Worker Owned Cooperatives

Too small for an ESOP?  Try a CO-OP, and still get the benefits of the 1042 Rollover…click here for details.
To read about the first use of the 1042 Rollover in a Co-op, click here.
View numerous articles regarding Cooperatives in the OEOC Library, click here.
For video and webinars on selling your business to a worker-owned cooperative, click here.

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 stabilizing 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.

  • Evergreen Cooperative Laundry is housed in a LEED building and has the smallest carbon footprint of any industrial-scale laundry in northeast Ohio.
  • Ohio Cooperative Solar is a green weatherization company.
  • Green City Growers will be centered at a 3.8 acre hydroponic greenhouse that will grow lettuce, leafy green vegetables, and herbs.

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:
  • Can “Anchor Institutions” Help Revitalize Declining Neighborhoods by Buying from Local Cooperatives? The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, by Jacquelyn Yates (OEOC), click here.
  • Taking Evergreen on the Road: Efforts to Adapt the “Evergreen Co-ops” across the Nation, presentation by Steve Dubb (The Democracy Collaborative) click here.
  • Evergreen Co-ops are Taking Root and Growing, by Jacquelyn Yates (OEOC), click here.
  • Cleveland Goes to Mondragon, by Jim Anderson (OEOC), click here.
  • Greater University Circle Initiative: Writing the Next Chapter for Anchor-Based Redevelopment Initiatives, presentation by Jim Anderson (OEOC), click here.
  • Greater University Circle Initiative: Creating Cleveland’s 21st Century Community, presentation by Bill McIntyre (OEOC), click here.

Resources on the Evergreen Laundry website;

Watch a virtual tour of Evergreen Cooperative Laundry or an overview of the OEOC’s Training Program at Evergreen: