We hope that as you review your giving budget as the end of the year approaches you to consider helping NWCDC continue in its mission to foster community economic development through self-determination expressed in the cooperative business model. Our staff works hard to meet this mission and your support will allow us to provide more technical assistance to more communities.
2019 has been an incredible year for the Northwest Cooperative Development Center. In the areas of resident-owned communities, home care cooperatives, and transitioning local to employee ownership, we have made significant strides in raising the profile of cooperatives as a vehicle for building resiliency in NW communities. We are excited about new partnerships throughout our region with Small Business Development Centers, The Evergreen State College, and local co-op support groups.
Resident Owned Communities
- Provided continued support for 15 Resident Owned Communities in Washington representing over 600 affordable homes for over 1,000 people.
- Helped two manufactured home parks convert to resident ownership.
- Supported new resources to support the development of ROCs through the State of Washington.
- Began the process for two more conversion projects in Washington with anticipated estate closings in 2020.
Employee Owned Cooperatives
- Launched The Legacy Project which helped raise the profile of employee ownership as a business succession plan and created a video series of the workshop (available on our website).
- Assisted several businesses with converting to employee ownership by beginning the exploration and planning a conversion timeline.
- Incorporated Washington’s 4th Home Care Cooperative and provided resources for similar projects in several communities in Eastern Washington.
- Helped launch new worker co-ops in Olympia, which now has more worker-owned and employee managed businesses per capita than anywhere else in the United States.
- As part of The Legacy Project we worked closely with attorney’s Jason Wiener and Linda Phillips as well as local Small Business Development Centers in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to help raise the profile of employee ownership with business advisors and bring the Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018 to life.
- Entered into a promising new arrangement with The Evergreen State College to provide training in democratic governance to the student-workers of The Flaming Eggplant, a collectively managed cafe on the college campus.
- Continued to work with regional co-op groups in Ashland, Olympia, and Bellingham to build local support networks vital to the success of the co-op model.
In total, our staff worked on more than 5 dozen projects and provided assistance and advice to hundreds of individuals. We expect 2020 to be an even busier year as more and more people see the value of the co-op business model for building resiliency and sustainability into their community development projects. In 2020, we expect to add another part-time staff person with the assistance of the Cooperative Development Fund, but the demand for our work always outstrips our supply. Grants from the US Department of Agriculture only fund a portion of our work. For the rest, we depend on fee-for-service contracts and donations from those who believe in a cooperative economy. We hope that you are one of these people. Even $5 helps us provide technical assistance and support to build a more resilient co-op economy in the Pacific Northwest. We hope that you will join us!
We hope that your Holidays are wonderful and look forward to your support in the New Year.
Diane Gasaway, Executive Director