These are devastating times for those who already lacked a safety net and access to a dignified quality of life. For this reason, several community organizations are joining forces to house an emergency fund available to Orange County's immigrant and working families. Please follow the link below to apply for funds, or donate to those in need.
Cooperación Santa Ana offers training, coaching and incubation, and hosts a cooperative network and fund governed by cooperatives of Orange County. We believe that worker cooperatives offer an asset building opportunity to those who may be ineligible for employment, or lack the access to capital, and that the deep democracy embedded in cooperatives transforms entire communities and local economies.
Cooperación Santa Ana envisions a strong, locally-owned, shared economy where products and services are created with dignity and respect for the people that work them and the planet that sustains us. In Santa Ana and Orange County, we envision collectively addressing the needs of people of color and low-income families through enterprises and businesses democratically owned and operated by them, networked in solidarity with each other, and embedded within their communities.
Worker Cooperatives are values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose. They are owned and controlled by their workers, and are found in numerous industries. Cooperatives are often thought of as small, but they can be quite large. Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, New York—the nation’s largest worker-owned cooperative—employs 2,300 (90 percent of them women of color) and brought in 2013 revenues of $64 million.
The model of worker cooperatives has proven to be an effective tool for creating and maintaining sustainable, dignified jobs; generating wealth; improving the quality of life of workers; and promoting community and local economic development, particularly for people who lack access to business ownership or sustainable work options. By becoming a part of the Prospera house cleaning cooperatives, for example, the median income for a worker-owner jumps from $24,000 to $40,989. They increase their income and acquire an asset that redirects the downward spiral of wealth in communities of color. When employees not only have a job but an ownership stake, they enjoy greater control of their economic fate.
Our current economic system generates extreme wealth and social inequality and contributes to our calamitous climate crisis, and an alternative is direly needed. Community wealth building is a systems approach to economic development that creates an inclusive, sustainable economy built on locally rooted and broadly held ownership.
Income and wealth in America divide along distinct color lines. White households in the middle-income quintile of the United States (those earning $37,201-$61,328 annually) own nearly eight times as much wealth ($86,100) as middle-income Black earners ($11,000) and ten times as much wealth as middle-income Latine earners ($8,600). The 2017 “Road to Zero Wealth” study by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies describes wealth as “the capital available to families to take advantage of economic opportunities, like buying a home, saving for college or investing in the stock market.” Wealth, more than income “can be the difference between a family maintaining and strengthening their economic status or flailing in economic insecurity.” And the wealth of people of color is quickly spiraling down to nothing. Unless targeted policy solutions and intentional investments in communities of color are implemented, the median Black household wealth will hit zero by 2053, and median Latine households will do so twenty years later, or by 2073.
Community wealth building is a framework for development that calls for developing place-based assets of many kinds, working collaboratively, tapping large sources of demand, and fostering economic institutions and ecosystems of support for enterprises rooted in community. The aim is to create a new system that enables inclusive enterprises and communities to thrive and helps families increase economic security. Examples of community wealth building strategies include cooperatives, employee-owned companies, social enterprise, land trusts, family businesses, community development financial institutions and banks, and more.