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In this episode of the Capital Insight Podcast, Stephanie Geller, Founder of Community Wealth Builders, a nonprofit initiative that focuses on bringing new ideas, policies, and models to her hometown of Baltimore City, discusses utilizing community investing as a way to build a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient local economy.
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As Stephanie explains, “Community wealth-building is an economic development paradigm that really focuses on new models that bring power and resources back to disinvested neighborhoods.”

 

In this episode, Stephanie shares insight on some of the initiatives her company is leading including the Maryland Neighborhood Exchange which utilizes grassroots community investing to help businesses raise the capital they need from their customers and community. “Having that cemented relationship with customers who have a small financial stake in your success, that’s really going to increase the business’s ability to survive.”

 

Since launching in December 2019, her company has supported 68 local businesses to raise over $3.7 million from more than 9,400 small investors. Listen to the full episode below to learn more.

 

 

Stephanie Geller is the Founder and Director of Community Wealth Builders. She works passionately to foster an ecosystem more supportive of community wealth-building models and local-, minority-, and cooperatively-owned businesses in Baltimore. She is also the Co-Founder and Director of the nation’s first locally-focused grassroots crowdfunding platform, the Maryland Neighborhood Exchange, which aims to foster a more sustainable, robust, and resilient local economy by expanding investment crowdfunding across the state.

Previously, Stephanie worked at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where she focused on promoting community wealth-building strategies and models. In this role, she created and co-taught with faculty from the UMD business and law schools the first-ever, joint MSW, MBA, and JD graduate-level class, which engaged students in analyzing opportunities for new business development based on anchor institution procurement. Stephanie’s previous nonprofit experience includes nearly fifteen years as a Research Project Manager at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Civil Society Studies, where she managed, oversaw, and coordinated all facets of the Center’s two major research projects focused on U.S. nonprofit organizations. Stephanie received her MSW with a specialization in Social and Community Development from the University of Maryland School of Social Work has a BS in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University, and completed public policy training at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

 

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The Capital Insight podcast intro and outro is voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at reel.peach.vo@gmail.com