Taharka Brothers In Next City Article

Taharka Brothers In Next City Article

Taharka Brothers was the first business to receive a loan from BRED back in 2016. It is so wonderful to see them welcome the first round of worker owners. Converting a traditional business to a worker owned cooperative is so empowering. It benefits not only the workers but also the community. In the latest article about their conversion, Taharka Brothers talks with Next City about their experience with BRED.

“We only have loans through BRED. Part of that is the comfortability we have with them and who they are, them being the first company to give us a solid loan,” says McCoy. “The process has been quite educational, being a part of tracking the payments and having to really get a return to make those payments. BRED also helped with budgeting. The loan process just opened up a whole door to financial education for everyone here.”

To read the full article follow this link https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/baltimore-is-democratizing-the-economy-one-pint-at-a-time

$1 Million for Obran Rising

$1 Million for Obran Rising

After Obran Cooperative acquired Appalachian Field Services, AFS received a $1M investment from Seed Commons. Now their newest project, Obran Rising, has also received a $1M investment from Seed Commons. Obran Rising operates from the belief “that housing should be a human right” for everyone.

Joseph Cureton explains that “members have deepened their collective effort in the housing market to turn an extractive business model into an opportunity for collective wealth”. Therefore, all of the members of Obran Cooperative share control of the units as well as equity. Through Seed Commons’ investment, Obran Rising will be able to double their member-focused housing this year to ten units.

Congratulations on all your accomplishments Obran Cooperative! We love seeing your growth.

If you would like to learn more or to support any of the projects listed above click the links below

2020 BRED Recap

2020 BRED Recap

In so many ways, this has been a year (not) to remember. Even so, there have also been times that have made our mouths smile and our hearts fill with pride. So, we would like to take a moment and highlight the positive changes that happened for us and our family of projects during 2020.

Cooperatives have always been particularly adept at pivoting, but this year pivoting the ways of meeting and conducting business became essential. Many of our food sector co-ops, like Red Emma’s and Taharka Brothers, altered their operation models. They added home delivery and/or switched to take-out only. Likewise, Thread Coffee opted to close their cafe entirely and focus exclusively on wholesale and direct-to consumer sales. Mera Kitchen Collective, known for their catering, had to make a pivot as well. They teamed up with Alma Cocina Latina and World Central Kitchen to offer free meals. To date they have cooked and served over ninety thousand completely free meals to communities around the city.

We are happy to be able to say that all of our projects have been able to remain open in some capacity. Some projects were even able to see an uptick in business. For example, Baltimore Bicycle Works had an increase in bike sales; Taharka Brothers increased sales when the option of home delivery was added.

Changes within BRED itself also took place. As a technical assistance provider, not being able to be in close contact with our coops and visit them onsite was a big change. All of our meetings moved to Zoom. We streamlined our online disbursal and loan application process. And we learned a lot about how to effectively build and maintain close relationships in a largely digital space.

Our public programming and training moved online as well, and we offered two series of webinars this spring and summer: Introduction to Cooperative Conversions and Co-op 101. We’ve doubled down on these online training modules. Working with one of our staff members, we created self-directed digital versions of our Coop Jumpstart tools, which will be released in early 2021. Last, we welcomed a current project officer to our staff collective, and we hired a new full time staff member.

BRED took on several new projects this year in varying stages, from infancy to established. Some of our proudest moments are when we can help a traditional business transition to an employee own cooperative business. Three businesses went through this process with us this year: Taharka Brothers, Appalachian Field Services, and Joe Squared. We are so happy to welcome them into our cooperative family.

Last but not least, we brought new investment into Baltimore City! BRED made our first $1M investment this year, and surpassed $3M in non-extractive loans made over the last five years.

There is still a lot of work to do in the new year to dismantle the corporate world. We are proud to be a leader in creating a cooperative ecosystem in Baltimore and will continue to uplift this work and contribute to the community of Baltimore City. Happy New Year!

Please Visit Some of the Co-ops We Support:

Taharka Brothers Ice Cream www.taharkabrothers.com
Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse redemmas.org
ToBo Hair Salon https://www.vagaro.com/tobohairsalon
Thread Coffee threadcoffee.org
Volar www.volar.site
Cajou Creamery cajoucreamery.com
Baltimore Bicycle Works baltimorebicycleworks.com
The Greener Kitchen thegreenerkitchen.com
Mera Kitchen Collective www.mera.kitchen
Appalachian Field Services appalachianfieldservices.com
Joe Squared joesquared.com
Obran Cooperative obran.org
Montgomery County Taxi anytimeuniontaxi.com

Upcoming Supported Cooperatives:

Earthbound Building earthboundbuilding.com
Yeleen Beauty Makerspace http://sheayeleen.com
GRASS Baltimore

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.

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

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.