Research|Action worked on five major projects last year, so let’s review.
We continued a project with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative’s Economic Democracy Learning Center, which is creating a curriculum and approach to nurturing cooperative values in 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 have worked 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 is serving as project evaluators through this year, and contributing collaboratively developed research that creates opportunities for organizational learning.
We began working as the project evaluator for the Georgia Cooperative Development Center, which has been running a training Academy for new cooperatives. This work will finish this year.
We also began working with the environmental group Earthworks to train them and partners groups on strategic corporate research and campaign planning.
And we’re excited to start 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. We have been interested in doing this research to help answer questions about what the best models are for the development of new worker cooperatives.
At the end of the year, as always, after accounting for all income and expenses, we democratically discussed what to do with our surplus. We retained some of it for expected expenses next year, and the rest was paid out to the members. This included an extra payment to one of our members to assist with their health care costs. This reflects our values of democratic decision making, equity and “to each according to their need.”
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!