In order to provide the necessary capital to solve their cash flow problem, in 1989 Equal Exchange created a share class for outside investors. They were an innovator in creating a preferred non-voting investor share class for co-ops.
Over the years, Equal Exchange has raised mission-aligned financing from over 550 people and institutions that share the company’s values, and who want to help it grow without ever putting those values at risk, or undermining the absolute control of Equal Exchange’s 130+ worker-owners. Exchange co-founder Michael Rozyne adopted the model from an ICA Group model, which was adapted for the US from the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Region of Spain. Attorney Clark Arrington, who worked at Equal Exchange, helped in developing the model further.