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.

https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/seed-commons-worker-response-fund

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 taxpayerrelief@maryland.gov 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 MarylandHealthConnection.gov 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

Succession Planning Strategies

Succession Planning Strategies

You worked hard to build your business

But now you are ready for your next big move. Selling to your employees can bring added security with a friendly buyer letting you take some chips off the table while still being at the helm.

Trusting that you are growing your business in the right direction often keeps entrepreneurs up at night. By selling a piece of your business to your employees you can be sure your team is in it for the long haul. Selling to your employees keeps good jobs in the community and helps to take care of the people who have worked hard to build your business. Trusting that you are growing your business in the right direction often keeps entrepreneurs up at night. By selling a piece of your business to your employees you can be sure your team is in it for the long haul.

Planning a successful transition

We are excited to announce a new workshop series designed to arm you with information and strategies for selling your business! In the workshop we will explore a range of options for business owners of different size and stage of business growth!

Signup to learn more

In conjunction with the City of Baltimore’s Community Catalyst program, Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy is offering a free conversion information session to business owners interested in moving to the next level with an innovative employee engagement model. We will work with you to assess if a sale to your employees is right for your business.

Sign Up

September 14th Jumpstart Schedule!!

September 14th Jumpstart Schedule!!

This Saturday is our annual Worker Cooperative Jumpstart! It will be a day long series of workshops focused on establishing and running worker cooperatives. We have something for everyone. So whether you’ve been a worker-owner for years, are thinking about starting a co-op, or just want to learn more this event is for you! Organizations and individuals welcome! Register through https://www.eventbrite.com/e/save-the-date-3rd-annual-worker-co-op-jumpstart-tickets-64812608256?fbclid=IwAR1B7ZDsLAaGjODMdhciJAbi53iO8mWa0C6lePVNm1y57RARUV5T8e0VaFY

We will be having exciting new content that focuses on cooperative conversions. More info to come! We are asking for a suggested donation of $1-25 per person to cover the cost of the event and lunch. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.  If you or your organization need any specific accommodations, or to request interpretation services, please email  info@baltimoreroundtable.org. We would be happy to answer any questions.

Childcare is available for those who need it.

Come Work With Us!!

Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy is looking to hire someone for the position of Project Officer who will be responsible for executing approved technical assistance plans, reporting regularly on the status of your assigned projects to the Staff Collective, and assisting with BRED events & educational programming. If you feel like this position is right for you and you want to be part of the team, please follow the link below for more information and to send us your resume.

The Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) is a coalition of Maryland-based worker cooperatives, advocates, and technical assistance providers committed to building a robust cooperative ecosystem. BRED supports democratically-controlled economic institutions with loans and technical assistance.

Job Description: Project Officer

Organization Description:

The Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) is a coalition of Maryland-based worker cooperatives, advocates, and technical assistance providers committed to building a robust cooperative ecosystem. BRED supports democratically-controlled economic institutions with loans and technical assistance.

Job Description:
Project Officers are responsible for executing approved technical assistance plans, regularly reporting on the status of your assigned projects to the Staff Collective, assist with BRED events & educational programming. Project Officers will:

  • Loan preparation & technical assistance for co-ops, which includes:
    • Preparing loan memos in our loan tracking software in collaboration with the Executive Director or Loan Coach to be presented to the Sustainability Committees for feedback and approval.
    • Executing approved technical assistant plans for projects assigned to you. 
    • Attend Project Officer weekly meetings and quarterly Staff Collective meetings.
    • Report regularly to the Staff Collective on the progress of your projects. 
    • Meet monthly with all projects that have received loans – in some cases, an email check-in may be sufficient for more advanced projects
    • Log progress of technical assistance plan in Madeline. Write monthly Madeline status logs on each project that is in their first year of their loan plan. Quarterly status updates for projects that are further along, and in active repayment.
    • Active participation on the BRED Slack.

  • BRED’s loan & technical assistance intake process, which includes:
    • Following up with all leads in a timely fashion
    • Making a critical assessment of the project’s real TA needs and path to loan readiness
    • Presenting such assessment to the Loan Assembly for feedback
    • Developing a structured TA plan for each new project, once approved by the Loan Assembly as a “pipeline” project.


  • Coordinate public events & educational programming, which includes:
    • Work with Staff Collective to plan and execute events. Recommend events that would meet the needs expressed by co-ops you work with.
    • Regularly staff and attend events. 
    • Attend cooperative roundtable gatherings for active area cooperators. 
  • Participate in The Seed Commons Peer Network, which includes:
    • Active participation in ongoing Peer Network phone calls.
    • Active participation in semi-annual Peer Network trainings.
    • Active participation on the Peer Network Slack.

This is a part-time, 20-hour/week job, compensated at a starting rate of $22,500/year.

Qualifications:
Our ideal candidate would have some combination of the following qualifications:

  • Experience with community organizing in Baltimore & Maryland
  • Ability to work nights and weekend hours
  • Ability to have frequent in-person meetings with co-ops in Baltimore
  • Experienced in coalition work and coordinating/drawing on the resources of people from multiple organizations
  • Experienced in writing business plans, including work on financial documents (e.g., projections, budgets, capital plans), and analyzing business opportunities
  • Connected to cooperatives and the cooperative movement
  • A clear, and coherent communicator in both written and oral forms
  • Personally well-organized and able to create and maintain appropriate online and physical files and communications systems
  • Available to participate in the Fall 2019 training of the Peer Network. This will be out of town. 
  • Experience with planning & facilitating workshops and meetings 
  • Democratic decision-making experience
  • Commitment to transformative and equity justice framework
  • High level of organization and attention to detail, complemented by the ability to see the big picture

People of color, immigrants, trans and gender nonconforming people, people from poor and working class backgrounds, queer people, and women are encouraged to apply.

Please send a cover letter and a current resume to info@baltimoreroundtable.org by September 15th, 2019.


SAVE the DATE: 3rd Annual Worker Co-op Jumpstart

SAVE the DATE: 3rd Annual Worker Co-op Jumpstart

On September 14th, Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) will be hosting our third annual Worker Cooperative Jumpstart! It will be a day long series of workshops focused on establishing and running worker cooperatives. We have something for everyone. So whether you’ve been a worker-owner for years, are thinking about starting a co-op, or just want to learn more this event is for you! Organizations and individuals welcome! We will be having exciting new content that focuses on cooperative conversions. More info to come!

We are asking for a suggested donation of $1-25 per person to cover the cost of the event and lunch. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. If you or your organization need any specific accommodations, or to request interpretation services, please email  info@baltimoreroundtable.org. We would be happy to answer any questions.1

Please RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/save-the-date-3rd-annual-worker-co-op-jumpstart-tickets-64812608256

Sponsors:
Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy (BRED) is a coalition of Maryland-based worker cooperatives, advocates, and technical assistance providers committed to building a robust cooperative ecosystem. BRED supports democratically-controlled economic institutions with loans and technical assistance.

Impact Hub Baltimore supports and connects a community of Baltimore change makers by providing an inspiring works pace and innovative programming to scale and sustain their social impact.

Gilmore Khandhar, LLC, a law firm focused on legal, policy, and advocacy tools to advance economic justice, racial equity, and social transformation.

Mera Kitchen is a community-driven, food-based cooperative focused on empowerment of refugee and immigrant women by tapping into their passion for cooking, self-expression and creating community.