The Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the economic and social well being of working families in Connecticut. CCNE addresses issues of inequality and racial disparity in our cities through grassroots campaigns for affordable housing, access to health care, living wages, voter & civic engagement, environmental justice, and a community voice in development.
The Grassroots Community Agenda is the product of a decade of community organizing and research beginning in 2000. In 2004, over 350 leaders from diverse constituencies gathered to forge and adopt a new vision statement based on shared values. This “New Social Contract” has guided CCNE’s work since 2004, helping us find common ground between different single-issue strategies and stay focused on long-term positive change rather than simply react to individual crises.
Since then, CCNE has knocked on thousands of doors through the Community Voter Project (CVP), and had thousands of conversations and group meetings at door steps, in church basements, and in living rooms. We have called together elected officials, community leaders, and clergy to discuss New Haven’s economic future in our “Economic Blueprint” meetings. We understand that many of our young people get caught up in a cycle of crime and violence when they lack opportunity and hope. They are left out of the economy and left behind. We have looked to the grassroots for concrete solutions to the problems facing our city. The product of that work is this Grassroots Community Agenda, outlining steps towards actualizing the community’s vision for a New Social Contract in New Haven.
Our new report, Building an Inclusive Prosperity for New Haven, builds on years of experience with organizing, door-knocking, surveying, and research by further analyzing the problems our cities face and outlining plans to address them. To translate vision into proposal into reality, however, we know that it takes a movement of people collectively pushing shared goals. You can join this movement for economic justice by getting involved with CCNE.
Communities Organized for Responsible Development (CORD) Community Benefits Agreement with Yale-New Haven
A vibrant grassroots organization with 800 households and 40 organizations, CORD won a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with Yale-New Haven Hospital that included gains in job training, local hiring, organizing rights, affordable housing, access to health care, traffic control, health education and environmental protection.
Universal health care
After more than six years of organizing, with allies in the campaign for healthcare4every1 we continue to advance measures to expand access to affordable health care for the uninsured and to end to racial and ethnic health care disparities. We educated and organized our local bases and an ever-stronger statewide organization of religious leaders, the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care. We passed state health care reform laws in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Working with local immigrants’ organizations and immigration advocates in New Haven, we supported the first municipal ID card in the U.S. Working with the Hartford Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, we passed a municipal ordinance prohibiting Hartford city government from asking people about their immigration status.
Service workers’ rights
We successfully engaged community leaders in workers’ efforts to organize at Yale-New Haven Hospital, New England Linen, the Omni Hotel and to support organizing school bus drivers in New Haven, at Adriaen’s Landing, and at corporate cafeterias managed by Aramark in Hartford.
18,000 debtors forgiven
After years of CCNE’s exposing and fighting aggressive legal actions by Yale-New Haven Hospital against patients with medical debt, Yale-New Haven Hospital forgave the debt of 18,000 patients, including lifting over 1000 liens on houses. Learn more about the Hospital Debt Justice Project here.
Developing leadership, recognizing race and class barriers
CCNE has conducted six Civic Leadership Institutes, bringing together labor, community, religious and elected leaders to discuss regional economics, labor history, power analysis, organizing, power building, voter engagement, racial justice and immigrants’ rights. In 2011 we conducted our first Values-Based Leadership Institute and graduated a group ready to step up and pursue positions of greater authority in their organizations and communities.
In both Hartford and New Haven, CCNE has worked with partners to pass ordinances to update the living wages. The updates expand the scope and amount of the wages and benefits.