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Our Grants At Work On The Ground: Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives

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The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives (PCOC) is leading an inclusive and neighborhood based effort to provide more opportunities for residents and early stage businesses to explore the benefits of becoming cooperative businesses and to help them get established as cooperatives.

With a $15,000 grant from Neighborhood Allies, the PCOC is building working relationships with partners and allies concerned about equitable economic development with a special focus on forming cooperative business, assembling existing cooperative businesses and determining how best to develop the conditions for more cooperative enterprises.

Over the past year, the PCOC has engaged workers and business owners who are interested in a non-hierarchical enterprise–focusing on those who experience difficulty making a living wage, those locked into part-time employment, displaced workers, and minority businesses and tradesmen finding inadequate opportunities. Here are some of their highlights:

  • Hosted five Co-opoly nights to raise awareness of cooperative business in neighborhoods across the city
  • Conducted four cooperative workshops which provided education and information on everything from what a cooperative business is, scenarios of ownership, to the advantages and challenges of cooperatives and decision making in non-hierarchical organizations
  • Facilitated technical assistance from Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence’s Start-Up Seminar for their members

All of this is creating greater awareness of the benefits and opportunities of cooperative business and the potential they have to create greater opportunity for under-represented people in areas of large-scale economic development investment. Learn more about the PCOC and find ways to get involved!

“Our economic landscape is beset with practices that emphasize extraction of value from people, their communities, and the environment. The PCOC is not just about making more convivial businesses. It’s about creating jobs with many more advantages for the community, business, and worker.”

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