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Welcome to ARC's Newsletter! If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please follow the "Manage your subscription" link at the bottom of this publication or write to us at (If you desire to unsubscribe, see the link at the very bottom of this e-mail.)

Here is a brief description of ARC's work:

ARC works with local small businesses, cooperatives, and social enterprises to promote sustainable regional economic development, helping them obtain the goods and services they need to run their businesses from within the Washington Metro region. ARC is in the process of re-oreinting its work to encourage and undertake Community Visioning processes for and with neighborhoods and local governments throughout the area. ARC is currently partnering with another non-profit, the Coalition for an Inclusive Economy of Greater Washington, DC, to introduce the Localight rewards app to business associations, anchor institutions, and government agencies.

If you or your organization would like to sponsor an upcoming issue, please contact Jim at
{click on the photo to see mini-biography}
Tebabu Assefa


ARC’s primary focus through the pandemic had been the formation of an alliance for independent businesses in our region to engage in joint purchasing. It has been a disappointment to many of us involved that these efforts have not found traction among potential participants, interested organizational partners, or attracted significant grant funding. One of the reasons for this failure is that, while still a promising idea, in the go-go DMV economic marketplace, with a wide variety of existing business associations, there are no definitive drivers for cross-sectoral, multi-ethnic, regional business alliance formation. As a result, in March 2024, ARC's Board of Directors discussed seven diverging directions ARC might take as an alternative. While ARC is still interested to help to build a purchasing alliance, we recognize that ARC needs to focus on a limited set of small successes to achieve its long-term mission (as described above).

Among the seven options, Community Visioning, Localight Sales (for which ARC already acts as a sales agent), and establishing a Social Co-op came out as the top three alternatives. Community Visioning is an open-ended community engagement process (see the ladder graphic below, courtesy of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council newsletter - that has the power to stimulate community-based and community-supportive economic activities. The Social Co-op opportunity, unfortunately, presumes government and/or anchor institution funding dedicated to addressing systematic harms visited upon a particular vulnerable community or demographic, which ARC would likely not be quick to secure. We sense, however, that conducting Community Visioning processes with particular communities that are open to ARC’s involvement, may a good way to lay the groundwork for the establishment of such a Co-op. Likewise, introducing the Localight Reward App ( as an option to promote community-serving businesses as part of a Community Visioning learning process, could lead to the adoption of the Localight rewards app in a geographically-concentrated way, benefiting a target disadvantaged community through the enhancement of businesses in that area.

ARC's first opportunity to engage in Community Visioning will happen Oct. 19th at the 1st DMV Democracy Festival, the organizing for which is being led by Learning Life (see for more information). The premise for the festival is that there are festivals for Cherry Blossoms, Wine & Beer, etc. Why not for something we treasure and on which we depend like Democracy? Please consider attending or sponsoring - or even better, contribute to ARC financially to support our Commiunity Visioning work going forward. Click in the upper right-hand corner, here:

Upcoming Events!

On Sat. Oct. 19th, ARC will participate in the DMV Democracy Festival by conducting a Community Visioning process for residents throughout the region. For more information about the festival please contact:

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On April 3rd, ARC's Exec. Dir., Jim Schulman, facilitated a workshop on Creating Value in Communities (i.e. Creating Real Value in an Uncertain World) for the Military Children 2024 World Expo Workshop Series. Other workshops in the month-long series hosted by ARC's partner, the Military Children's Six Foundation, are described here or by going to
On Sunday April 7th, ARC's Exec. Dir., Jim Schulman, made a presentation at the virtual Student Sustainability Summit organized by University of Maryland students. The 2-day summit featured a wide range of relevant topics. Check it out here:
The late EM Risse worked and wrote extensively about human settlement patterns and many critical physical planning issues of our age, especially concerning land use. He laid out his ideas on his comprehensive website, ARC is currently helping to support the preservation of his powerful perspectives by keeping this website alive since his passing.

Risse distilled much of his thousands of pages of thinking and writing into a relatively short volume called The Little Book, which, for the time being, you can still access without charge at:

I encourage anyone who cares about the survival of humanity and/or planet Earth to read The Little Book and consider contributing to ARC's effort to keep Risse's website live online!: See the upper right-hand corner, here:
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