Emma is the Co-Director of the Cooperative Development Program at the Center for Family Life (CFL) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn which develops women-led immigrant cooperatives, including Si Se Puede Women’s Cleaning Cooperative, Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative and seven others whose services range from elder care to office cleaning to tutoring to pet care to guerrilla marketing to catering to handywork. CFL is a founding member of the NYC Worker Cooperative Coalition, and works with over 180 members in the eight cooperatives. Emma also collaborates with the Worker Owned Rockaways Cooperatives (WORCs) project, rebuilding the peninsula with cooperative development after Hurricane Sandy. Previously she spent 4 years in Nicaragua founding and directing an office of the cooperative finance fund, The Working World. Emma is undertaking a master’s degree in Social Economics and Cooperative Business at Mondragon University in Spain.
Scaling Cooperatives through Platforms?
With nine years of experience organizing worker cooperatives in low-income communities, we have a strong proof of concept that cooperatives can be a tool for profound social and economic empowerment and transformation in the lives of their members. Now the question is can that experience be scaled, while maintaining its fundamental values and holding on the transformational nature of the experience. It’s a daunting question, but we think that platforms may play a role in the answer. The talk will focus on CFL’s experience with cooperative development and new initiatives under development to approach the question of scale and sustainability with values.