ATTN: Next Tuesday - open virtual town hall on co-ops with newly elected nominee for Ward 5 DC Councilmember Zachary Parker

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Justin Franks

Sep 23, 2022, 3:36:35 PM9/23/22
to Coops & Solidarity Economy in DC
A conversation on co-ops and policy in DC with newly elected nominee for Ward 5 DC Councilmember Zachary Parker 

You are invited to a meeting to talk through the state of co-ops in DC. Come with any questions, experiences, or legislation you would like to share or start a discourse around.
Tuesday, Sep. 27th
@ 10AM

RSVP Here:

Also Read: Zachary Announces His Cooperatives, Community Wealth, and Small Business Development Platform (

Justin Franks

Sep 30, 2022, 10:04:59 AM9/30/22
to Coops & Solidarity Economy in DC

Notes from the discussion:

  • Almost no support or recognition for worker co-ops in mainstream business/entrepreneur/startup space as of now.

  • Supporting existing housing co-ops - tax abatement, as some are struggling (some are flourishing)

  • Kevin Gustafson drafted legislation for worker co-ops, which included provisions on: 

    • Capital gains exclusions for conversions, 

    • Income exclusions (corporate and individual) to incentivize growth and make it easier and more profitable to sell to a worker co-op, 

    • Tax holidays as well. 

             View drafted legislation here: DC Cooperative Ownership and Development Act V1.5.docx

  • Biggest issue is access to capital - there are a lot of CDFIs but there could be a DC gov Coop Dev Corp (a way to single source all that work. District could give loans or loan guarantees). 

  • Most traditional financial institutions don’t understand and don’t have confidence with co-ops. 

  • There could be a business TOPA - right of first refusal for workers to buy the business. Not in America yet, but exists elsewhere. 

  • Having a CBE for co-ops, ease of accessing public procurement contracts. 

  • The Federal SBA doesn't allow loan guarantees to worker co-ops so a DC co-op loan guarantee system would help level the playing field and provide data on how low the risk is for those loans.

  • Worker, Housing, Consumer, Producer, Credit Unions should all work together

  • Directory of co-op laws by state: State-Cooperative-Statute-Library-Updated-October-2019.xlsb.xlsx

  • Employee Ownership Center - TA and know-how. Already is an Employee-Ownership Exchange that sets these up. WACIF and their GWCEO could interface with it

  • Bonds is bringing back a series of housing co-op bills, majority of the Council are co-sponsors. Advisory Council permanent, as well as tax support for LEC with income restrictions. 

  • Community Purchase Alliance - focused on buying from minority-owned businesses

  • Having Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) use LECs more - low hanging fruit would be basic data for development so they are tracking the co-ops - they have a staff person now in place to support this

  • Allow LECs to utilize tax credits

  • Need an expansive definition of co-ops in the law

  • Co-ops should be explicitly added to new bills being reviewed that are relevant to economic development when they are not already included on lists of qualifying entity types.

  • Obstacle: Community wealth versus individual wealth conversation - gives access and infrastructure to folks who don’t have the capacity to be a sole landlord or sole business owner

  • Will plan to meet with Mr. Parker again in the new year once the next legislative session is underway

  • History of co-ops in DC: Home Rule from Below: The Cooperative Movement in Washington, DC by Johanna Bockman

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