Wishing to pass the company to its employees, the owners of Arbor Assays, a life-sciences company based in Ann Arbor, partnered with C2BE to develop the legal framework for the sale to employees. The former owners continue to be fully involved in the business which will now be managed as an employee-owned business. Wanting to ensure that remained an independent and successful business, Dr. Russell Hart, founder and managing partner was impressed with how the perpetual trust model can achieve this. This method of employee ownership maintains the company perpetually for the benefit of its employees, while eliminating the need for the company to repurchase shares from terminating employees. Financially, the employees will benefit because, in addition to their basic compensation, the trust will annually allocate revenue not needed for company operations or future investment, to participating employees. It was a difference that proved the right decision, according to employee-representative, Bobbi O’Hara; “Making the decision to transition from private ownership to perpetual trust speaks volumes about the faith in our collective competencies and the importance in taking care of each other, not just as coworkers, but as a community with a common goal. As employees, we are excited to see how we'll shape our shared responsibility and direct this opportunity to have an impact for the benefit of us all." http://www.arborassays.com/
Oakland Avenue Urban Farm
Oakland Avenue Urban Farm is a project of Northend Christian CDC, under the leadership of Jerry Hebron. C2BE is providing business resources to help the Farm develop a worker co-op, a community supported agriculture (CSA) business, a food manufacturing business and an informal cooperative with other urban farmers to meet the expanding customer demand. The Farm's weekly markets are located at the farm in Detroit's North End neighborhood and at six Chrysler auto plants in the Metro area. C2BE is providing legal/business forms for cooperation between the participating growers and between the Farm and the auto plant customers, as well as business development expertise for the farm's jams, jellies and other value-added products. Some of the participating growers include the Church of the Messiah Urban Farm (see below), Ohana Gardens and Love Earth Herbal Gardens.
Oakland Avenue Urban Farm (OAUF) stands as a testament to the creative and collaborative nature of the community in Detroit. From teaching community cooking classes, collaborating with artists, musicians and other growers, hiring youth and returning citizens, to hosting several farmer’s markets, OAUF is an authentic community based enterprise. http://www.oaklandurbanfarm.org/
Church of the Messiah
C2BE and Church of the Messiah have a long history of working together, with the aim of serving adult and youth neighborhood residents who are involved in co-op and community-based business development projects at the church. The church, located on Detroit’s Eastside in Island View, holds numerous education and business development programs. Pastor Barry Randolph is a strong advocate of cooperatives who has a substantial background in retail food business. Collaborations between C2BE and Church of the Messiah include:
Nikki's Ginger Tea- Monique Sasser’s tea business, Nikki’s Ginger of Messiah’s kitchen for 18 years. C2BE connected Sasser’s business with Steve Mangigian of Zingerman’s Coffee, who helped Nikki’s shelf stabilize its product and greatly helped expand distribution. Nikki’s has since grown and moved to a larger work Messiah has since partnered with the SHARE Network to provide employability skills trainings two days every week at the church for neighborhood residents. The SHARE Network provided computers and office equipment to Messiah and has trained several of Messiah’s leaders as SHARE Network counselors to help community jobseekers effectively navigate theses online services to find employment and other services.
Church of Messiah Urban Farm- Messiah’s Urban Farm is a that has sprouted over the years into a fully-fledged CSA feeding forty families per season. In 2015, Messiah expanded its growing area to several additional lots and has since sold produce to Big Boy and other local food businesses. The year, C2BE connected the Urban Farm to the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm’s (see above) informal producer cooperative, of which Messiah is a participating grower.
Community United for Security LLC (CUFS)- CUFS is a property security developed in 2014 at Messiah by Joey Donaldson, Pastor Barry Randolph and other church leaders. CUFS plans to transition into a worker-owned company of security guards so that each employee is also an owner, and can benefit from having a stake in the business as well as higher hourly pay. CUFS and Messiah have cultivated strong relationships with building and property owners. CUFS focuses on employing workers who live in Detroit neighborhoods around CUFS’s client properties. Mr.Donaldson has many years experience as a security guard and manager, and C2BE is helping Mr. Donaldson develop CUFS’s business plan. Mr. Donaldson is the founder of FIRE Entertainment, an arts program that benefits the inner city youth in Detroit, which includes FIRE Drumline, the FLAMES dance team, and the FIRE Jazz Band. http://churchofthemessiahdetroit.net/
Pingree Mfg (formerly Boots on the Ground) is a start-up social enterprise under the leadership of New Work Collective member, Jarret Schlaff. Pingree is creating high-end footwear and accessories made of recycled and environmentally conscious materials, and employing homeless veterans in Detroit to manufacture these boots and other products. Their aim is to pay a living wage and reimagine what it means to wage a living. C2BE is supporting Pingree in developing its business as an employee owned cooperative, including many veterans. C2BE is assisting Pingree in business, co-op governance, marketing and funding assistance. http://www.detroitboots.com/
Colors Coop Academy
Founded in 2013 and based in Detroit, the COLORS Co-Op Academy is an intensive learning experience designed to cultivate new, worker-owned, good food businesses rooted in principles of democracy, sustainability, and justice. By connecting to actions with movements for worker and food justice, the COLORS Co-Op Academy collectively re-imagines and transforms our workplaces, communities, and our local economies. C2BE co-teaches classes at the COLORS Co-Op Academy about cooperative culture, choice of entity, self-management, and product-market fit.
Redeem Detroit is a community-based organization on Detroit's Eastside. Growing out of a vision for a better Detroit, Pastor Alonzo Bell is spearheading this effort to build community through creating mutli-generational learning and training center, and summer programming for youth that instill the values of cooperation, curiosity and community. C2BE is working with Redeem Detroit to build support their efforts with comprehensive job training and workshop modules on worker- ownership as well as offer technical support. Watch video: REDEEM Detroit Theme Song, featuring P8tience & Gwenation
Data Driven Detroit
Data Driven Detroit (D3) provides accessible and high-quality information and analyses to communities and policymakers to drive better decisions for a better Detroit. D3 began as a program of a non-profit organization and has recently restructured itself as a standalone low-profit limited liability company (L3C). C2BE is working with D3 to provide worker-ownership in the new L3C. In discussing the impending move toward worker ownership, D3’s current owner and Executive Director Erica Raleigh recently said, “I’m delighted to have in C2BE an expert local resource to help us set up a more inclusive and deliberate ownership model for D3. Since inception D3 has been committed to serving our local community, and C2BE is providing us the guidance to live out our values through our ownership structure as well.” http://datadrivendetroit.org/
Focus: HOPE is a nationally renowned non-profit organization in Detroit that aims to overcome racism and poverty by providing education and training for underrepresented minorities and others. One of their major efforts is the Hope Village Initiative (HVI) which aims to ensure that by the year 2031, 100% of the residents in a 100-block service area in Detroit are educationally well-prepared, economically self-sufficient, and living in a safe and supportive environment. One component of the HVI is to transform a vacant building into a cooperative live-work space, meaning that the residents are organized into housing cooperative, some units will host cooperative businesses, and the worker-owners and residents will live together. Focus: HOPE has partnered with C2BE to work on the feasibility study for this project. Specifically, C2BE is developing a survey to recruit interested participants, and will hold discussions to determine key features necessary to enable interested participants to commit to the HVI live-work community. http://www.focushope.edu/
Ryter Cooperative Industries
Ryter Cooperative Industries (RCI) is an technology enterprise that partners with community-based organizations to help them develop clean energy solutions to advance economic self-determination and environmental sustainability. RCI’s projects include developing solar generators for D-Town Farm and Soulardarity. C2BE is helping RCI to organize as a worker cooperative and is providing ongoing business and legal consulting. www.ryterci.com
Talking Dolls/Complex Movements
Talking Dolls is an art collective and experimental design and performance organization on the East side of Detroit. Complex Movements is a Detroit-based artist collective supporting the transformation of communities by exploring the connections of complex science and social justice movements through multimedia interactive performance work. C2BE is helping Talking Dolls and Complex Movements to collectively own and operate a cooperative art space and develop a financial self-sustainability plan.
SEIU Florida Public Services Union
SEIU Florida Public Services Union represents 19,000 workers in eight counties, 16 cities, three Head Start agencies and four school districts across Florida. “Just Work” is an initiative undertaken by C2BE at the request of the union to explore worker ownership as a way to improve workers’ wages, conditions and benefits beyond the limitations of traditional collective bargaining. C2BE pulled together a team of union representatives, economists, business leaders, lawyers and others to assess how this might be done in situations involving the outsourcing of public employee jobs, with a view of utilizing the model in private sector outsourcing situations as well. Based on these efforts C2BE created a strategy paper for the SEIU, and is now working on implementation with SEIU’s Florida Public Service Union (FPSU) local. For several years, FPSU has been exploring worker ownership, creation of a community union called “United Voices” and other community-based enterprise initiatives in its jurisdiction. http://www.seiufpsu.org/
Detroit Cooperative Community
A program of C2BE, The Detroit Cooperative Community is a local mutual self-help organization whose mission is to encourage, enable and teach collaborative action as a way to build a healthy, sustainable and inclusive local economy, and to meet members’ needs. Through monthly potlucks, each hosted by a different member organization you can learn about and participate in grassroots cooperative economic development. All are welcome to come and break bread with us. Membership is open to businesses, organizations and individuals. It takes place the last Wednesday of each month at the D. Blair Theater of the Cass Corridor Commons, 4605 Cass Ave. Contact us for more info.