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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Second Round Winners of D.C. Co-op Impact Grant

The recipients of the D.C. Co-op Impact Grant range from a start-up, worker-owned grocery store in Ward 7 to a collective advocating for the rights of D.C.’s street and sidewalk entrepreneurs. Learn more about the four cooperatives and their visions below:

CareWorks Community Homecare Cooperative will create quality jobs for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) workers and enhance home care service delivery for residents in Highland Park (Ward 8), a community facing some of the highest chronic health conditions and disparities in Washington, D.C. The co-op will be supported by Dynamic Solutions for the Aging, LLC, a minority-owned health and housing organization located in Ward 8 that focuses on aging and community development. Funds will be used to conduct a feasibility study of the local market and proof of concept for the home care co-op. 
 
Vendedores Unidos / Vendors United (VU) is a collective, looking to create a cooperative, formed in response to laws penalizing street and sidewalk vendors, including a 90-day prison sentence for operating without a license. Black, African, and Latinx street entrepreneurs face deep systemic barriers, and VU has tirelessly advocated for policy changes to increase the safety and accessibility of street vending. The co-op will ensure equitable wages and jobs for vendors, and will provide some of the most vulnerable workers in the city an opportunity to transition out of an informal economy and gain control over their workplace. The funds will be used to formalize the co-op and provide technical assistance, including bookkeeping, conflict resolution, and personal financial literacy. 
 
Deanwood Co-op (name TBD) is a start-up, worker-owned grocery store bringing organic and locally grown foods to the neighborhood, supporting local Black and brown farmers, and creating jobs for Ward 7’s Deanwood community. The grocery store will be the cornerstone of a community-focused mixed-use development called Deanwood Station, supported by CDC Medici Road. This innovative model will enable members of the community to obtain ownership equity and benefit from the success of a business that they co-own. Funds will support business planning and worker-owner training.  
 
The D.C. Language Co-op will launch in 2021 to provide language access for monolingual, non-English speakers, subsidized services for organizations unable to afford interpretation services, and training and mentorship for bilingual young people pursuing interpretation careers. The co-op will formalize the group currently providing freelance services (recently working at a Vendedores Unidos/Vendors United event), and will deliver professional development opportunities to marginalized and underserved communities. Funds will support cooperative business infrastructure, planning, and operations. 

Read the rest at Capital Impact Partners

 

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