In 2015, Cooperation DC, a project of ONE DC, began to organize and move forward with developing worker-owned cooperatives in the District. Here are a few highlights from our third year and what to expect in 2017. Given the 2016 presidential election results, we fully understand that our work is even more important than ever.
- NW Childcare Cooperative: Based on lessons learned in 2015 during a learning journey to Philadelphia, the organizing work to launch a Latina women-led and owned childcare cooperative in NW began to take form. A group of 15 women spent the entire year learning about collaborative decision-making as they developed the framework for their cooperative. They also worked on creating a business plan in collaboration with the School of Social Enterprise at American University and began to explore legal aspects with the support of the University of the District of Columbia.
- Starting the DC Chapter of the Working World Peer Network: Cooperation DC is one of 27 grassroots organizations that have launched the nationwide non-extractive finance peer lending network to support locally-owned and controlled cooperatives. To learn more about the Working World Peer Network HERE.
2016 served as the catalyst for establishing the infrastructure needed to provide technical assistance and support to emerging cooperatives that are led and owned by women of color. Your support in 2017 will prove instrumental in establishing an alternative local economy in DC that will be self sustaining.
COOPERATION DC'S VISION FOR 2017: Establish an ecosystem to launch and support worker-owned business in DC in the following ways.
- Organize an African American Women-led Childcare cooperative East of the River: The efforts and lessons learned while organizing NW childcare cooperative in 2016, will serve as the foundation to create the support and infrastructure needed to identify and develop the women that will form the worker-owned childcare cooperative business East of the River.
- Launch NW Childcare Cooperative: In 2017, we will launch a childcare women-owned business consisting of 15 Latina immigrant worker-owners. A grant award provided by the Meyer Foundation will enable the formulation of the business plan and launch.
- DSLBD Cooperative Convenings: Participating in stakeholder meetings will prove instrumental to creating a cooperative ecosystem by sharing current needs, mapping the current coop infrastructure, setting priorities, and addressing long term and short term needs.
- Issuing the first Working World Peer Network loan to a DC local cooperative: we will build local and regional capacity through our participation in the Working World Peer Network.
- Fundraising: In order to realize these goals we will need to fund raise $300,000 in calendar year 2017. If you'd like to support the (re)emerging cooperative movement in DC please consider making a tax-deductible donation. No amount is too big or too small!