In 2015 Nexus adopted a Community Wealth Building framework, with a particular emphasis on worker cooperatives and business conversions to workers cooperatives, to advance its mission of building more engaged and powerful communities of color.
Community Wealth Building (CWB) is a place-based, systems approach to community economic development that ensures local and broad-based ownership; develops cooperative and other reinforcing economic enterprises; utilizes culturally-based economic models; invests in assets that are rooted locally; and engages the procurement power of institutional partners. CWB is grounded in the values of equity, mutuality and stewardship.
Although Minnesota’s cooperative community is vast and is home to more cooperatives than any other state in the nation, representation of cultural communities and communities of color is very limited. To address this, Nexus has developed four innovative and interrelated initiatives that will build power within communities of color, support a pipeline for living wage employment, and better equip organizations, practitioners and leaders with the tools required to carry out targeted strategies, with a focus on cooperative economic models.
North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship. North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship. The North Star Fellowship is a 4-month, cohort-based program, which will provide participants with a history of cooperative economics in the Black community, while receiving technical skills and support for emerging cooperative business ideas. Click here to learn more about the North Star Fellowship.
Culturally-based TA Providers Cohort. Ten practitioners of color from across sectors (culturally-based CDC’s, small business developers, college faculty, lawyers, community impact investors etc.) will complete a series of trainings that convey the knowledge and skills necessary to lead the development of cooperative enterprises.
Business Conversions to Worker Ownership. Nexus is building leadership and an ecosystem to support business conversions to worker ownership. Nexus will partner with Oakland-based Project Equity to replicate (tailor) their business conversion incubator, which targets businesses ripe for conversions and provides technical assistance, in the Twin Cities.
Developing CWB Leaders: Americorps VISTA Cohort. Nexus will partner with the Phillips Family Foundation’s C3 Twin Cities VISTA program to engage a cohort of five organizations working in the areas of cooperative economic models, social enterprise, work opportunity, financial inclusion and community land ownership models. The organizations include: Hmong American Farmers Association, Eastside Financial Center, Appetite for Change, City of Lakes Community Land Trust and Better Futures.