Now Accepting Nominations of DC Area Co-op Projects and Businesses!
Call for Nominations
3 nominees will be selected from the first wave of applicants to receive full service digital support for launching a successful online crowdfunding campaign on the dcstakeholders.coop platform. This includes:
Campaign Landing Page Co-Design; and
Marketing & Outreach Support.
Read more below on the underlying problem we are addressing and how we are doing so.
In direct support of the DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group mission, the free crowdfunding support services offered through this group's network will prioritize the inclusion and leadership of people and communities who historically have been economically marginalized and structurally excluded by traditional market forces, government policies, and most civil society efforts. In particular, we aim to focus our support for:
Food or worker-owned businesses.
Groups directly serving - or consisting primarily of - owners of color.
Applicants or nominees based in Wards 7 or 8 of DC will be given priority.
Access to capital for early stage entrepreneurs and businesses (and co-ops in particular).
Grant Funding most often requires securing a fiscal sponsor, and it takes time to build relationships with these organizations, which can be hard for under-resourced groups to do on their own.
Venture Capitalists (VCs) are not interested in offering small amounts of funding for small returns since the incentives, or potential payoffs, for them are relatively small.
Angel Investors can be a good route for some startups to grow, but can also come in exchange for control and ownership over a business and its decision making.
Business loans often require a business to already be generating revenue before qualifying for any operating capital, which can be a catch 22 if the capital is necessary in order to generate revenue.
Our Proposed Model
CrowdWork.Coop and Social Conscience PBC's innovative community-led financing vehicle pools together individual seed funding contributions on behalf of the fundraising entity and distributes the funds raised directly to the local co-op business or group. This is at no additional cost other than charged by the recipient's merchant account (PayPal or Stripe).
The module will provide one more fundraising tool for the local cooperative ecosystem to leverage and support tangible means for under-resourced entrepreneurs and co-ops to crowdsource investments directly from their communities and other mission-aligned stakeholders.
There are pros and cons to all of the above fundraising methods, and none is a silver bullet. However, where traditional methods are still inaccessible for under-resourced groups, bridging the divide between smaller individual community contributors and promising group ventures or co-op businesses will make it more likely to increase economic output and circulation of those invested dollars within the local economy, ensured by local credit union membership.
Don't quite fit the bill? All other qualifying groups in the DC area are still encouraged to apply since the fundraising utility will become more widely available shortly after the successful launch of the first wave of campaigns. Other digital tools and workshops will also be made available, and we will also be seeking more partnership and sponsor support to expand our free or discounted service offerings within and between stakeholder networks.
Building on the success of Capital Impact Partners’ national Co-op Innovation Award, this grant program will build capacity for local cooperative community-driven initiatives in the Washington, D.C. region. Eight $5,000 grants will be awarded to emerging cooperatively owned businesses to advance cooperative development led by communities of color, people with low incomes, and/or workers with low wages.
Cooperatively owned food businesses at all stages of development are encouraged to apply, but all co-ops will be considered.
Applications are due by 11:59pm on March 31, 2020. Final grant decisions will be made by May 8th, 2020.
We can use much more support - if you or someone you know has an interest in co-ops, the solidarity economy, community organizing (or would like more experience in these areas) and have 1-2 hours per week to spare, additional needs include support with our:
Content development for newsletter, social media, and website posting
Event planning and outreach (offline and online)
Whether you're a digital expert or only use email to communicate, all are encouraged to apply!
Please reach out by replying to this very email or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact us here.
If you can't volunteer but want to help grow the network, connect with us on your platforms of choice: