Giving Compass' Take:
- The Vermont Solidarity Investing Club makes all of its investments in co-ops to empower worker-owned cooperative decision-making.
- How can donors invest in cooperatives that uphold power-sharing models?
- Read how a co-op model can advance racial equity.
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Earlier this year, the Vermont Solidarity Investing Club hosted its fifth annual meeting to take stock of its assets, including investments in a Vermont-based grocer, a pickling company in Massachusetts, and a restaurant group from Colorado. But unlike traditional investment clubs, VSIC’s 27 members have made all of their investments in co-ops.
To date, VSIC’s 27 members have invested more than $60,000 in nine different businesses and funds, making it a sort of co-op for co-ops. “Our distinction is our focus specifically on investing in cooperatives,” says Matthew Cropp, chair of VSIC.
VSIC was founded in 2016 and is incorporated as a limited liability company, rather than a cooperative corporation.
That said, in the co-op tradition, the club governs itself on a one-member, one-vote basis when it comes to decision-making. Each member owns a portion of the LLC, which they contribute $20 to $200 on a monthly basis. Investment decisions are made at quarterly in-person meetings or between meetings using the online voting platform Loomio.
The largest of VSIC’s current investments is in the Cooperative Fund of New England, which loans money to co-ops, democratic worker-owned businesses, and community organizations, and — like VSIC — is not incorporated as a co-op per se, but operates on consensus decision-making.
VSIC also invests in other cooperative funds and financial institutions, like the Kachuwa Impact Fund and the Vermont State Employees Credit Union, but its portfolio includes retail and wholesale businesses too, such as City Market and the worker-owned cooperative Real Pickles.
Read the full article about solidarity investing in co-ops by Arvind Dilawar at Shareable.