CEANYC Goes to Washington!

This #CoopMonth, cooperators from around the world joined each other for the National Cooperative Business Association’s Coop IMPACT Conference in Arlington, Virginia. CEANYC Staff had the opportunity to participate in a youth-focused cohort: The Cooperative Leaders and Scholars Institute (CLSI). CLSI offers scholarships and programming to cooperators under 35 from around the country and across sectors. We came from food co-ops on the west coast, credit unions in the nation’s capitol, cooperative economy graduate programs, nationwide worker cooperative support networks, and more. The CSLI kicked off with a cohort dinner where young cooperators got to meet each other and hear from NCBA Board Member and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives Executive Director Esteban Kelly. Kelly talked about his co-op origin story, chronicling his background in community organizing work in New York and his involvement with the Berkeley Student Cooperative, where students not only lived cooperatively, but ran democratically-controlled businesses and groceries. In other words, where a cross-sectoral approach was foundational. The Berkeley Student Cooperative houses and feeds over 1300 university students. CSLI participants attended the regular conference, but also had […]

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Solidarity Snapshot: Lauren Taylor Hudson

Lauren Taylor Hudson, SolidarityNYC and CEANYC Peer Educator, CUNY Graduate Center How did you get into this work? A couple of ways. The most straightforward is that I was involved in campus endowment organizing through the Responsible Endowments Coalition when I was an undergrad. I had pretty centrist, middle of the road liberal politics for most of my college years, and I was looking for general ‘feel good’ things to channel those interests into (I was also the co-chair of our Young Democrats club..). It wasn’t until REC that I met other people with intersecting interests that were to the left of mine. This is also when I began to understand the relationship between a model or strategy and your broader politics. By the time I graduated I was very much to the left of where I started, and wanted to just learn learn learn. Occupy had just happened, so I was riding that reverberating energy. That’s when I got back in touch with Cheyenna who was my organizer/campus wrangler at REC, who then convinced me to come be a […]

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Seikatsu comes to NYC

Seikatsu Comes to New York City Earlier this Fall, CEANYC had the opportunity to host 13 visitors from the Seikatsu Club Consumer Cooperative Union (Seikatsu). Seikatsu is a consumer co-op federation that includes 32 different autonomous cooperatives spanning 21 prefectures (similar to U.S. states) across Japan. While Seikatsu initially formed with 200 Japanese housewives initiating a buying club for safe and affordable milk, membership now exceeds 370,000 different families. They have been innovators in sustainability, holding Japanese producers accountable to strict and progressive ecological standards; developed a robust education and training program; created worker cooperatives in care industries; and are entirely women-led and volunteer-run.   CEANYC is grateful to have participated in a learning exchange with the Seikatsu delegation, in which we hosted a public panel moderated by Dr. Michael Menser (whose book We Decide! includes a chapter on Seikatsu), as well as took them to see various cooperatives and solidarity economy enterprise in New York City. The Seikatsu delegation was able to visit two food co-ops in New York City, both of which are member-labor co-ops: Park Slope Food […]

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838 Park: A Story of Cooperation Among Cooperatives

838 Park: A Story of Cooperation Among Cooperatives 838 Park became an HDFC (Housing Development Fund Corporation), a limited equity—or capped income—co-op in 2005, and is one of 72 HDFC co-op buildings with 1,349 units in Crown Heights. There are 355 HDFC co-op buildings in Brooklyn with 5,291 units, and 1,283 HDFC co-op buildings and 26,201 units city-wide, according to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), an organization that supports residents and shareholders to create and sustain affordable housing cooperatives. Most were formed during the 1970s when landlords abandoned thousands of buildings, leaving a significant amount of New Yorkers with a housing crisis. UHAB and residents took matters into their own hand, and through sweat equity, cooperation, and collective ownership secured genuinely affordable and quality housing for low and moderate income New Yorkers. Long-term shareholder Rebecca Robinson-Lawrence recalls, “I have lived at 838 Park Place for almost fifty years and to have your home go from being nearly condemned and/or sold off to a private entity to a moderately priced cooperative is nothing short of a miracle.  No one would […]

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What Is It About Credit Unions?

What Is It About Credit Unions? Cliff Rosenthal The former Director and CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions discusses the Credit Union Membership Access Act, and its implications for the community development credit union movement.   Credit unions are the biggest segment of the cooperative movement—110 million members, more than a trillion dollars in combined assets. Yet most surveys show that only a minority of credit union members actually know their financial institution is a cooperative, and what that means—such as one member, one vote; unpaid board of directors; nonprofit—but not charities; no federal taxes. Of the 5,600 credit unions in the United States today, a small portion have an explicit mission of empowering low-income and minority people. In New York City, we have some of the best examples—the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union,  Neighborhood Trust FCU in Washington Heights, Brooklyn Cooperative FCU headquartered in Bushwick, and about a dozen more, including some longstanding credit unions in African American churches. They’re known as community development credit unions (CDCUs). Survival is always a challenge for […]

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