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Grant Highlight: Detroit Community Wealth Fund's Co-op Academy

With support from the Cooperative Development Foundation's Cooperative Education Fund, Detroit Community Wealth Fund (DCWF) launched a 10-week co-op academy designed to support a cohort of cooperative development projects and prepare them to become loan ready.

"Our goal for this co-op academy is to support groups who are in the start-up phase of their businesses to develop their business literacy, learn about the history of cooperatives, how cooperatives are managed, and to deepen their business planning", said Margo Dalal, Executive Director, Detroit Community Wealth Fund.

16 participants from eight groups participated in the first academy. Training included a component on business development, including feasibility, marketing, consumer relationships and a cooperative business component including entity structures and taxes, governance and management, conflict resolution. DCWF, a member of the Seed Commons Community Wealth Cooperative, utilized other network members and online resources to create their curriculum and empower innovative historically marginalized Detroiters.

Since the inaugural co-op academy in Fall 2019, several cohort members have taken advantage of DCWF's post academy project development allowing them 15 hours of one-on-one time with a loan coach. Currently one project is on track to receive a loan from the Detroit Community Wealth Fund. A second academy is scheduled for the Fall of 2020.

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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