Jackson Rising conference brings together social justice and cooperative activists
While the words “co-op” and “civil rights” do not commonly appear in the same sentence, with more than 300 cooperative and social justice activists gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, last weekend, the question was hard to avoid.
Founded in 1949 by a small group of Veterans Affairs hospital employees, U.S. Community Credit Union has grown into a full-service financial institution with over 22,700 members, more than $1.7 million in assets, and 10 branches. Two of its branches are student-run and located in area high schools, where they provide full services to students, faculty, and staff during the lunch period.
Founded in 1950, The Tennessee Credit Union (TTCU) has grown into a full-service financial institution with nearly $3 million in assets and 10 branches across East and Middle Tennessee. To promote saving among youth, TTCU allows young community members to open accounts with a $5 deposit. It also offers prizes to youth who save each month and operates a branch out of a local high school.
Founded in 1955 by a group of educators aiming to ensure people could access low-cost financial services, Cornerstone Financial Credit Union has grown into a credit union with 33,000 members, nearly $3 million in assets, and 6 branches across Middle Tennessee. Committed to the community, Cornerstone has awarded $25,000 in college scholarships to area students since 2011.
Boston Cooperative Investment Club is aiming to redefine investment by offering its members a way to invest in cooperatives and organizations that support cooperatives. Members contribute $50 to $200 per month into a pooled fund, and the group collectively makes investment decisions. Since its formation in 2015, the club has invested in five Boston-area cooperatives.
Founded in 2012, Boston Center for Community Ownership (BCCO) is a cooperative enterprise that provides training and consulting on a sliding scale basis to cooperatives and other organizations within the solidarity economy. Most recently, BCCO has been supporting the launch of Américas Autoclinik, a worker-owned auto repair and maintenance business.
Writing for Forbes, Anne Field takes a look at our new report exploring the impact investing landscape for employee ownership:
For social entrepreneurs concerned about growing income inequality in the U.S. and around the world, one way to spread the wealth is through employee ownership. With that in mind, you’d think impact investors would be clamoring to invest in such companies....
Chartered in 1935, South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union (SFEFCU) is now one of the largest credit unions in the state with over 76,000 members and more than $1 billion in assets. As an institution that originally served families of those working for the Miami Dade County Public School system, SFEFCU has a strong commitment to education, providing numerous scholarships to students, including 15 four-year scholarships to graduating high school seniors on an annual basis. SFEFCU also has 13 branches located in area high schools and runs a financial literacy program to teach youth the importance of budgeting, saving, and investing.
But employee ownership requires new investment in order to get to scale. A new report by Mary Ann Beyster, president and trustee of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), published by the Fifty by Fifty initiative of The Democracy Collaborative, examines the investing landscape for potential opportunities in employee ownership. The report, Impact Investing and Employee Ownership, reports on the results from six months of research showing that the opportunities for impact investors to support employee ownership are limited, but that an investing infrastructure is beginning to emerge across asset classes.