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Community Wealth Building in Jackson, Mississippi: Strategic Considerations

Drawing from the inspiration of the Jackson-Kush Plan and the vision put forward by the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Cooperation Jackson emerged as an independent organization focused on developing a cooperative economy in Jackson in the summer of 2014. As an aspiring network of cooperative enterprises, Cooperation Jackson aims to reduce income and wealth gaps, generate living wage jobs with quality healthcare, and ensure the provision of adequate housing through the growth of worker cooperatives and other democratically owned enterprises. 

Cooperation Jackson is exploring a comprehensive place-based development initiative, called the Sustainable Communities Initiative, centered on creating employee-owned cooperative enterprises in West Jackson that partner with and serve the supply chain or service needs of “anchor institution” employers in the city. Anchor institutions—large, place-based nonprofit and public institutions that are unlikely to move location because of their mission, invested capital and customer relationships—are Jackson’s most significant employers. The eight largest employers in Jackson are anchor institutions, alone employing nearly 60,000 people.

This report, prepared by The Democracy Collaborative and submitted to Cooperation Jackson, highlights opportunities to build a cooperative economy in Jackson, Mississippi linked to anchor institution procurement.