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History of the DC Cooperative Stakeholders (Group)

The “DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group” began convening in fall of 2016, as a volunteer group of citizens, community leaders, business people, non-profits, and local government officials, in response to an invitation by the Office of Innovation & Equitable Development, a part of the DC government’s Department of Small & Local Business Development.

The group sought to make it easier for interested parties (e.g. entrepreneurs, financial organizations, co-op support organizations and potential customers) to connect. 

It also began exploring actions the city could take to better serve cooperative businesses.

The Department of Small and Local Business Development for the city of Washington, D.C., convened a "cooperative stakeholders group" starting December, 2016.

The goal was to identify ways to support the formation and growth of cooperatively owned businesses within the city.

Late 2016

Between 2016 and 2018, the Stakeholders met on a monthly basis, with the convening support of the Department of Small & Local Business Development.

Early-Mid 2017

Group Kickoff

Members: Philip Sambol, Harold Pettigrew, Jennifer Byrant, Jim Johnson, Elijah Hope, & Rodney North

The mission was to create the first co-op business development center focused specifically on opportunities within the District of Columbia.

View Late 2017

Interim Steering Committee

In 2018, the Stakeholders Group took significant steps towards creating an Interim Steering Committee to guide its work moving forward, including planning for an eventual election of a Board of Directors and creation of a sustainable organization (structure to be...

ViewJune 30, 2019

Interim Recruitment Committee

Committee Members: Katherine Richardson, Bruce Reynolds, Jim Johnson, Ron Hantz, Lolita Ratchford, Justin Franks, Emily Sladek Budget drafted with support from Philip Sambol...

ViewAugust 14, 2018

In 2018, the group reviewed its mission and pivoted to take a broader ecosystem approach.

Our mission is to create a nurturing co-op ecosystem in the District that supports the vitality and growth of all types of existing co-ops and the successful launch of new co-ops.

We prioritize co-op opportunities within communities who traditionally have been economically and politically marginalized.

We seek to weave a strong web of supportive relationships among all stakeholders, including every type of cooperative, supporting institutions and the city government.

Late 2018
The group successfully continued to self-organize for two years, and meetings were convened and hosted at many various stakeholder locations.

DC Co-op Day 2019

On October 26, 2019, DC Co-op Day brought together the...

View EventApril 19, 2024

After continuing to self-organize for two years, the group began convening with the support of Innovation & Equitable Development (Inno.ED)

Mid 2020

The DC Cooperative Stakeholders Group had a retrospective meeting welcoming long-time cooperators and curious newcomers to determine the future of the group.

View Meeting Notes Late 2020

Stakeholders remain active in policy efforts


Accomplishments include:

  • Bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders to create a shared vision and mission statement;
  • Establishing a Recruitment Committee and developing nine Interim Steering Committee positions with role responsibilities and preferred qualifications/experience;
  • Creating a budget for all positions for a DC Co-op Development Center;
  • Organized a DC Co-op Day 2019 with over 75 attendees discussing the long and rich history of cooperative organizing in DC, and deep diving into how to start and finance worker-owned, housing and food cooperatives.
  • Convening for over 4 years to grow co-op ecosystem awareness, advocacy, and development efforts
  • Formed a subcommittee around policy advocacy to further drive forward legislation for a co-op friendly business framework in DC.
  • Helped connect numerous local co-ops with funding opportunities and connect them to technical assistance

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