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The Power of Cooperatives to Build Community Wealth

June 23, 2021

The Power of Cooperatives to Build Community Wealth

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 12:00- 1:30pm

Over the past few years, cooperative and employee-owned businesses have experienced an explosion of interest as proven strategies for creating and retaining good quality jobs, expanding equity and inclusion, and building opportunity and wealth in America’s communities. 

Join this event where leaders from around the country will share compelling stories and action-oriented materials about the growing cooperative movement – and what it might mean for business development in Washington state. REGISTER HERE!

Speakers will include:

Ted Howard, Co-Founder and President, The Democracy Collaborative; co-author of The Making of a Democratic Economy

Ted Howard is the Co-founder and President ofThe Democracy Collaborative. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Economic Alternatives.

In July 2010, Ted was appointed the StevenMinter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation, a position he held for four years. Working with the Foundation, he was a member of a team that developed the comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy which resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.

Ted lectures frequently about community wealth building, most recently at the Clinton Global Initiative-America, theInitiative for a Competitive Inner City, the National Community ReinvestmentCoalition, the Co-operatives United World Conference (Manchester, England),various regional Federal Reserve Banks, as well as at universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, MIT, Georgetown, Oberlin, MichiganState and the Ohio State University.

He is the author of numerous articles appearing in popular and community development publications. His chapter “Owning Your Own Job Is a Beautiful Thing” is included in a book of readings (Investing in What Works for America’s Communities) published in 2012 by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He is also co-author of a chapter on “Economic Democracy” in Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles and Practices (Macmillan) and a chapter on “The Essential Connection: Environmental Sustainability, Community Stability and Equitable Development” in Ensuring a Sustainable Future: Making Progress on Environment and Equity (Oxford University Press). His most recent publications include The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of AnchorInstitutions to Build Community Wealth (co-authored with colleagues at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning) and The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs (with Steve Dubb and Sarah McKinley). Ted serves on the board of directors of LIFT, a national organization dedicated to engaging young Americans in combating poverty in our nation’s core urban areas; its chapters are based in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.  He is also a member of the board of directors or BALLE, a national alliance championing sustainability, social finance and community-based economic development, and is also a founding member of the board of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation. Ted was designated a CFED Innovation Award recipient in 2010. The magazine Utne Reader named him one of “25 visionaries who are changing your world.”

Shevanthi Daniel, Senior Program Director, Democracy at Work Institute

Shevanthi (Shev) is Senior Program Director of DAWI. Shevanthi provides strategic support on program implementation and growth for DAWI's conversion work with city municipalities, technical assistance providers, legacy business owners and consulting services. Shevanthi comes to DAWI after successfully launching and implementing worker cooperative management certificate programs, as well as a city focused cooperative education and incubation program at the Center for InclusiveEntrepreneurship. Shev is passionate about the intersection of sustainable business and economic development with particular emphasis on direct impacts for people of color. Before entering into worker ownership sector, Shev led large-scale labor organizing and worker justice campaigns with SEIU1199 NW and organizing civil rights and organized social justice leadership work in rural and urban centers across the country. Shevanthi co-founded the O’Dell EducationCenter, a nonviolence direct action and leadership academy in Washington State, owned and operated by the Institute for Community Leadership. She currently serves on the board of Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) and served as Executive Board President at the Center for Women in Democracy, strengthening women's capacity and leadership in public and private sector. Shevanthi has an MBA in Sustainable Business from Pinchot University and BA in History and Anthropology from University of Washington.

Brett Jones,     Senior VP Fund for Employee Ownership, and Director of Evergreen Cooperative Business Services (Cleveland OH)

Brett joined the Evergreen team in 2013 working for Evergreen Business Services (EBS)as the Director of Strategic Projects. In 2016 he served as the Interim-President of Evergreen Energy Solutions and returned to EBS in 2017. Brett is focused on the growth and development of our Fund for Employee Ownership which provides low-cost flexible capital to help retiring business owners sell their businesses to their employees. When not helping companies convert to an employee-owned structure, he is leading other cities through the adaptation of Evergreen’s anchor institution based model of economic inclusion and community wealth-building. A Fulbright Fellow, Brett is a graduate of The Ohio State University and holds an MBA from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.  In his own words, “It is very rewarding to come to work every day knowing that what we do here at Evergreen changes lives and creates opportunities for those that need them most. This is the most satisfying work I have ever done.”

Alison Lingane, Co-Founder, Project Equity

Alison Lingane is co-founder of Project Equity, which builds economic resiliency in low-income communities by increasing worker ownership. Alison has more than 20 years experience in community-based work and scaled social ventures. She started her career in community-based work, designing and leading micro-enterprise programs for urban youth. While in business school, she co-founded what is now the Global Social Venture Competition, the largest international business plan competition for double or triple bottom line businesses. Alison has spent the last 15 years dedicated to education-based social ventures that are designed to have human impact at scale, including Benetech (where she built and launched their first product, a digital book service for individuals with reading disabilities), GreatSchools (the 6th largest parenting website, a nonprofit using information to drive school improvement), and InsideTrack (a venture-backed scaled services company delivering 1:1 coaching to students to increase college completion rates). A serial ‘social entrepreneur,’ Alison co-founded a thriving PreK-8th grade dual immersion school in Oakland (Escuela Bilingue Internacional) in 2006 that now serves over 300 students. She has her B.A. from Harvard University, her MBA from the Haas School of Business, and is currently an Echoing Green fellow. 

Diane Gasaway, Executive Director, Northwest Cooperative Development Center 

Diane Gasaway is Executive Director of the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC), a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting new and existing cooperative businesses, from homecare worker co-ops to community solar coops. The center’s primary focus is cooperative education and business development to new and existing co-ops throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Diane became involved with the cooperative movement in 2000 through her work with the Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association (WRECA) as their Office Manager/LegislativeAssistant. In 2003 she joined NWCDC. Since then, they have grown from two to ten employees, providing co-op technical assistance to over 1,500 people annually. In 2009 NWCDC became a ROC USA® Network affiliate and Diane has been a ROC USA® Board Director since September 2013. A proponent of strategic partnerships, NWCDC is also an active member and promoter of CooperationWorks!, for which Diane is also a Board Director. Diane is grateful for the opportunity to serve cooperative communities and to her family for supporting this demanding and important work. Prior to WRECA, Diane spent 13 years in banking services. She received her Masters of Public Administration from The EvergreenState College.

As our nation and state emerge from the wide range of pandemic-induced economic challenges, learn how cooperatives can truly help us to “build back better.”

Thank you to our sponsors and hosts: The Democracy Collaborative, Democracy at Work Institute, Fund for Employee Ownership, Evergreen Cooperative Business Services, Project Equity and the Northwest Cooperative Development Center. A special thank you to the Washington State Department of Commerce for their continued support.