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Grant Highlight: Center for Family Life

In Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a densely populated, low income neighborhood with a large percentage of recent immigrants, The Center for Family Life's (CFL) Cooperative Development Program (CDP) organizes community members to create worker-owned cooperative businesses with a mission of economic and social justice. CFL developed a Start-up Guide to share the tools and information developed over years of iteration and outcomes analysis with other cooperative organizers. With a grant from the Cooperative Development Foundation's Cooperative Education Fund, the guide is now available in Spanish.

Since 2006, CFL incubated more than 15 cooperative businesses, including Si Se Puede/We Can Do It, cleaning; Beyond Care, childcare; Golden Steps, elder care; Émigré Gourmet, catering; Trusty Amigos, dog walking and pet care; Maharlika, office cleaning; Sunset Scholars, tutoring; and NannyBee childcare. Through the CDP program, groups of workers receive technical assistance in the form of an initial intensive business and cooperative training series, followed by ongoing contracted technical support through the start-up years. The methodology goes beyond training for day-to-day business operations, and builds capacity for strategic goal-setting, performance data-tracking, and movement building.

CFL's work has been recognized across the U.S. and the organization frequently receives inquiries from groups interested in cooperative development in their communities. The Start-up Guide was developed in recognition of the need to share the tools and information in an easily accessible, digestible format. The guide was created for multiple audiences including individuals interested in starting their own cooperatives, organizers, national organizations focused on worker cooperatives, allies, and students.

"With funding from the Cooperative Development Foundation, the translation of CFL's Start-up Guide into Spanish will allow a new segment of the population, particularly immigrants and other Spanish-speaking groups, to access CFL's guidance on cooperative business development methodology, built and tested on more than a decade of learning and practical implementation experience," said Janna Cisterino, Grants Manager, CFL.

About the CDF Cooperative Education Fund

The CDF Cooperative Education Fund supports cooperative research, sponsors cooperative education events and scholarships, and develops cooperative education materials and programs. The Fund provides $90,000-$100,000 in grants, scholarships, and sponsorships annually. For more information about the fund or to apply for a grant, go to The deadline for the 2020 Spring grant cycle is May 1.

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