Marc Lefkowitz | 05/21/09 @ 10:44am
Yes! Magazine reports in its Summer 2009 issue that Cleveland's new Evergreen Cooperative "represents the first significant effort to create green jobs that not only pay a decent wage, but also build assets and wealth for employees. Since they are not only workers, but also owners. If successful, this initiative could become a national model."
The Cleveland Foundation and Shorebank are financing the start up (and have launched a fund in support ) of local green businesses. The first co-op will be a green laundry facility in a new LEED-Silver building with a water recapture system and will use hybrid trucks. The second is the Ohio Cooperative Solar, which plans to lease rooftops from large nonprofits like Case Western Reserve University, install solar panels, and sell the power to the institutions. Their goal is 4 megawatts of solar power installed in Northeast Ohio.
"This is about addressing Cleveland's economic disparity and taking green jobs to scale," Kuri said recently. The foundation and Shorebank's goal is to raise $15-20 million to finance the start up of ten co-ops (they have raised $5 million thus far, including $1.5 million from the City of Cleveland).
The goal is to create jobs and wealth within the city by tapping into the billions of goods and services procured by University Circle's nonprofit institutions. It will be considered a success when each worker-owner builds $65,000 in capital.