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Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Health Anchor Institutions investing to support community control of land and housing

Bich Ha Pham and Jarrid Green
Build Healthy Places Network

Many anchor institutions are also major landowners in their communities, and many are already engaged in housing programs such as employer-assisted housing. Anchor institutions can and should employ CLTs to maximize the impact of their long-term investments in housing for their workforce, and utilize and support CLTs to help build more inclusive communities around their institutions more generally. 

What a Society Designed for Well-Being Looks Like

Tabita Green
Yes! Magazine

Tabita Green writes, for Yes! Magazine, "What a Society Designed for Well-Being Looks Like."  Green highlights the dozens of strategize to democratize wealth on the Community Wealth website: 


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The worker cooperative is one of several ways to democratize wealth and create economic justice. The Democracy Collaborative lists dozens of strategies and models to bring wealth back to the people on the website community-wealth.org. The list includes municipal enterprise, community land trusts, reclaiming the commons, impact investing, and local food systems. All these pieces of the new economy puzzle play a role in contributing to economic justice, which is inextricably intertwined with mental and emotional well-being."

Read more at Yes! Magazine

Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce

A man wearing scrubs and a hairnet operates industrial laundry machinery

CLEVELAND, OHIO — MAY 10, 2018 Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) announced a major expansion today in collaboration with Ohio’s second largest employer, taking over management of the Cleveland Clinic’s laundry facility in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood. This additional location complements ECL’s original facility in Glenville. The expansion brings more than 100 new employees into the company, joining the 50 workers employed at the original laundry.

Celebrating this milestone for the workers at this employee-owned business, a proclamation from the City of Cleveland was delivered, highlighting the collaboration between ECL and Cleveland Clinic that will help strengthen and support the vitality of the local economy. “The City of Cleveland welcomes the opportunity for all businesses—new or well established—to participate and grow in our community,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Investments from employee-owned companies like Evergreen Cooperative Laundry help create more wealth for people in our neighborhoods while making our city an even more desirable place to live, work, play and do business.”

ECL is part of the Evergreen Cooperatives, a nationally celebrated network of companies in Cleveland, Ohio, that creates jobs and builds community wealth through cooperative business ownership. These businesses are located in historically disinvested neighborhoods. For Brett Jones, Executive Vice President at the Evergreen Cooperatives, “this expansion validates the core idea at the heart of the Evergreen model—that businesses owned by workers can succeed and thrive in the market, helping close the wealth gap.” Read more about Evergreen Cooperative Laundry Expands to Second Plant, More than Tripling Its Workforce...

The Return of Black Political Power: How 1970s History Can Guide New Black Mayors Toward a Radical City

Nishani Frazier
Truth out

Nishani Frazier Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative writes for Truth Out about the link between the return of Black Political Power and Cleveland model of community wealth building: 

The ascent of these new mayors is an opportunity to build real solutions for those left behind by decades of disinvestment and dispossession. Yet radical intentions and hard-hitting rhetoric is not enough to produce radical answers to economic problems. Black mayors must actively incorporate history and make it an essential part of this project to study the successes and failures of a previous generation. Historian Leonard Moore noted that Cleveland's Carl Stokes, the first Black mayor of a major urban city, entered politics to wreak havoc on this "corrupt machine," or rather the political structures that hindered black attainment of power in Cleveland and throughout the United States. However, he quickly learned he "didn't know where the buttons were." Not long into his tenure, Stokes not only found the buttons but began pushing them when he launched Cleveland NOW! The project combined private, state, federal, philanthropic and individual funding into a proposed $1.5 billion plan for housing improvement, employment, urban renewal, youth services and economic revitalization.

Read more from Nishani Frazier in Truthout 

Will Impact Investors Embrace Employee-Owned Companies?

Anne Field
Forbes

Writing for Forbes, Anne Field takes a look at our new report exploring the impact investing landscape for employee ownership:

For social entrepreneurs concerned about growing income inequality in the U.S. and around the world, one way to spread the wealth is through employee ownership. With that in mind, you’d think impact investors would be clamoring to invest in such companies....

Read more about Fifty By Fifty's new report in Forbes...

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. 

Taking Employee Ownership to Scale: Learning + Design Session

Democracy at Work Institute, The Democracy Collaborative

On June 13 and 14, 2016 in Washington, DC, many of the nation’s leading experts in employee ownership, sustainable business and finance, community and economic development, and philanthropy came together in a Learning + Design session. Co-hosts for the meeting were Marjorie Kelly and Jessica Bonanno of The Democracy Collaborative and Camille Kerr of Democracy at Work Institute. The purpose of the session was to discuss how to achieve unprecedented scale of employee ownership by focusing on achieving an audacious goal: 50 million U.S. employee-owners by 2050. This report summarizes and expands upon the June meeting:

Powerful, under-used tool for reducing income-inequality: broad-based ownership

Marjorie Kelly
The Hill

In this article for The Hill, Democracy Collaborative Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly describes the growing movement toward broad-based ownership and how communities are coming together to take control of their local economies. Kelly highlights some of the innovative strategies used by communities on the ground, such as the cooperative ownership business conversion, which is poised to achieve expanded scale in the near future:

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