Cooperatives give a voice to workers

July 30, 2021
CERO 2021a

Every July, the United Nations recognizes World Day of Cooperatives to honor and celebrate the impact of these organizations on individuals and communities. Mercy Partnership Fund has a long history of investing in cooperatives, which are democratically organized and managed organizations ranging from start-ups to conventional businesses converting to the cooperative model. Each worker- or community-owned cooperative gives its members a voice in every aspect of the organization. 

Mercy invests in cooperatives directly and through community development financial institutions like the Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE). CFNE works for economic, social and racial justice by advancing cooperatives, with a preference for those in low-income communities. One CFNE beneficiary, CERO, has made composting easier and more accessible and created green jobs in lower income neighborhoods. CFNE was an early investor in the worker-owned cooperative, which transports food waste from Boston-area commercial clients to a composting facility that recycles it into rich soil for local farms. 

Mercy’s most recent investment in CFNE supports cooperatives launching, expanding and weathering predictable and unanticipated business cycles, such as the pandemic. CFNE created a $1 million Emergency Cooperative Enterprise Relief Loan Fund in response to COVID-19 and the economic crisis. This fund deploys loans of up to $50,000 to help cooperatives cover fixed costs, such as payroll and rent, with no loan payments for the first six months. 

To learn more about CFNE, visit its website. CFNE is one of more than 60 mission-driven organizations in Mercy Partnership Fund’s global community investing portfolio. Learn more about our work online