Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative Update

The Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, funded through City Council discretionary funds, enables the work of many organizations, like NYC NoWC, to support worker cooperative futures. With the passage of the initiative in 2014, New York City became the first city in the country to receive municipal investment towards worker cooperative development. Since then, we have advocated effectively to grow the Initiative over the years under NYC City Council discretionary spending — a sum of money in the City’s expense budget that the Council or Council Members are able to allocate to eligible nonprofit organizations on a year by year basis. Like many other important community services, WCBDI too was subject to the austerity measures that accompanied COVID-19. In fact, as an initiative, we saw a 15% cut– totaling $541,350 for the initiative as whole, and $89,598 for NYC NOWC, – which impacted the resources and services of 13 organizations across the previous fiscal year from July 2020-June 2021.

As the backbone organization leading the coordination of said initiative, it has been an eventful year for NYC NoWC to say the least. However, after a year of working under budget cuts, we are pleased to report that WCBDI funding has been restored to the pre-COVID award, and even enhanced by a small amount for this current fiscal year from July 2021-June 2022. That means full support has been restored to initiative partners –including NYC NoWC, Green Worker Cooperatives, ICA Group, Democracy at Work Institute, Urban Upbound, Take Root Justice, CUNY Law, Business Outreach Center, Bronx Cooperative Development Institute, Center for Family Life, The Working World, Workers Justice Project and CAMBA.

We hope this stability brings more stable resources for the initiative and wider cooperative movement. And together as initiative, we aim to continue to advocate for the rightful resources needed to deepen and strengthen our worker coop movement. 

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