A & Associates members hope to start a cooperative bookkeeping company that serves Philadelphia’s cooperative businesses. The four members, Annette Griffin, Terry Summers, Kristina Griffin, and Jibrael Saifullah, are passionate about self-help and responsibility, community engagement, justice, and equity. They believe cooperative businesses are essential to building a better world and that the prospect of blending one’s passions with one’s craft gives new meaning to the word “work.”
A and Associates is a family-run study circle that is passionate about co-ops. “The study circle has been going great,” member Kristina Griffin shared. “Each time we meet, brainstorm and discuss makes the goal feel closer and closer.” Terry Summers, the group’s unofficial spokesperson, exclaimed, “I’m humbled by the opportunity to learn about the cooperative community. I’m feeling like this is a ‘FUBU time…For Us By Us.’ I’m so excited!”
“The time is right. The time is now. If not now, when? The vision is a better world for all. Cooperative businesses are not a new concept, but now is the time to make cooperative businesses the norm.”
— Annette Griffin
In their study circle, A & Associates has been following Cooperative Principle #6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives by reaching out to other worker-owned bookkeeping co-ops in Austin and New York City.
At their meeting on November 7, Annette, Terry, Kristina, and Jibrael video chatted with Annie Sullivan-Chin from A Bookkeeping Cooperative (ABC), a worker-owned bookkeeping co-op in New York City. Annie gave this advice to A and Associates: “you will always be figuring it out as you go, but plan ahead as much as possible.” Annie encouraged A and Associates to start figuring out and documenting their decision-making procedures, meeting frequency, bylaws and operating agreement, plan for profit sharing/patronage, and roles of individuals and committees. Annie shared that the most rewarding part of being a worker-owner at ABC was “making your living in a job rooted in social justice and building a business that is bigger than all of us and will outlive us.”
“The cooperative business ummah (community) is teaching me a full sense of people with the same goal to come together with the ability to own and operate a beneficial business while giving back to the community.”
— Jibrael Saifullah
At their October meetings, A & Associates members watched Own The Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time and discussed their values, which include collaborative communication, inclusive decision making, respect, and transparency.