East Side Community Investment Cooperative Launched by Local Partners

An investment cooperative provides the opportunity for individual residents to engage in local real estate development at a smaller resource level while having a positive impact on their community and building long-term wealth. It also provides for meaningful development to happen that meets the needs and interests of the local community.

The East Side Community Investment Cooperative initiative is a project stemming from the values of anti-displacement, neighborhood self-determination, local ownership, and keeping affordable rental possible for both businesses and residents. Faced with an incoming wave of rising rents and investment-driven gentrification and displacement, several East Side community groups have come together to create a movement to collectivize community assets through a cooperative investment project. The intent is to facilitate local business and neighborhood preservation through collective investment by and for neighborhood members.

The initiative is being led by four community organizations: the Greater East Side Community Council, East Side Neighborhood Development Company, East Side Area Business Association, and the East Side Freedom Library, with The ESABA Charitable Foundation as the fiscal sponsor.

In 2022, The East Side Cooperative Initiative launched a year-long education and organizing effort to clarify community needs and desires leading to the launch of an investment cooperative. Investment cooperatives allow individual residents to invest smaller dollar amounts alongside others to realize shared development goals. It democratizes community development by providing a mechanism for all to participate and benefit, rather than leaving it to large, single owner developers, who often have no connection to the local communities.

In 2023, The East Side Community Investment Cooperative initiative finalized its draft Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and now in 2024 will formally incorporate as a cooperative. A board of directors will be named, and shares will be defined for members as investors. They held several community events, and completed their first financial modeling workshops to better understand how all the moving pieces in a commercial real estate purchase would work using real life examples from the East Side.  Also in 2024, they will launch a membership drive to attract local residents and business owners as investors and identify the first investment property. Dedicated staff will be retained to organize in the community, attract investors and manage the administrative functions of the Cooperative.

Rooted Philanthropic provided two years of funding in 2022 and 2023 to support the development and launch of the East Side Community Investment Cooperative.

“This co-op is a way for East Siders to join the effort to invest in the neighborhood. It will create a new avenue for people to have a say and especially to prioritize projects that matter to the people who live and work here through something that we own and control together.” Paris Dunning, East Side Area Business Association

Photos courtesy of ESABA and the East Side Community Investment Cooperative