Hi there. My name's Tim Devin, and I run the Somerville Stock Exchange. Unlike our New York or London cousins, the Somerville Stock Exchange isn't about money—it's about community. 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!
Since we opened our doors on March 31st this year, we’ve been gathering information on what Somerville folks have done to enrich Somerville's creative life, community spirit, and environment. Everything we discover will be part of the project's printed and online forum for other people to read. And everyone who participates gets some "Somerville Stocks."
Want to share something you've done? Or see what other people around you are doing for Somerville? Great! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling, or see the online forum for more details.
You can also get Somerville Stocks by donating money to one of the project’s nonprofit partners (the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the Somerville Arts Council, and Somerville Climate Action), and then letting us know about it. See this web page for more information on how to donate to these worthy causes.
So what are these "Somerville Stocks"? Like I mentioned before, the SSE isn't about money, so the Stocks aren't actually redeemable for cash. Somerville Stocks change their "value" based on what people tell us they've done, and on current events that we think have affected life in town. Think of it as a game. Or as a metaphor.
For instance, as of May 1st, Community Stocks are "worth" $2.21, which is up $0.63 from April 15th, which was the previous time we updated prices. These Community Stocks changed value for a number of reasons. For instance, community member David T. told us about how he volunteers at the Welcome Project teaching ESL; and Seth Itzkan told us about how he hosts meetings for a community group at his office. We also found out about Somerville being named best place to live by the Phoenix, about people volunteering their Saturday morning for the annual Spring Clean-Up day, and some other great things about Somerville. These all made the Community Stocks go up in value.
But… we also found out about the tension over the Somerville Community Corporation's proposed low-income housing in Union Square. We thought this tension wasn't so good, so it brought stock prices down a little. The end result was a $0.63 net increase in this period. If things had happened differently in Union Square, stock values would've gone up much more.
Community Stocks are one thing. There are also Art Stocks, and Environment Stocks. They both went up this period as well. To see why, click here.
We're going to update stock values twice a month—on the 1st, and on 15th. Patch was nice enough to give me some space here to write about Somerville Stocks, and the reasons their "values" have changed. I'll do this on the 1st and 15th of each month as well. Check back later.
And I hope you decide to get involved!