Supporting Cooperative Development to Build Community Power

Since its founding in 1982, Capital Impact Partners has used the cooperative model to build power for disinvested communities. Our focus has always been on how co-ops can better support communities living with low incomes. Co-ops can provide economic mobility to individuals who have been disinvested and locked out of the mainstream economy. Democratic ownership empowers worker-owners to control their financial destiny and build generational wealth. 

In 2020, and particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Capital Impact expanded its efforts to foster cooperative development nationwide by engaging in programmatic initiatives, lending, and policy advocacy.

Time and again, we’ve witnessed how successful co-ops can create impact for communities living with low incomes. Cooperatives are having a moment, there is a movement to rebuild the economy in a more equitable and sustainable way that creates ownership and asset building opportunities for all communities.

Alison Powers

Cooperative & Community Initiatives Manager, Capital Impact Partners

ChiFresh planned to serve meals to after-school and summer programs, but as we launched in the midst of this crisis, we have pivoted to meet the immediate needs facing our communities.

This grant allows us to partner with our fellow Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)-owned worker cooperative farms and food operators to address COVID-related food insecurity. With Capital Impact’s support, we can use this moment to build up the infrastructure for cooperatives to play a larger role in our local food ecosystem long-term.

Camille Kerr

ChiFresh Kitchen
2020 Co-op Innovation Awardee

Co-op Impact Highlights

$10 MILLION

in cooperative project lending

 

 

$140,000

in awards and grants that awardees leveraged to raise more than $2.6 million in further investment to support BIPOC communities

$61,000

in sponsorships to a broad spectrum of partners and conferences, including: California Center for Cooperative Development, Cooperative Development Foundation, Columinate, Democracy at Work Institute, National Cooperative Business Association, Network for Developing Conscious Communities, Shared Capital Cooperative, Sustainable Economies Law Center, and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

How Capital Impact is Expanding Shared Ownership through Co-ops

Featured Deal: ROC USA

Financed a revolving line of credit to support their capacity to finance and support more resident-owned communities nationwide. A critical support since many of the communities are under pressure to close on their purchase due to competing offers.

Projected beneficiaries: 3,124;

Beneficiaries with low-incomes: 2,699 (86%)

Projected housing units protected: 1,254;

100% of those units considered affordable

Investing in Co-op Innovations

Launched the 6th annual Capital Impact Co-op Innovation Award, which aims to increase co-op development in communities with low incomes and/or communities of color. The award recognized organizations educating new audiences on the impact and potential of the cooperative model to disrupt income inequality and steward community ownership.

The 2020 awardees – ChiFresh, The Guild, and the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative – received a total of $100,000.

Partnered with Wacif on the inaugural D.C. Co-op Impact Award to support early-stage cooperatives in BIPOC communities to catalyze growth, boost the local economy in marginalized communities, and provide catalytic capital to attract other funders.

The 2020 D.C. Co-op Impact awardees included: Bloc by Block News, Community Grocery Cooperative, Community Kitchen Cooperative, The D.C. Pop-Up, Earth-Bound Building, the Farm Cooperative, and Starseed Earthroot.

Expanding the Co-op Ecosystem

Supported national legislation to expand worker cooperatives, including submitting testimony as part of the House of Representatives Small Business Employee Ownership Hearing, convened by Rep. Nydia Velazquez

Helped to create and advocate for local policy around limited-equity housing cooperatives in partnership with the D.C. Limited Equity Housing Task Force. Limited-equity cooperatives are critical in helping government agencies or nonprofit organizations limit the resale price of membership shares in order to keep the housing affordable to incoming low- and moderate-income members.

Sponsored the first DC Metro Cooperative Academy led by the Network for Developing Conscious Communities, a Baltimore organization focused on racial justice that is replicating its successful co-op curriculum. This 12-week cohort is designed for people of color and covers topics including governance, business planning, marketing, and financing.

Become a Co-op Supporter

Since the award was launched in 2015, the 12 Co-op Innovation Award grantees have leveraged their combined $385,000 in awards to secure more than $4.5 million in additional funding from foundations, investors, and government, and have reached more than 2,000 community members through meetings and trainings.

We invite you to join us in amplifying the important work of coops by becoming a sponsor of the 2021 Capital Impact Co-op Innovation Award. This is a unique opportunity to support the cooperative ecosystem and racial and economic justice during an unprecedented national crisis.

Learn more through our sponsorship fact sheet or contact
Alison Powers
apowers@capitalimpact.org

for more information.

Looking forward

Capital Impact continues to focus on cooperative development as a means of achieving economic, social, and racial justice for our communities. We are working to align our food and co-op work more closely, particularly in the Washington Metro area, and continue to engage with working groups around limited-equity housing cooperatives and home care cooperatives. Through lending, programs, and policy, we are committed to building power for our neighbors so that they can build health and wealth for themselves and their families.

2020 Capital Impact Partners Highlights

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