Research Action 2023 Year in Review

Research Action worked on projects supporting a more equitable economy and a greener world in 2023, and we finished up several. Let’s review.

We finished a project with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative’s Economic Democracy Learning Center, which has been creating a curriculum and approach to nurturing cooperative values in public schools and youth groups. The community-based nonprofit sees education at all levels as an essential part of the movement to build an equitable, sustainable, and democratic local economy that creates wealth and ownership for low-income people of color.

We wrapped up working for three years with the Central Brooklyn Food Democracy Project, which seeks to create good jobs and access to healthy food for Central Brooklyn residents through a consumer owned, Black-led cooperative grocery store and worker owned food enterprises. Research Action served as evaluators through the project, and contributed collaboratively developed research that created opportunities for organizational learning. The project has incubated several worker cooperatives and is working toward opening the food coop soon.

We also finished serving as the project evaluator for the Georgia Cooperative Development Center, which has been running a training Academy for new cooperatives.

We concluded working with the environmental group Earthworks to train them and partner groups on strategic corporate research and campaign planning. The training event drew over a dozen folks from a coalition of groups.

And we’ve continued working on a huge new project funded by the Kauffman Foundation. We have a 3-year grant to compare entrepreneur support organizations that help worker cooperatives and single founder businesses to identify the most effective approaches to aiding the firms and what they might learn from one another. Our previous work as coop development project evaluators got us interested in doing this research to help answer questions about what the best models are for incubating successful new worker cooperatives.

At the end of the year, as always, after accounting for all income and expenses, we democratically discussed the coop’s finances. All our project work gets paid at different rates, depending on what we have negotiated with clients. That leaves the question about what to pay for the cooperative’s “administrative” work, such as attending our biweekly meetings, working on the website and financial accounting, etc. Last year we decided to increase our payments for administrative work to $20/hr, from $15/hr.

Please see our Projects page for more information about our work. If anyone wants to discuss a potential project, please let us know. Moreover, we always want to help others think about forming their own research collectives, and we’re happy to discuss how we started and run ours, so let us know if you want to talk!