Cooperatives (Co-ops)

How to Democractize the US Economy

Gar Alperovitz
The Nation

As real income levels have stagnated and traditional politics remains deadlocked, communities are looking for new avenues to educate and employ themselves, from social enterprises and cooperatives to community development corporations and credit unions. Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz reviews the impact of these community wealth building organizations as well as the challenges of supporting these organizations and structuring new local and national institutions that foster efficient, effective, stable, and equitable local economies.

Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative

The Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (CUCI) emerged in the wake of a historic agreement signed in October, 2009 between Mondragon and the United Steelworkers, North America’s largest industrial union, to launch union-cooperatives in the United States.

The Rise of Community Wealth Building Institutions

More people are turning to economic alternatives in which new wealth is built collectively and from the bottom up

Crossposted from Policy Network, and later published on the London School of Economics website, this blog is part of a debate event hosted by Policy Network in London, UK, that was reviewed in OurKingdom by grassroots activist James Doran:    

Five years after the financial crisis economic inequality in the United States is spiraling to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. While most Americans are experiencing a recovery-less recovery, the top one per cent of earners last year claimed 19.3 per cent of household income, their largest share since 1928. Moreover, income distribution looks positively egalitarian when compared to wealth ownership.

Public Money for the Public Good

How public finances can be unlocked for local economic development
Public banks and credit unions weathered the last crisis much better than private banks, benefiting the communities they served as well. And many experts believe that it’s only a matter of time before the next financial crisis hits. To weather the next one well, we need to ensure that our individual and collective resources strengthen the types of financial institutions that are democratically accountable, economically stable, mission oriented, and that are actively helping build and keep wealth locally in our communities.

The Story of Solutions

Annie Leonard and the Story of Stuff Project have released a brand new video looking at transformative, game-changing solutions for a new economy. The Evergreen Cooperatives are featured as an example of way to build local economies! Read more about The Story of Solutions...

Asset Sharing Through “Inclusive Capitalism” Gains National Attention

Can Ownership Sharing at the Workplace Really Address Growing Inequality?

Last month, PBS NewsHour’s Business Desk featured an essay by Chris Mackin with the consulting group Ownership Associates entitled “The Alternative American Dream: Inclusive Capitalism.” Mackin uses the term “inclusive capitalism” as an ownership sharing proposition – one that is about creating a new relationship between employees and their workplace based not on a “sense” of ownership but on actual, tangible ownership. 

NYC's Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative

As part of a series documenting the cooperative economy in New York City, Laura Flanders' GritTV profiles the Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative, a women-run project started by the Center For Family Life in Sunset Park which empowers its mostly immigrant worker-owners, protecting them from the all-too-common exploitative aspects of poorly regulated domestic labor.

The Fifth Season Cooperative: Building Community Wealth and a Regional Food System

We first learned about the innovative, multistakeholder Fifth Season Cooperative in Wisconson's 7 Rivers region from the community wealth builders at Gundersen Lutheran Health Systems , whom we interviewed for one of the case studies in our report Hospitals Building Healthier Communities: Embracing the Anchor Mission .  The more we learned, the more excited we became... Read more about The Fifth Season Cooperative: Building Community Wealth and a Regional Food System ...

Democracy Collaborative Offers Paid Internship

Work with us on newsletters and

We are pleased to announce a new intern position at The Democracy Collaborative that will focus on the newsletter and adding web content. For further details, please see the position description below. Remember to submit your applications by August 30!

College Hill Cooperative Childcare

College Hill Childcare Cooperative (known as “Co-op”) was founded in 1981 by a group of parents who were dissatisfied with what they found in most childcare centers:  high child-to-teacher ratios, low quality of care, and few options for parents wanting to participate in their child’s education. Serving children who are 8-weeks to five-years old, as well as after school care, parent involvement includes working two hours per week as a staff assistant and participating in regular co-op meetings and activities.

Read more about College Hill Cooperative Childcare...

Deep Roots Market

Deep Roots Market is a consumer cooperative that sells locally and organically grown or made groceries, and buys its products from vendors who practice environmental sustainability, invest in their communities, treat animals ethically, and use fair labor practices.  Founded in the 1960s as a small, vegetarian buying club in a Guilford College dorm and incorporating in 1976, today the co-op has over 2,000 member-owners and a staff of 45, and boasts the highest sales per retail square foot of any grocery store in Greensboro.  In spring of 2013, Deep Roots moved into a new, larger location in downtown Greensboro, which features a community meeting space, a café, and free wireless Internet.

Resilience in a downturn: The power of financial cooperatives

Johnston, Birchall

Released by the International Labor Organization, this report focuses on how financial cooperatives survived the global economic crisis and succeeded while many investor-owned banks struggled. Tracing their history from Germany in the 1850s to the present, the author, Johnston Birchall shows how these financial cooperatives continue to provide banking services to people with low incomes, to stabilize the banking system, to regenerate local economies and to create employment. The report recommends that government promote and partner with financial cooperatives as a means of fostering stability, development and poverty alleviation.