New Economy Week

Webinar: Crowdfunding to Support the New Economy - A WealthWorks Perspective

A recording of our webinar from November 20 is available here. Special thanks to the Center for Rural Entrepreneurshp for hosting this event.


Croatan Institute has been supporting rural value chains seeking funding to build and keep wealth local through the WealthWorks development approach, which aims to simultaneously advance a region's overall prosperity and self-reliance, strengthen existing and emerging sectors, and increase jobs and incomes for lower-income residents and firms. Join us as we discuss how crowdfunding provides a way to support the kinds of businesses which can lead to the creation of the New Economy, and how start-ups be supported by small-scale, low-risk gifts or investments.

In this webinar, we will give an overview of the Wealthworks approach to local and regional economic development, and within the spectrum of financing available for new businesses, we will introduce how online crowdfunding can fill the gap of funding in early-stage ventures, and essentially be the new form of New Economy "barn-raising" we need to support this work. For questions and to register for the webinar, please email

Blog Posts

As part of New Economy Week, Croatan associates highlighted some of their recent work through writing blog posts which answered the New Economy Week questions of the day.

Associates Becky Johnson and Kristin Lang co-authored a blog post entitled "Lessons from Appalachia," which focuses on what the region can teach us about transitioning away from coal dependency. The blog post is available at the New Economy Week website.

Senior Associate Christi Electris also authored a blog post, entitled "Barn Raising the New Economy." With more and more people connecting online, strong social networks are critical to supporting communities at a neighborhood, regional or purely virtual level. Through the lens of Croatan Institute's work supporting rural value chains seeking funding to build and keep wealth local, online crowdfunding can be the new form of "barn-raising" we need to support this work. This post is also available on the New Economy Week website.

Also, please check out two of the campaigns that were supported through Croatan Institute's Crowdfunding Action Learning Program this past spring, which came to a close during New Economy Week:

    • Agua4All: Bringing safe drinking water to rural California, was able to raise enough funds to install two filtered drinking water stations in one community, part of the year-long pilot for the new state-wide initiative, #Agua4All

    • Black Belt Arts House Pottery Station: Supporting the arts economy in rural Alabama. The campaign was able to meet it's full goal and is in the process of setting up its new pottery station which will support artists and a growing arts value chain in the Black Belt region of Alabama. To learn more, see this WealthWorks spotlight about the campaign.





Christi Electris is a Senior Associate at Croatan Institute, and project lead for the Crowdfunding Action Learning Program. Through her participation on the Accelerating Impact project, Electris has lead three crowdfunding trainings for WealthWorks participants, and is the author of “Guide to Crowdfunding for WealthWorks Value Chains: Understanding Options, Getting Started” (2014). She has developed and led social media strategies for author Marjorie Kelly upon the release of her most recent book, shaped Tellus Institute’s social media strategy for the release of an upcoming initiative, and consulted on a variety of website and database development projects. Read more


Kristin Lang is an Associate at Croatan Institute and a Crowdfunding Action Learning Program team member. She began her career at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, where she directed communications and helped develop the organization’s social media strategies. Prior to joining the Institute, Lang also worked with Oxfam America's Private Sector Department on their food justice campaign and helped develop the indicators for their Behind the Brands scorecard. Read more


Becky Johnson is also an Associate at Croatan Institute and a Crowdfunding Action Learning Program team member. She has worked on a variety of environmental policy issues, including alternative transportation, city planning, energy, and urban greening. While at Sustain Charlotte, Johnson was responsible for the organization’s newsletter and social media strategy, as well as working on alternative transportation issues in Charlotte, NC, and presenting her findings on the benefits of streetcars to the Charlotte City Council. Read more