Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Impact to Last: Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Enterprise

Ben Thornley, Jacquelyn Anderson and Lauren Dixon

In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.

“Coopify”: a new platform bringing broad-based ownership to your smartphone

Although worker cooperatives are gaining traction in many cities nationwide, one challenge they face as a movement is their ability to operate on large scales. Some argue that cooperatives can’t extend their benefits to larger audiences because of their focus on democratic participation and involvement of all individuals in proceedings of the organization. In other words, the famous cooperative tagline of “one worker, one vote” might seem to be a barrier to cooperative expansion. Read more about “Coopify”: a new platform bringing broad-based ownership to your smartphone...

Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb and Violeta Duncan

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.


KOOP is a member owned and operated community radio station that strives to feature programs that focus on local issues or meet the needs of communities underserved by mainstream media.  All members can apply to produce a radio program and KOOP provides the training and facilities needed to help members interested in doing so.  KOOP currently has more than 60 unique, locally-produced programs that air each week.

A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities

An interview with Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of St. Louis' Beyond Housing

The killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Fergsuon, Missouri, and the subsequent wave of protests illuminated for a national public the deep racial inequities in greater St. Louis. We sat down with Chris Krehmeyer, head of Beyond Housing, a local community development corporation founded in 1975, to learn about how they've been building a comprehensive approach blending affordable housing, community land trusts, public health, and business development aimed at changing the systems that perperuate disinvestment in African-American communities in the St. Read more about A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities...

How Economic Development Can Build 'Community Wealth'

Anne Field

Journalist Anne Field unpacts the Democracy Collaborative publication Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth, highlighting the eleven case studies from the original report.

Is it Time for a New New Deal?

James M. Larkin and Zach Goldhammer
The Nation
Our economy is broken. Could a universal basic income, child allowances, and worker-owned cooperatives fix it? The Democracy Collaborative's Gar Alperovitz, alongside other economists and activists, sheds light on the issue.

From New York to Oakland, CA, city governments support worker coops

New developments in expanding local legislation and funding towards worker cooperatives
Municipal involvement in worker cooperative development

On Thursday, September 24th, the Pope will address the U.S. Congress for the first time in history. Perhaps he will speak about building democracy, growing the economy, or increasing equality— and a mention of worker cooperatives could serve as a unifying theme. Read more about From New York to Oakland, CA, city governments support worker coops...

Rochester District Heating Cooperative

Formed in 1985 by members representing a broad range of sectors including private industry, local government and nonprofits, Rochester District Heating (RDH) provides City institutions, businesses, and residences with cost-saving, steam-based heating services.  Established as a consumer cooperative, members participate in shaping RDH’s policies, costs and budget, and share RDH’s annual cost-savings. Read more about Rochester District Heating Cooperative...

Abundance Cooperative Market

Opened in 2001, Abundance Cooperative Market is Rochester's first and only cooperatively-owned grocery store.  The co-op aims to provide its 1,600 members and the broader community with healthful food and safe household products at reasonable prices, and prioritizes buying local, organic, sustainable, and socially responsible goods. Read more about Abundance Cooperative Market...

The Ecology Center of San Francisco (ECOSF)

Established in 2006, The Ecology Center of San Francisco (ECOSF) is a cooperative that cultivates ecological awareness in the San Francisco Bay Area and aims to grow public spaces into empowering, enriching, and educational neighborhood centers.  ECOSF encourages and promotes the cooperative model by using consensus-based processes for all ECOSF decisions.  One of its core programs is Design and Build, which relies on permaculture principles to design, plant, and cultivate bountiful food bearing and native habitat gardens to transform schoolyards and other outdoor areas into ecological, experiential learning spaces.  In 2010, ECOSF established The School Farm, an outdoor experiential learning space on the shared campus of two local high schools, which includes a productive, organic farm, an on-site compost production, a greenhouse nursery operations, a rainwater catchment system, an outdoor classroom/kitchen, and small, functional examples of natural building techniques.  Committed to education, it also runs a range of workshops focused ecological gardening, urban homesteading, natural building, and related topics.


CITY ART is a cooperative art gallery, owned and operated by about 200 local artists.  The gallery has about $10,000 in sales a month—70 percent of which goes to the artists, and 30 percent of which is used to support the gallery. Read more about CITY ART...

Can the Real Sharing Economy Please Stand Up?

Nina Feldman
Next City

In the wake of the BP oil spill, co-op businesses are on the rise in New Orleans

Greensboro Community Looks to Food Cooperative to Fill Grocery Gap

A low-income community of color applies a cooperative solution to combat food insecurity
What would you do if the only full-service grocery store in your community suddenly closed? When this misfortune fell upon the residents of northeast Greensboro, North Carolina, they took matters into their own hands and mobilized to build a community-owned store.