Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Impact investing and employee ownership: Making employee-owned enterprises part of the income inequality solution

Mary Ann Beyster

With income inequality in the United States at record high levels, employee ownership is increasingly being lauded as a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. Most recently, research from the National Center for Employee Ownership released in May shows that employee owners have a household net worth that is 92 percent higher than non-employee owners. They also make 33 percent higher wages, and are far less likely to be laid off. 

But employee ownership requires new investment in order to get to scale. A new report by Mary Ann Beyster, president and trustee of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), published by the Fifty by Fifty initiative of The Democracy Collaborative, examines the investing landscape for potential opportunities in employee ownership. The report, Impact Investing and Employee Ownership, reports on the results from six months of research showing that the opportunities for impact investors to support employee ownership are limited, but that an investing infrastructure is beginning to emerge across asset classes. 

ENEROC enters into agreement on LED project

Kerry Feltner and Andrea Deckert
Rochester Business Journal

ENEROC LLC—the inaugural business of the Market Driven Community Corp.—has entered into an agreement to be a subcontractor for an LED lighting installation project at Rochester General more

More co-ops in South Bend: a new way to boost local economy?

Jeff Parrott
South Bend Tribune

Wages that haven’t kept up with the cost of living. Declining economic opportunity. The ever-widening gulf between the rich and more

Westerra Credit Union

Founded in 1934 by a small group of teachers who pooled their funds to make loans to other teachers, Westerra Credit Union now has more than 90,000 members and total assets exceeding $1 billion.  Through its school grant program, Westerra has remained focused on supporting teachers by providing small grants to help teachers purchase materials and cover costs related to afterschool and other programs.  The credit union also provides free financial education programs and sponsors a range of community events.

Connex Credit Union

With roots back to 1940, Connex Credit Union now has assets valued over $450 million, more than 45,000 members, and 7 branches across the New Haven region.  Committed to improving the lives of its members, Connex supports a range of charitable and community programs, including its Coins for Change initiative, which donates 100 percent of the small fee required to use its coin cashing machines to community nonprofits.  Connex also offers free financial education workshops and special accounts targeted towards teens and students.

When Big Co-ops Fail

Peter Couchman and Murray Fulton

The international co-operative movement has seen a series of catastrophic failures of large scale co-operatives in recent decades, such as the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, retail co-ops in Germany, France and Atlantic Canada, banking in Austria and the near meltdown of the Co-operative Group in the UK. Yet our co-operative culture has not been one of seeking to understand the factors which are common in these events and which, if understood, could be used to prevent such collapses in the future. 

How to Build an Inclusive Economy Through Employee Ownership

Adam Wiskind
Triple Pundit

This blog post describes the initiative sponsored by The Democracy Collaborative to create 50 million employee-owners by 2050:

Real Pickles DPO: How Workers Raised Half a Million Dollars to Buy a Business

A case study in strategies for financing the inclusive economy

Excerpted from The Democracy Collaborative report, Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economyoriginally published September 2016. (Photo: Real Pickles)

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