I wrote on March 24 about our broken society, referring to the work of the British writer Phillip Blond and a New York Times David Brooks column. Blond said that to fix this broken society, we need to re-moralize the market, re-localize the economy and re-capitalize the poor.

I characterized Blond’s points this way.

Re-moralizing the market means that how things get done in our society matters, not simply that they get done. That’s what happens to a borrower and the lender matters more than the fact that a loan was made and a quick gain was achieved by both parties.

Re-localizing the economy means that Main Street should drive our economy, not Wall Street. That we want those businesses that make up 99 percent of the number of businesses scattered across the country thriving, not just the 1 percent residing in major financial centers.

Re-capitalizing the poor means paychecks should fuel our households, not subsidies. That we want jobs paying living wages as the foundation to a healthy and solid society.

Considering these three goals, re-localizing the economy, looking to Main Street to drive our economy, seems to me to be the most important and if accomplished, would lead to achieving the other two. A localized economy is a much more transparent economy and thus a more moral economy. The impact of economic advancement on neighbors and peers surfaces in public hearings, letters to editors, online forums and face-to-face encounters. These are much more effective at curtailing harmful acts than regulations made in Washington.

Further, a localized economy creates local jobs, which in turn create other local jobs fueled by paychecks spent locally. And just as importantly, local jobs bring people into the community every day. Workers in the community find it convenient to patronize other local businesses. They find themselves interacting on the street, in the shops and restaurants and are aware of other activities happening in their community. Vital, lively communities emerge.

I am beginning to see evidence that this bottom-up, localized approach is spreading across the economy. One initiative surfaced at the Picker Institute’s “Always Events” conference on April 6 in Washington, D.C. This organization, founded in Midcoast Maine by recently deceased local resident Harvey Picker, is dedicated to fostering patient-centered care, approaching health care with a primary focus on the concerns of patients and other health-care consumers.

The conference attendees, representing organizations from the AFL-CIO and Humana to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the American Hospital Association, were there to develop a list of “always events,” interactions that should happen every time a patient in the health-care system encounters a provider. The goal was also to develop a method for integrating “always events” into a hospital’s standard operating procedure — advancing the cause of improved patient care one hospital at a time, building from the ground up, localizing the solution, leading by example and attacking the issue at a scale that does not require legislation, guidelines or regulation.

A second initiative was discussed on a recent public television “News Hour” segment. This initiative is titled Move Your Money and encourages citizens and businesses to transfer their funds from regional, national and global banks to community banks. The Move Your Money.info Web site says, “Community banks are typically more conservative about how they manage their money, they’re more closely connected to the people and businesses who live near them, and they’re more inclined to make loans they know will get paid back. In other words, they have the values that more people would want banks to have.”

A third effort is one in which I recently became engaged. It is an effort to create federal legislation to make it faster and less costly for foundations to provide below-market loans or equity investments to special types of for-profit businesses. To be eligible for foundation investment capital, the business must be driven to maximize social good rather than to maximize investor return.

The proposed federal legislation creates a new category of for-profit-corporation called L3C, a special class of the current limited liability corporation. The L3C was created by Robert Lang, chief executive officer of the Mary Elizabeth & Gordon B. Mannweiler Foundation. Seventeen states have adopted L3C legislation and a bill is currently being considered by Maine legislators. The Maine Original Organic Milk Company (MooMilk) is the first company in Maine to form under L3C legislation and did so filing as a Vermont corporation doing business in Maine.

Foundations can make such investments without this legislation now. But the process typically takes 12 months and around $100,000 in legal fees. They call these program-related investments. Examples include a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation 2008 investment in an innovative new national news program for the morning drive in the New York City area. The Seattle Foundation invested $1 million in July 2009 to create an $8 million loan fund to help Washington State’s King County small businesses. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation created a $30 million credit support agreement to secure $300 million in charter school facility financing in November 2009.

Foundations, whose assets fell precipitously with the stock market, are looking for ways to support socially driven organizations without depleting their much decreased asset base. An outright grant to an entity removes principal. Money granted is money lost. Investing in an entity does not lock in a loss; it provides for recapture of principal and possible gain.

The Kellogg Foundation recently announced that it is dedicating $100 million of its assets to a new mission-driven investment program. An expedited and less costly way to provide loans and equity would encourage more of this activity. Such is the purpose of the L3C legislation.

I am particularly enthusiastic about this legislation because of its application to the community news industry, an industry struggling to find a new business model consistent with the expectations of digital delivery.

These community news organizations create social good. Time-honored professional journalism is critical to healthy democracy and vital community life. Trusted, reliable and timely news cannot be assured without sustainable businesses to do so. But sustainability is not sufficient to the venture capitalist industry that bases its investments on a 25 percent return expectation.

This critical new source of investment capital could be available to entrepreneurs with new ideas unencumbered by the yoke of past practices, or legacy organizations ready to reinvent themselves to meet the new opportunities afforded by the Internet and new mobile devices. L3C corporations, backed by foundation funding, could lead the industry to a new business model that could then be applied quickly and effectively across the country.