Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) strives to build a more just local economy through the deepening and expansion of democratically-owned businesses, aka cooperatives. We particularly prioritize building cooperatives in historically marginalized communities, from whom wealth has been stolen from. In the United States this extraction predominantly falls across racial lines. We grow the cooperative economy because we believe in its power to build racial justice, wealth equity, and community control.
In order to expand the Philadelphia cooperative ecosystem, we need to build supportive industry expertise. Professionals and practitioners, regardless of industry, rarely learn about cooperative enterprises; let alone on how to support their specific needs in environments which create barriers to the co-op’s success. By skilling-up and skill-sharing with industry professionals, whether they be lawyers, accountants, business developers, designers, artists, funders, and so on, we can transform our environment into being coop friendly. Furthermore, we can build an ecosystem of mutual re/generation and growth.
This program will benefit the co-op ecosystem, as well as the participants. Attendees will be connected to one another, with opportunities for continued contact and collaboration. Also, our aim is to refer our members to participants – as members seek services and attendees have grown in understanding the needs of cooperatives.
Throughout 2023, we will host monthly clinics with practitioners and professionals. These sessions will discuss the importance of cooperatives and the cooperative economy and ecosystem we aim to cultivate together. The sessions will be divided into individual industries, in order to concentrate focus. The participants will meet twice, with one month in-between sessions. In our groups, we will discuss why individual industry practitioners are critical to the success of the cooperative economy, and together we will investigate the best methods for our collaboration. In the sessions we will also study the specific issues which cooperatives generally face, as well as those which the industry can address in their work. In the sessions there will be two facilitators: one PACA cooperative developer and one industry practitioner with cooperative experience. These clinics will be at no cost to the participants. However, we ask that participants commit to attending both sessions, as best they can. These sessions will be on Zoom, throughout the duration of 2023.
We will kick-off this Community of Practice series with sessions open to cooperative-interested lawyers. The first session will happen in the latter half of January and the second session in March. In February and April, our sessions will be for cooperatives-curious accountants and bookkeepers. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this form: Community of Practice Sessions 2023. You will be contacted for a brief zoom check-in on why you want to join the series. If you have any questions, please contact Corey Reidy at: firstname.lastname@example.org.