|Worker Owned Cooperatives|
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The Evergreen Cooperative Development Project:
The Evergreen Cooperative initiative began in 2008, based on a partnership among the OEOC, the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, the city of Cleveland, The Cleveland Foundation, and Enterprise Cleveland.
The initiative was designed to build up the local economy of Cleveland by generating wealth for low-income residents and stabalizing neighborhoods. The project emerged as we began to explore how we could anchor and create businesses that employ residents, and build wealth in the surrounding area.
The first two businesses--the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) and Ohio Cooperative Solar (OCS)--both launched in October of 2009. In late 2011, ground was broke for the next Evergreen Cooperative--the Green City Growers Cooperative.
In addition to these, Evergreen Cooperative also has a non-profit, community-based information source called Neighborhood Voice. The mission of NV is designed to inform and provide a forum for residents, organizations and businesses in Greater University Circle.
Employee ownership is an excellent tool to generate jobs, anchor capital within neighborhoods, promote asset accumulation and build viable economic enterprises. A critical tactic is the creation of new employee owned businesses, largely structured on the co-op model, whose products and services would match the procurement needs of large nearby institutions. In addition, the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund will provide long term funding resources.
The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative is gaining support including investments from the Federal government and major institutions in Cleveland. It is also the focus of groups hoping to replicate the "Cleveland model" in other cities.
Resources on the Evergreen Laundry website;
Links to media coverage of the Evergreen Project.
Watch a virtual tour of Evergreen Cooperative Laundry or an overview of the OEOC's Training Program at Evergreen: