Seed Commons Worker Response Fund

Seed Commons Worker Response Fund

Help us make sure that the worker-owners on the front lines of building a democratic economy have the resources they need to weather this storm. The workers of the Seed Commons cooperative network need your help building a mutual aid fund  to endure the COVID-19 crisis.

The workers building the new economy

Democratic workplaces are the seeds of the future economy we all need—community oriented, worker-controlled, and deeply sustainable. But now these seeds, just starting to sprout, stand to be wiped out as the global economy grinds to a viral standstill. We must make sure that the worker-owners on the frontlines of building a democratic economy have the resources they need to weather the storm. Please help the workers of New Era Windows, Brooklyn Stone & Tile, Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, CORE Staffing, and others in our network build a mutual aid fund to support us in the weeks and months that are ahead.

How we are responding

The COVID-19 outbreak and associated social distancing measures are hitting small businesses hard, and worker-owners of cooperative enterprises around the country will struggle to cover payroll and rent costs during this time. The Seed Commons Worker Response Fund will provide direct support to worker-owners at cooperative businesses most affected by closures and downturn associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, such as food service businesses, custom manufacturing, and child care cooperatives.

Seed Commons – a national network of cooperative loan funds, anchored by The Working World – is designed to support those workers who are most marginalized from the economy, and these communities are the ones that are going to be most impacted by closures, cancellations, and economic downturn in the coming months. Our community – made up of low income workers, workers of color, sole income earners, single parents, and immigrant workers – is coming together to raise a collective emergency fund to ensure all of our workers’ needs are met and our cooperatives can stay open during this crisis.

Where your money is going

Funds will be made available to cooperatives across our network according to a structured process of need and rationing approved by our board. Donations will be tax deductible and held at Seed Commons, a 501(c)3 certified Community Development Financial Institution before being distributed directly to the cooperative businesses hit hardest by this crisis. 

This is not a fundraiser for Seed Commons operations or any of its member organizations – this fund is supporting workers directly, providing much needed support in a time of urgent need. Seed Commons member loan funds will also be working with borrowing businesses directly to reassess project plans and repayment timelines to ensure sustainability even in this time of uncertainty.

On behalf of the workers at New Era Windows, Brooklyn Stone & Tile, Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, CORE Staffing and many more cooperatives across the country, thank you for your support!

Resources for Worker Co-ops in Response to COVID-19

Resources for Worker Co-ops in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 global pandemic unfolds we wanted to . provide a small set of resources applicable to worker-coops across Baltimore City. This list has been adapted from the Good Business Works original posting, and will continue to be updated as things unfold.

Share your Experience!

Complete the Baltimore Development Corporation Impact Survey

Resources for your Business:

Baltimore Ecomap: Resources on Loans & Financial Assistance, Local Support Organizations, and other statewide small business resources

Startup Soiree COVID-19 Small Business Discussion ForumSmall Business Administration Guidance

Policy Updates and Business FAQs from the Maryland Department of Commerce, a few key points some business tax filing deadlines are being extended to June 1st, contact for more information any permits, licenses, or registrations that would expire during the state of emergency will be extended for 30 days after the end of the state of emergency.

IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief

Access to Capital, Loans & Emergency Assistance

KIVA Baltimore is offering 0% interest loans up to $15,000 with a 6 mos grace period on repayment

Honeycomb Credit is offering emergency relief loans for small businesses with a 6 mos interest only repayment

Baltimore Business Lending is still accepting low-barrier loan applications remotely up to $50,000

The Small Business Administration is providing low-interest Disaster Assistance loans to qualifying businesses

Economic Industry Disaster Loan support for small businesses under the US Small Business Administration

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation COVID 19 Crisis Relief Fund: 0% interest loans to businesses to maintain payroll, or reopen after the crisis.

Baltimore Community Foundation COVID 19 Evolving Community Needs Fund: funds will go directly to address the negative impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on our region’s communities, workforce, and vulnerable populations.

Inner City Capital Connections has virtual business advising, webinars, and events

Pages to Follow for Updates

Resources for Worker-Owners:

Employment Related Families First Coronavirus Response Act will provide federally sponsored paid sick leave, expanded paid family and medical leave, expanded unemployment insurance, food assistance, and help for small businesses, read the full text here

Paper from Red Emmas about Unemployment Insurance

Red Emmas Covid-19 Response Protocol

Unemployment Benefits : US Department of Labor extends unemployment benefits to workers impacted by COVID-19

Financial Assistance

Seed Commons Worker Response Fund: direct response funds for worker owners at impacted cooperatives

Baltimore Virtual Tip Jar: organized locally by service workers & community members, add your name & Venmo to receive community-sourced “tips”

One Fair Wage Emergency Coronavirus Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund: cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, and personal service workers

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation COVID 19 Crisis Relief Fund: a relief fund for restaurant workers facing economic or health hardships**USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program**

Health Related Health Insurance Enrollment: The Maryland Health Connection is offering a special enrollment period for the ACA between March 16- April 15.

Visit or download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.” Free help is available by calling 1-855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Baltimore Health Clinics that accept uninsured patients: Currently testing for COVID-19 is free nationwide for all individuals regardless of insurance coverage Maryland Insurance Administration FAQ

Other Emergency Assistance: All evictions are halted while city schools are closed

Internet Service: A free “Internet Essentials” package will be free to all new Comcast customers for the next 60 days and Comcast will not disconnect internet or charge a late fee for any customer who contacts them and says they are unable to pay

No Power Shutoffs: BG&E is suspending all service disconnection and waiving late fees until May 1st

Pages to Follow for Updates

Baltimore Health Department

Baltimore Sun

Your Local Councilperson on Social Media, find them here