Awards go to groups using cooperatives to empower workers and support immigrant rights
by Karen Kahn
Capital Impact Partners, in partnership with The Workers Lab, announced the fifth annual Co-op Innovation Awards on May 7. Since 2015, the awards have been used to increase co-op development in low-income communities and communities of color, with a goal of broadening opportunities for quality jobs, wealth creation, and asset building.
This year, more than 100 organizations applied for the awards. The winners include:
Community Labor Environment Action Network: Awarded $50,000 to launch CLEAN Carwash, a worker-owned car wash cooperative in Los Angeles that prioritizes environmental and labor rights. CLEAN is a grassroots immigrant-led organization, seeking to transform the exploitative car wash industry.
“It has been exciting to see a trend toward community, labor, and worker-focused organizations integrating co-op development into their existing services in innovative ways.” — Alison Powers, Capital Impact Partners
Independent Drivers Guild: Awarded $25,000 to launch a purchasing cooperative to reduce drivers’ expenses such as car washing, fuel, oil changes, and dash cameras. The group, which represents 65,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City (90 percent immigrant workers), is also launching a cooperative café that will deliver culturally appropriate meals-on-the-go.
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos: United Workers’ Center: Awarded $25,000 to develop a dual-language train-the-trainer curriculum to support cooperative development. In addition, the group plans to launch two new cooperatives and to advocate for policy changes to support more widespread cooperative development. Centro is a grassroots immigrant-run organization that empowers low-wage workers to fight for economic justice, including being treated with dignity and being justly compensated.
With this year’s co-op innovation awards, “[i]t has been exciting to see a trend toward community, labor, and worker-focused organizations integrating co-op development into their existing services in innovative ways that are tailored to meet the needs of their members and broader communities,” said Alison Powers, manager of Cooperative and Community Initiatives at Capital Impact Partners, in a press statement.
Karen Kahn provides communications consulting and editorial support for Fifty by Fifty.