Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Sharing Revolution

Jessica Conrad

The recent rise of the commons and the sharing economy seems to suggest a growing recognition of the fact that our health, happiness, and security depend greatly on the planet and people around us.Sharing Revolution: The essential economics of the commons  highlights the many ways, new and old, that people connect and collaborate to advance the common good and develop greater economic autonomy.  The Cleveland model is also featured.

Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

Joel Rogers and Satya Rhodes-Conway

In a new report from the Center for American Progress, Joel Rogers and Satya Rhodes-Conway of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) outline policies that cities can adopt to become more inclusive and sustainable. The authors espouse democratic organization as a critical component to social equity and wealth creation and highlight the critical linking of anchor procurement strategies and employee ownership, as seen in the Cleveland Model, to strengthen local economies and stabilize communities.

Southern States Cooperative

In 1923, 150 farmers met in Richmond and decided to pool their funds so that they could purchase better quality seed suited to Virginia lands. Read more about Southern States Cooperative...

Richmond Food Co-op

The nascent Richmond Food Co-op will be a member-owned full service grocery store providing affordable, local, sustainable and healthy food options.  In addition to improving access to organic and local crops, it aims to educate communities on healthy eating and democratic, community-decision making processes. Though still in its membership drive phase, it has been incorporated for a year. In 2013, it received a $10,000 seed grant from the Food Co-op Initiative, which will fund a Market and Financial Feasibility study. With a strong following and active membership of 360, it is expected to be open by 2015.

Richmond’s Bicycle Cooperative

The six-member Richmond’s Bicycle Cooperative teaches low-income people the skills needed to maintain and restore a bicycle.  It provides a community space with tools and recycled parts available to the public, empowering those without a car or unable to afford bus fare, to travel sustainably, safely, and affordably. Members volunteer about eight hours a week and are able to teach about twenty persons.  Revenue generated from selling refurbished bikes goes toward operating costs and helps fund a books donation nonprofit. 

Northside Artist Cooperative

The Northside Artist Cooperative is a network of artists committed to creativity, education, hospitality, and community. Located in the Ginter Park Recreation Center, it provides Ginter Park and other Richmond artists an opportunity to display and sell their work, or even teach art classes.  

New Generations Federal Credit Union

With over $65 million in total assets, New Generations provides critical financial services to over 14,000 persons living, working, volunteering, or worshipping in Richmond. Working towards improving financial literacy and democratic participation in the credit union, New Generations operates a student-run branch inside a local high school and offers a member information call center.

ARCH

In 2012, a group of friends involved in Richmond’s Occupy and activist movements formed ARCH cooperative housing with the goal of providing high quality, low rent housing for low-income, marginalized members of the community, including those of color and varying sexual orientation. Resident members invest a few hours a week volunteering in Richmond’s Northside neighborhood. At eight members, ARCH has ambitious plans to expand to 24 by the end of 2014.

Fifth Season Cooperative

 Founded by the Vernon Economic Development Association (VEDA on a Buy Local Buy Wisconsin grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture (DATCP), Fifth Season Cooperative is a multi-stakeholder organization that focuses on producing, processing, and selling healthy local foods. Read more about Fifth Season Cooperative...

Rethinking Community Economic Development Beyond “Rent or Own”

Changing the ownership picture to build community wealth

Crossposted from Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog

Although the notion of building wealth through home ownership has taken a beating in recent years due to the Great Recession, ownership more broadly is still seen as a key factor in building wealth. So says the Greenlining Institute. So finds a recent study authored by Thomas Shapiro and colleagues at Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Even the Housing and Economic Development Commission of the National Baptist Convention agrees.

Center for Family Life

The Center for Family Life (CFL) is a nonprofit, social service organization focused on promoting positive outcomes for children, adults, and families in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.  Aiming to help area residents secure fair wages and dignified employment, CFL began incubating worker-owned cooperatives eight years ago.  Recognizing the potential of the model to create job opportunities for hard-to-employ populations, in 2012 CFL launched a NYC Worker Cooperative Development Initiative, which provides 12 months of training and technical assistance to other community-based groups in Read more about Center for Family Life...

Wellspring Collaborative

Wellspring Collaborative is a community-based cooperative development organization with a mission to create a network of worker-owned firms in inner-city Springfield, Massachusetts, which will provide on-the-job training, employment and wealth creation opportunities for low income and unemployed residents of the city. Wellspring’s approach is to generate businesses that meet the demand for goods and services from local nonprofit universities and hospitals. Read more about Wellspring Collaborative...

Namasté Solar

Namasté Solar is a sustainable energy installation firm which has installed over 25MW of photovoltaics in Colorado and elsewhere since 2005. Read more about Namasté Solar...

Opportunity Threads

Blending a commitment to ecological stewardship in textile production along with empowering, stable, and non-exploitative labor for its largely immigrant worker-owners, Opportunity Threads is a cooperatively operated cut and sew plant in Southern Appalachia. Read more about Opportunity Threads...

Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives

Named after the Catholic priest who helped start the Mondragon network of worker cooperatives, the Arizmendi Association is a framework for mutual aid and support comprising six separate worker cooperative bakery cafes across the Bay Area. Read more about Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives...

Worker-Owned Companies Class of 2013

A review of some of last year's newly employee-owned companies

2013 was a good year to become a worker-owned company. Although just a selection of some of the newest worker-owners on the block, we highlight 17 new and existing businesses that were founded as or transitioned into worker-ownership in 2013. If these businesses are local to you, we encourage you to support and welcome your newly worker-owned neighbors.

Read more about Worker-Owned Companies Class of 2013...

Cleveland's Greater University Circle Initiative

Justin Glanville
The Cleveland Foundation

A new Cleveland Foundation report highlights the achievements and lessons learned from the Greater University Circle Initiative—a robust partnership among the city’s anchor institutions to foster economic and community revitalization. To date, the Initiative has created three employee-owned companies through the Evergreen Cooperatives Initiative, developed a workforce training center, launched an employer-assisted housing program, catalyzed changes to the city’s public transportation system, spurred over $140 million in new, public-private development, and helped direct an increasing percentage of the institutions’ more than $3 billion in purchasing toward local businesses.