Hello, Cleveland! Evergreen’s Place-Based Strategy for Worker Cooperative Development

The Evergreen Cooperative Initiative of Cleveland OH was launched in 2008. Its mission is to stabilize and revitalize six low-income neighborhoods (43,000 residents; median household income of $18,5000) of the Greater University Circle areas of Cleveland, Ohio.

Filmed by Patrick O’Conner of Oaklandsol.org for permaculture.coop


The cooperative development strategy leverages a portion of the multi-billion dollar annual business expenditures (related to procurement and supply-chain) of anchor institutions (such as hospitals and universities) into the surrounding neighborhoods to create new businesses and jobs. The first two Evergreen cooperatives (Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar) launched in October 2009; two more businesses are in the pipeline for 2010. The near-term (3 year) goal is to develop an integrated network of 10 cooperatives with approximately 500 worker-owners.

This presentation will focus on three topics: (1) the overall Evergreen strategy and how it is being financed and implemented; (2) building a culture of ownership within the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry; and (3) Evergreen’s approach to governance, patronage, and long-term institutional viability.

Ted Howard is the founding Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative, a research and policy center at the University of Maryland focused on community stabilization and wealth building. He is an architect of the Evergreen Initiative and has been appointed the Cleveland Foundation’s Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice. Medrick Addison is the Operational Supervisor of the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a member of the first group of worker-owners to join the coop and serves on the senior management team.

Source: usworker.coop

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