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The Evergreen Cooperatives Launch The Fund for Employee Ownership


The Evergreen Cooperatives Launch The Fund for Employee Ownership
New initiative will preserve quality jobs by acquiring businesses and making their employees into owners

CLEVELAND, OHIONOVEMBER 13, 2018 Evergreen Business Services (EBS) today announced the launch of The Fund for Employee Ownership, which will strategically acquire businesses in Northeast Ohio to preserve the quality jobs they provide by converting them to employee ownership.

EBS and the Fund are part of the Evergreen Cooperatives, a nationally celebrated network of companies in Cleveland, Ohio that creates jobs and builds community wealth through employee ownership. For John McMicken, CEO of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, “Our new Fund will build upon the successes of existing Evergreen businesses and our decade of experience in cooperative business development and training, to bring the proven benefits of employee ownership to more workers, companies, and the neighborhoods where they operate.”

The Fund will work with retiring business owners to acquire their companies at a fair market price, providing them the liquidity they need to transition out of the firm and; access to the wealth they have created. By then converting these businesses to employee ownership, Evergreen will preserve their owners’ legacy by ensuring that the jobs they provide remain in the community while creating the opportunity for employees to have a share and a stake in their company’s success. Integration of these employee-owned businesses into Evergreen’s larger portfolio will provide ongoing support to develop a culture of ownership in the workplace, access to shared back-office business services, and the opportunity to connect with Evergreen’s purchasing relationships with local anchor institutions.

Already, in May of 2018, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL), one of Evergreen’s portfolio companies, demonstrated how a key part of this conversion process would operate when it assumed operations of Cleveland Clinic’s laundry facility in the Collinwood neighborhood just outside downtown Cleveland, saving these jobs and creating an accelerated pathway to worker ownership for over 100 employees at the plant.  The Fund will build on this experience as it starts acquiring businesses for conversion to employee ownership.

For Brett Jones, Executive Vice President at Evergreen and director of the new fund, “The work of The Fund for Employee Ownership will be a vital way to keep quality jobs in the communities that depend on them, especially when so many business owners facing retirement lack a clear plan for succession that can preserve their legacy and protect their employees. Helping these companies go employee-owned is a win-win-win solution for business owners, workers, and our communities.”

Key to the strategy of the Fund is the active use of investor capital to drive the mission of increasing employee ownership to scale. According to Jessica Rose, Director of Employee Ownership Programs at The Democracy Collaborative, who serves as a strategic advisor to the Fund, “The acquisition strategy of the Fund is designed to actively seek and identify opportunities to facilitate conversions to employee ownership, a critical way to expand an inclusive, broad-based economy. By providing the financing necessary to catalyze employee ownership transactions, we can provide a real return to investors in the fund while ensuring that the newly employee-owned companies are set up for long-term success.”

The Fund for Employee Ownership expects to make its first acquisition and conversion in 2019 and is actively seeking to connect with owners of small- and medium-sized businesses in Northeast Ohio interested in an exit from their business that preserves their legacy as job creators.


The Fund for Employee Ownership is housed at the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund and managed by Evergreen Business Services, both part of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to creating quality jobs, vibrant communities, and thriving businesses through employee ownership. Learn more at


The Democracy Collaborative is a national research institute working to build a more democratic economy, whose support for the Fund for Employee Ownership is made possible by a grant from the Kendeda Fund. Learn more at


Cleveland Area Media: Brett Jones, (216) 338-4468,

National Media: John Duda, (202) 559-1473 x102,


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