General Assembly TOMORROW 7pm: Location, Agenda, and Yearly Updates

Just a friendly reminder we have WORC’N General Assembly tomorrow at 7pm (yes, 7pm not 6pm — so you Equal Exchangers, don’t be shy to add a detour to your commute).

The location, agenda, and some yearly updates for a taste of inspiration are below.

Location

Make Shift Boston
549 Columbus Ave
Boston MA 02118

Agenda

Facilitators listed below

  • 10m Report-back/reflection on the year (James Bachez)
  • 10m Plus/Delta/Insights for 2013 (Ben Mauer)
  • 30m Updates/report-backs (Stacey Cordiero MCs)
    • US Federation update (Ben Mauer)
    • Boston Center for Community Ownership (Stacey Cordiero)
    • WORC’N members
  • Discussion items
    • 5m #BosCoop social media campaign (Joel Wool)
    • 10m Update on intersectoral and Q&A (Micha Josephy)
    • 10m Propose calendar for year & feedback (James Bachez)
    • 15m Propose we postpone membership discussion until intersectoral effort is further along & feedback (Stacey Cordiero)
    • 5m Proposal for a cooperative vision and strategy reading group (Matt Gabrenya)
    • 5m Potential partnership with Future Boston (Joel Wool)

 WORC’N Yearly Updates

A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative

The 11 members of A Yard & A Half Landscaping Cooperative completed our buy-out of A Yard &A Half LLC on Jan 1! Muchisimas gracias to Micha & Maggie from CFNE for all of their help, and to WORCN members for all your advice and support. We’re still looking at options to stabilize working capital, but we’re pressing on! We’ll have our annual meeting in April, and are hoping to diversify our Board as worker-owners become more comfortable with democratic decision-making.

A couple of members are participating in the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing’s grassroots leadership institute in Spanish, and Carolyn gave a workshop on their experience of coops as model for business succession and democratic ownership at this weekend’s NOFA conference. (Notes & slides available)

Dorchester Community Food Co-op

The Dorchester Community Food Co-op had a successful year in 2013, recruiting members, developing new outreach and engagement strategies, soliciting building proposals, selecting an architect, relaunching its winter farmers’ market, partnering on a “Fresh Fridays” cafe series and appearing numerous times in the media. After working with the Sustainability Guild to revitalize a vacant lot on Bowdoin St. in Dorchester––the property that will likely be the initiative’s future home––the Co-op was featured on Boston.com, in the Boston Globe Metro Section, and on WCVB’s Chronicle. The co-op is now in a major member drive and is developing a plan to raise the remaining capital needed to hire a full-time General Manager and build the store.

Cooperative Fund of New England

2013 was a landmark year for the Cooperative Fund of New England. In addition to having our Executive Director, Rebecca Dunn, inducted into the Co-op Hall of Fame (heroes.coop), we disbursed the second largest amount of loan funds in our 38 year history. CFNE made over $3.8 million in loans to 38 co-ops and community groups across New England and eastern upstate New York State. In Greater Boston, CFNE and its affiliate, the Cooperative Capital Fund, made loans to five worker co-ops: A Yard & A Half, Boston TechCollective, CERO Co-op, Dollars & Sense, and Red Sun Press. We look forward to another strong year in 2014. We are also currently working to help the Boston Center for Community Ownership build its capacity to support urban cooperatives in the region.

For information about borrowing or investing in the fund, please visit our website at www.coopfund.coop.

Red Sun Press

2013 was a year of recovery for Red Sun Press. We re-staffed after some difficult transitions, regained our financial footing and reestablished a tight, efficient workflow in the shop.

The lease of a Konica Minolta/Komori C8000 digital press was a highlight of the year, enabling us to complete longer runs of high-quality digital output. Customers like Clean Water Action, Equal Exchange and Local 26/Unite Here responded with lots of orders for postcards, brochures, flyers and posters (including tons of election-related stuff).

We symbolically renewed ourselves mid-year with a rebranding effort, yielding a new logo and fresh marketing materials.

On a governance level, too, we are refreshing our business, moving towards a new organizational structure for the co-op and rising to new challenges in the shifting economic climate. To help carve our new path we welcomed 2 outside advisors onto our board, friends and community leaders with the business and co-op experience needed to balance our busy crew of worker-members.

Looking forward to more interaction with WORC’N and the greater co-op community in 2014!
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