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Invest in the Evergreen Cooperatives

The Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund, LLC provides an investment vehicle to support a new model of community economic development. Central to the Evergreen model is the idea that truly sustainable community economic development requires the creation of viable businesses broadly owned by community residents who can generate profits that can be recycled to catalyze further business opportunities and local wealth creation. 

The Fund’s founding partners include The Cleveland Foundation, Shorebank Enterprise Cleveland, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (Kent State University), The Democracy Collaborative (University of Maryland), and The National Development Council.

The Fund targets its investments at start-up Cleveland-based employee-owned companies, with a focus in underserved industries and neighborhoods. The first set of target neighborhoods will be those within the city’s Greater University Circle area. The goals of the Fund’s investments are to:

  1. provide employment and ownership opportunities for low-income Cleveland residents;
  2. meet the business needs of area hospitals, universities, and other leading nonprofit anchor institutions; and
  3. empower the achievement of sustainability objectives of area anchor institutions and the city, county, and state governments. By providing equity or equity-like financing, the Fund indirectly makes traditional debt financing more available to these companies as well.

In addition to the economic returns to Fund investors, the Fund also aims to achieve the following social goals:

  • Creating new, living wage jobs for neighborhood residents;
  • Anchoring capital within poor neighborhoods to jumpstart more local economic activity;
  • Promoting asset accumulation for low- and moderate-income residents;
  • Building viable, locally-owned economic enterprises that can help stabilize the neighborhoods;
  • Ensuring income diversity and permanent housing affordability in the area.