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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

This workshop explores innovative models for economic relationships. We all know that material deprivation and economic inequality persist, even in a world of abundance. This workshop invites participants to think of persistent inequality and deprivation not as a failure of human goodness or commitment, but rather as a call for greater imagination and willingness to enact new ways to connect people in meaningful and just economic relationships across social and geographic boundaries. Participants reflect on individual and collective economic deprivation through an understanding of need and interdependence, thereby opening the door to creative individual and collective economic solutions. Hopeful stories highlight economic systems and models serving people and communities better than have our inherited systems and models.

Three creative economic models are presented in this workshop: Microfinance (Activity 3), Resilience Circles (Activity 4), and Crowd-funding (Alternate Activity 1). In a 90-minute workshop you can explore two of the three. Read the entire workshop in advance and decide whether to substitute Alternate Activity 1 for Activity 3 or Activity 4, depending on the needs and interests of participants.

Review the Accessibility guidelines in the program Introduction under Integrating All Participants.


This workshop will:

  • Engage participants in identifying economic need and inequality in their immediate and broader communities
  • Emphasize the complexity of human economic systems and provide practice in identifying interdependencies
  • Demonstrate examples of economic models which connect people in new ways and increase the economic well-being of individuals and communities
  • Identify ways participants might support creative economic models in their lives, through their faith communities, and in other contexts.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Understand ways current economic systems fail to meet the needs of individuals and communities, through examining economic need and inequality in their immediate and broader communities
  • Learn to identify interdependencies in an economic system
  • Explore the complexity of economic systems and the challenges related to creating holistic economic solutions
  • Understand and be able to explain at least two creative economic models and their impact on individuals and communities
  • Articulate ways in which new models align with their personal, core financial values.

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