keene.  Find tickets and more information at bit.ly/keenekidsjune.
     
    Southwestern Community Services (SCS) is another organization helping individuals and families find affordable housing in Cheshire and Sullivan counties.  Their Housing Stabilization Service Program offers immediate help to individuals and families facing homelessness.  They also provide grants to eligible low to moderate income families so they can afford to make needed home maintenance updates and repairs.

    Community members, social service staff, and church representations came together in 1987 to form the Cheshire Housing Trust -- a community land trust to address the rising cost of housing in Keene.  They currently own 10 properties that offer single rooms and multi-bedroom apartments in Keene, Marlborough, and Hinsdale for low to moderate income households.

    Individual property owners can also boost affordable housing options in our region.  New Hampshire Housing offers a Housing Choice Voucher program that subsidizes rents for eligible tenants.  New Hampshire Housing also offers financing to affordable housing developers and affordable mortgage loans targeted to homebuyers with incomes up to $126,700: gonewhampshirehousing.com.  

    This article barely scratches the surface of this topic, so we want to hear from you.  What affordable housing efforts in the Monadnock region do you know about? In a future article, we’ll share your answers and highlight innovative affordable housing efforts happening outside our region.  Please contact me at marketing@monadnockfood.coop.  Thank you!

    More about TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.  Over the past two years, TLC Monadnock raised over $90,000 for fourteen crowdfunding campaigns.  TLC Monadnock gives preference to campaigns that align with their respective city or town's master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.

    Discover more!

  • April 23, 2019 5:31 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

    It’s official!  The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program serving the entire Monadnock region, is one of four pilot sites across the U.S. participating in a National Science Foundation research project.  The project will assess the effectiveness of our crowdfunding program as a tool for community building and economic development.  Crowdfunding is the process in which an entrepreneur, business or organization asks a large number of people (usually through the Internet) to contribute small amounts of money to support a new business or project.

    "The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. "We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."

    What makes this year’s TLC Monadnock program different from past years?  This year, we’re focusing on social enterprises, mission-driven for-profits and non-profits using business principles to make the world a better place.  Examples of social enterprises include benefit corporations, cooperatives and other triple-bottom line businesses like W.S. Badger in Gilsum and Green Energy Options in Keene.  We’ll continue to build on the power of Internet crowdfunding and provide even more on-the-ground support to our campaign teams.  We invite existing and emerging social enterprises to learn more and apply to our program before May 10, 2019.

    Specifically, we’re looking for social enterprises interested in raising $15,000 or less for their business (larger amounts can work but please reach out to us first before you apply).  Projects need to have simple, achievable goals that will generate real excitement in our community. Proposals can be part of a bigger project but should also have stand-alone value.  Most importantly, potential campaign teams need to demonstrate how their project will deliver economic benefits to both their business and the community they serve.  We’ll give preference to projects that align with their respective city or town’s master plan and strengthen our Local Living Economy.

    Once accepted, social enterprises will receive a free assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses, helping us match training, marketing and community outreach tools to each campaign team’s unique needs.  Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, you’re not on your own when you launch a crowdfunding campaign with TLC Monadnock.  You will have a community of business advisors, marketing experts, and experienced crowdfunding coaches supporting you. 

    While there are no upfront costs, TLC Monadnock charges a 5% fee that is applied to all contributions.  This fee is used to pay expenses associated with hosting, administering and promoting TLC Monadnock and for providing direct assistance to campaign creators.  Think of this as a “Pay It Forward” fund instead of a fee.

    To view our Request for Proposals, please visit tlcmonadnock.com/rfp or contact me at marketing@monadnockfood.coop or 603-283-5401.

    More about TLC Monadnock

    TLC Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.  Crowdfunding, or the practice of raising funds to support a project from a large number of people, is a viable alternative to recruiting businesses from outside the region to boost economic activity.  Over the past two years, TLC Monadnock raised over $90,000 for fourteen crowdfunding campaigns.  TLC Monadnock gives preference to campaigns that align with their respective city or town's master plan and contribute to a local, green and fair economy.

    TLC Monadnock is currently hosted by Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.

    Discover more

  • April 22, 2019 5:10 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Thank you to the 100+ community members who helped The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program, decide which Local Living Economy building blocks to focus on in 2019. 

    The top three building blocks were:

    • Affordable Housing
    • Farms & Food
    • Living Wage Jobs & Equity

    We will focus on recruiting projects working on innovations in these building blocks and will also provide these projects with extra support to run successful crowdfunding campaigns.  Know of a social enterprise working to strengthen one of our top Local Living Economy building blocks?  Please share our call for proposals with them today!


  • April 05, 2019 7:04 PM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)
    • Do you have an incredible project just waiting to happen -- one that would strengthen your business, our community and the local economy -- if only you had the funds to make it happen?
    • Is your business a "social enterprise" that addresses social and/or environmental issues?
    • Will your project support community goals, while keeping to a budget of $15,000 or less?

    If you said yes to these questions...THANK YOU!  You are part of the emerging Fourth Sector economy -- a sector that uses the power of business to do good things for people and the planet.

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock believes in people like you.  That's why we're participating in a new research project in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and The Local Crowd designed to uncover the best ways to support Fourth Sector enterprises. We are pleased to invite you to participate in this project.

    Learn more and download our Request for Proposals

    We will accept proposals until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019.  TLC Monadnock will select up to six local businesses to participate in this pilot study -- and the top proposal will receive a free crowdfunding video from 710 Main Films to support their campaign.
     
    Have questions? Please contact Jen Risley at marketing@monadnockfood.coop or 603-283-5401.

    TLC Monadnock is hosted by the Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by our community partners: Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation. 


  • April 05, 2019 7:52 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program serving the entire Monadnock region, has been selected to become one of four pilot study sites for a National Science Foundation (NSF) research project.

    This NSF project is designed to identify and support the needs of fourth sector enterprises, also known as social enterprises, which are mission-driven organizations that use business principles to make the world a better place.

    TLC Monadnock will test and evaluate a new educational/crowdfunding platform developed by The Local Crowd, LLC (TLC) a Laramie, Wyoming based firm. TLC received a $225,000 NSF grant to conduct this research, which has the ultimate goal of increasing community awareness and support for social enterprises.

    "The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. "We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."

    "This project will support existing triple bottom line businesses in our region while encouraging new enterprises to explore this sector of our economy," said Jen Risley, TLC Monadnock Program Manager.  "We couldn't be more thrilled to take TLC Monadnock to this next level."

    For more information, visit tlcmonadnock.com or contact Jen Risley at marketing@monadnockfood.coop or 603-283-5401.

    In addition to TLC Monadnock, the communities of Goshen, Indiana; Laramie, Wyoming; and Omniworks™ Business Incubator, Los Angeles, CA, will also serve as pilot sites. This research project will be conducted through 2019.

    About The Local Crowd

    The Local Crowd's crowdfunding/education platform is designed to solve social problems and make the world a better place by catalyzing community support for social enterprises.

    About The Local Crowd Monadnock

    The Local Crowd Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding program helping start-up ventures, early-growth stage companies, and community-focused projects find access to capital.  Since TLC Monadnock launched in March 2017, fourteen crowdfunding campaigns have collectively raised over $90,000 from 700 individuals.
        

    About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs 

    America's Seed Fund, powered by NSF, awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America's Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.  

  • March 24, 2019 8:00 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

    Help The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a community-based crowdfunding program, decide which Local Living Economy building blocks to focus on in 2019.  We will focus on recruiting projects working on innovations in these building blocks and will also provide these projects with extra support to run successful crowdfunding campaigns.  Help us decide which Local Living Economy building blocks by taking this short online poll.

    Take Our Poll!


    What is a Local Living Economy?

    In November 2009, a group of 70 local entrepreneurs, community leaders, students, and engaged citizens gathered at Keene State College’s Seventh Biennial Symposium “From Local to Global” to answer this question. The consensus: A Local Living Economy is a resilient system that improves our quality of life, meets everyone’s basic needs and creates an engaged citizenry.

    What are the building blocks?

    With that definition agreed upon, we moved on to the next question: How do we cultivate a stronger Local Living Economy?  Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and key participant in the November 2009 discussion, shared, “In order to build a Local Living Economy, we must first determine what one looks like -- what are the components, or building blocks -- what’s our vision for a Local Living Economy that we can work toward achieving?”

    We identified a number of those building blocks including: Affordable Housing, Arts & Culture, Climate Adaptation & Resilience, Community Health, Community Capital, Cooperatives & Community Ownership, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Conservation & Stewardship, Farms & Food, Green Manufacturing, Green Building & Design, Living Wage Jobs & Equity, Renewable Energy, and Sustainable Transportation.

    We then compiled examples of regional businesses and organizations currently contributing to these building blocks.  We wanted to understand how we’re already building a stronger Local Living Economy and where the gaps in the system are.

    Building Block Builders

    Keene State College’s Architecture Program serves as one prime example of a Building Block Builder in our region. Their work focuses on multiple building blocks such as Affordable Housing, Climate Resilience, and Green Building.  Students designed tiny houses as part of their senior capstone project. Three of their models were displayed at the Tiny House Fest Vermont in Brattleboro last year. 

    The Architecture Program is also working with the Resilient Design Institute (RDI) to design a tiny house village suited for our climate.  In addition to providing housing for the homeless, they want to design a village that will offer emergency housing following natural disasters.  Typically, tiny house villages include small private living structures clustered around shared buildings with bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry facilities. One of their biggest challenges with this model is finding a way to keep the private structures livable during the winter and during power outages. This group will meet again this spring to tackle this and other design challenges.


    Building on TLC Monadnock’s Success

    In 2018, TLC Monadnock attracted ten teams to develop and launch diverse crowdfunding campaigns on our platform.  These campaigns collectively raised $58,256 from 500 supporters -- up from $35,146 from 227 supporters in 2017.  Seventy percent of TLC Monadnock campaigns met or surpassed their crowdfunding goals -- while Kickstarter has a 31% success rate.  We also successfully raised funds to cover a portion of this year’s platform fees.  These funds also empowered us to expand our platform to serve the entire region.

    We’d love for TLC Monadnock to drive positive change in our Local Living Economy one building block at a time.  Help us focus on what part of the system we’ll tackle this year and take our short poll.

    TLC Monadnock is hosted by the Monadnock Food Co-op and supported by our community partners: Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Monadnock Economic Development Corporation.

    The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock is a community-based crowdfunding platform that empowers individuals to support the businesses, organizations, and initiatives that grow wealthier and healthier communities in our region.
  • March 09, 2019 7:41 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Help TLC Monadnock decide which Local Living Economy building block to focus on in 2019.  We will focus on recruiting projects working on innovations in this building block and provide them with extra support to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.  Help us decide by taking this poll.

    Take our poll

    Our current options are:

    • Affordable Housing
    • Arts & Culture
    • Climate Adaptation & Resilience
    • Community Health
    • Community Capital
    • Cooperatives & Community Ownership
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Environmental Conservation & Stewardship
    • Farms & Food
    • Green Manufacturing
    • Green Building & Design
    • Living Wage Jobs & Equity
    • Renewable Energy
    • Sustainable Transportation

    What is a Local Living Economy? In November 2009, a group of 70 local entrepreneurs, community leaders, students and engaged citizens gathered at Keene State College’s Seventh Biennial Symposium “From Local to Global” to answer this question. The consensus: A Local Living Economy is a resilient system that improves our quality of life, meets everyone’s basic needs and creates an engaged citizenry.

    With that definition agreed upon, we now move on to the next question: How do we cultivate a stronger Local Living Economy?  Judy Wicks, co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and key participant in the November 2009 discussion, shared, “In order to build a local living economy, we must first determine what one looks like—what are the components, or building blocks, a vision of a local living economy that we can work toward achieving?” 

    Together, we are looking at the system that drives our Local Living Economy. This type of holistic thinking takes work, but it can result in better problem solving leading to more positive and lasting changes in our community.

    As scientist and systems thinker Peter Senge states, “Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots.  Fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness are not problems to be solved -- they are frozen patterns of thought to be dissolved.”

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