Somerville Stock Exchange Report #10, for Oct. 1, 2012

The Somerville Stock Exchange, or "SSE" for short, is a community forum. It's also a fundraiser—and a different take on what a stock market can be!

Hi there. Welcome to the tenth Somerville Stock report.

Twice a month, I’ve been writing about my community art project, the Somerville Stock Exchange (SSE). The project involves giving people “Somerville Stocks” based on what they’re doing to make Somerville’s community, creative life, and   environment better. The idea is to document all of the wonderful things our neighbors are doing—and to get people talking about being involved in their community.

All of the things people tell us are included in the project’s printed and online forum. And all of these things affect the “worth” of the different types of Somerville Stocks.

Just like a regular stock market. And just like with a regular stock market, someone writes about why the stocks have changed in value. And that’s what this column is about.

“Somerville Stocks”

So how did “Somerville stocks” do recently?

Community stocks stocks didn’t do so well this period. They dropped a whopping 25%, losing $1.62 to end at $4.97.

They tanked for a couple reasons. First, there was a study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy that looked into how much Americans give to charities and nonprofits, and broke the results down by area. The Boston metro area ranked 49th--which means that almost every other metro area in the country is more generous towards charities and nonprofits than we are. Worse, Somerville reportedly gave at a lower rate (2.9% of discretionary income) than both Cambridge (4.2%) and Boston (4.5%). As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Boston metro area was named one of the most racist cities in America by online news source Gawker. While the article represented the opinion of one journalist, it is also an allegation that seems to keep coming up, and that seems to be shared by quite a large number of people. And can that many people be wrong?

Stock would have fallen further, but the 7th annual Fluff Festival gave the community stocks a few points. The Festival was in honor of marshmallow fluff, which was invented in Somerville. There were bands, vendors, games, and food. (To read more about Community Stocks, click here.)

Environment stocks stayed pretty steady in first place, rising $0.02, to end at $7.75. This lift was because Dave B. told us he made a donation to Groundwork Somerville, a local environmental group. (To read more about Environment Stocks, click here.)

Creative stocks recovered a little from the huge dip they took last period, gaining $0.24 to end at $6.85. This put them firmly in second place.

This rise was because of a hopeful sign about the Armory Arts Center. City officials agreed to ask the zoning board to let the Armory remain open late, cook food on site, and serve alcohol during events. While the final decision is up to the Zoning Board, this is very promising for the Armory, which recently declared that it couldn't remain open without these changes. The Armory is one of the only large arts venues in the city. (To read more about Creative Stocks, click here.)

To read more about why Somerville Stocks are “worth” what they’re “worth,” take a look at our online forum.

Get invested in your community!

If you’d like to earn yourself some Stocks, get in touch! You can    earn stocks by making a donation to one of our partner nonprofits (Somerville Homeless Coalition; Somerville Arts Council; Somerville Climate Action) and then letting us know about it. Or by sharing something that you’ve done for Somerville in our forum.

Hope to hear from you! To contact us, click here. We're also on Facebook.


Every three months, we put together a report showing all of the information we’ve gathered so far. It includes all of the material from the forum (news stories about things that have impacted life in town; stories from locals about what they’re doing to make Somerville a better place), as well as charts and graphs showing how stock values have changed.

Here’s the PDF of the report, free for the reading.

And check back on October 15th for the next Somerville Stock Report.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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