Latina cooperators helping each other to survive the economic shutdown
by Karen Kahn
Everyone is struggling with the impact of COVID-19, and an economy that is shut down in much of the country. But it is quickly becoming clear that communities of color are likely to be the hardest hit—both by the health crisis and the economic crisis.
Coronavirus is impacting our global and local communities. Our community is anxious and fearful, and this affects their health and well-being.–Claudia Arroyo, co-director of Prospera
The Fund was launched after Prospera decided to survey the women in their cooperative education programs. Among the findings:
- 78 percent have no savings, or savings that would cover less than two months of expenses
- 34 percent are at high risk of losing their family home
- Only 37 percent can work from home to meet their economic needs
- 23 percent rely on their coop business as their primary source of income
Says co-director Claudia Arroyo, “Coronavirus is impacting our global and local communities. Our community is anxious and fearful, and this affects their health and well-being. We need to move quickly, to respond with love and compassion, to tap into our collective power as a community.”
Nancy Rosales, founder of Pepitos Paletas and a Prospera fellow and board member who helped with the survey, expressed the concerns of many of the entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. Her Mexican frozen dessert business had really taken off in 2019, and the cooperative looked forward to 2020. “But then the news of COVID-19 outbreak broke and everything grinded to a halt. All orders were cancelled, with no foreseeable new dates, therefore, no foreseeable income,” said Rosales in a fundraising letter.
“The first days were really scary,” she continued. “But an entrepreneur does not have time to fear, and with the support of Prospera, we started working side by side to look for a solution.”
Rosales, however, was worried about others in the Prospera community who might not be able to keep their businesses afloat, and she agreed to help with the survey. Through that process, Prospera determined that the community could use help covering a range of emergency expenses, including childcare and eldercare; technology and equipment to keep businesses going while reducing community exposure; and basic expenses such as rent, food, and healthcare. The goal is to raise $30,000 to help cover those expenses. The Latino Community Foundation has contributed $10,000. To donate, go to Latina Entrepreneur Resiliency Fund.
Editorial note: Latina entrepreneurs are also invited to participate in a virtual forum (on Zoom) to talk about the impact of COVID-19, Thursday April 16, 12-3 PM Pacific Time. The event, produced by Prospera in collaboration with the Latino Community Foundation, will be in Spanish. REGISTER HERE
Karen Kahn is a communications consultant and the editor of Employee Ownership News.