Statement on Racial Equity

Cooperation Works! (CW) is an association of cooperative developers dedicated to transforming the economy by assisting people in meeting their needs through cooperative enterprise. We envision the cooperative business model becoming a publicly preferred means to develop a more just, democratic and sustainable economy. By this we mean that Cooperatives can be a tool for social transformation and through them people are empowered to create stronger communities.

Yet we recognize that the co-op movement—and Cooperation Works! itself—has often fallen short in realizing this vision, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. CW acknowledges that a centuries-long history of institutionalized racism, exclusionary economic policies, and systemic violence against people of color have created vast racial inequity that must be addressed and overcome for CW to realize its vision of a just, democratic, and sustainable economy. To realize this vision, CW will seek to support organizations outside of this network that work to promote racial equity, particularly where this work overlaps with cooperative or related forms of community-based economic development. Second, we will make CW a more inclusive space for people and communities of color. A Racial Equity Working Group will be established and tasked with guiding adoption of inclusive practices into all aspects of the organization. With an eye toward supporting the work already being done, we outline the following goals and action steps.

We are working toward:

  • A racially and ethnically diverse membership that serves and represents the diversity of communities in the United States.
  • Expanding connections with groups on the frontlines of racial equity work in order to positively and productively exchange information, knowledge, and resources.
  • More diversified and equitably distributed funding for cooperative development to better serve historically underserved communities.
  • Making CW trainings financially accessibly to low-income communities
  • Facilitate communication and partnership development between co-op developers and communities of color and low-income communities