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Sherrod Brown visits Evergreen Cooperative Laundry

Senator calls Evergreen a “model for how we can create green jobs”

As reported on this website, The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, host of Community-Wealth.org has been working on the development of a growing network of worker cooperatives providing green jobs. Called the Evergreen Cooperatives, the worker-owned businesses have developed as a result of a partnership involving the residents of six Cleveland neighborhoods, the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland and several of the city’s leading anchor institutions, including Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals.

Earlier this month, on October 12th, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard paid a visit to the first of these businesses, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry. The Senator’s visit marked the one-year anniversary for the worker-owned cooperative. A new report, prepared by the Cleveland Foundation is available here. The report outlines the benefits that the laundry and of another year-old Evergreen business, Ohio Cooperative Solar, have brought to the Cleveland community after one year of operation. In their first year, the two Evergreen businesses have created nearly 50 new jobs.

“The Evergreen Cooperative initiative is a model for how we can create green jobs in communities all across Ohio and the country,” Senator Brown said. “These for-profit, environmentally responsible businesses are helping revive historic but often neglected neighborhoods in downtown Cleveland. Most importantly, the Evergreen Cooperatives are putting Ohioans back to work in good-paying jobs—and over time, those employees even have a stake in the company. It’s a truly revolutionary way of doing business that promotes local economic development.”

“It’s exciting to test new ideas like the Evergreen cooperatives,” Richard said. “These aren’t charitable enterprises – they’re for-profit businesses that respond to market needs. But what’s unique is that they have a higher purpose than profit alone. They’re tools to bring vitality and hope to places and people who have had too little of both.”

For more information on the Evergreen Cooperatives, check out our Community Wealth Building in Action section. Updated quarterly, this section provides the latest developments on what is increasingly called the Cleveland model.

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