2016 Solidarity Fund Recipients

Cooperation Richmond and Planting Justice! Comrades in the struggle for economic democracy!

Cooperative economies aren't created in a vacuum, nor do they take root without the participation of broader community involvement. Every year during the month of May, we ask our friends, families, and allies to become monthly contributing members of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and support the cultivation of the legal roots of just and resilient economies.

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Energy transition is inevitable, #PeoplePower is not.

There's not a day to waste. As we approach the summer of 2016, the pace of climate change and the shrinking window to halt it is alarming. But at the same time, the tireless work of defiantly hopeful activists and community members like you has also meant that we are closer today to a more inspiring solution to break free from an extractive economy: community-owned clean energy.

It is clear that every day counts in the shift to a regenerative economy, so at the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) we've expanded our effort to promote community energy. But we need your help to sustain our work. Donate now to help create people-powered economies where people own and control the energy they need!

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Forming a Worker Coop: LLC or Cooperative Corporation?

By Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Housing and Cooperatives Attorney

We want to create a worker cooperative…what legal entity should we form?

This is probably the most common question I hear at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafes. Lots of entrepreneurs come to us wanting to form a worker-owned business, but they are unsure what legal structure will work best for them. Are they required to form as a cooperative corporation? What if they’re not ready to incorporate yet? Can they form as an LLC or some other entity and still be a cooperative? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the entity options?

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How can people-powered solutions build community wealth?

We launched our #PeoplePoweredEconomies campaign exactly two weeks ago and the response has been incredible: $19,365 raised and our community of members has grown to over 150 people! This is what a people-powered economy looks like - resourcing our movements from the bottom up. Thank you to everyone who has pitched in already! If you haven’t yet, there’s still time - join us today and help us raise $30k in 30 days!

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Help Create People-Powered Housing!

At the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), we believe that housing should be a community asset and a human right, not a commodity on the speculative market. Skyrocketing housing costs are propelling more people into poverty than ever and displacing residents and local businesses, especially in communities of color. We need #PeoplePoweredEconomies where housing is sustainable, controlled by community, and affordable for every member of society. Learn more about SELC’s Housing Program here.

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#PeoplePoweredEconomies: It's time to change the rules!

When we started the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) almost seven years ago, it was inspired by the vision that communities everywhere should create and control the resources and relationships they need to live well. We've traveled a long way toward that vision since then, but wealth inequality, housing insecurity, and climate change certainly haven't gone away. It's time to change the rules. It's time for a People Powered Economy!
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CA Local Economies Securities Act Passes Through the Banking and Finance Committee -- Will Open Doors for Small Enterprises to Raise Capital

Contact: Christina Oatfield, (415) 8285627, Christina@theselc.org

OAKLAND, CA.— Sponsored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), the California Local Economies Securities Act (AB2751) passed through the CA Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. LESA will exempt certain securities offerings from California permit requirements, and therefore open doors to raising capital for a variety of enterprises necessary to the economic and ecological health of California, including small farms, agricultural land trusts, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations with business income, and renewable energy systems. It was introduced by Assemblymember Cheryl Brown.

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Are you as politically active as a 4th grader?

April’s always an exciting time for me! The legislative session is in full gear, which means that I’m engaging with partners and legislators and speaking up for policies to support stronger local food and agricultural economies. Earth Day is right around the corner and the spring rain reminds me that the seeds I’ve planted are ready to sprout.

Speaking of seeds, we recently had a hearing for our bill to protect seed sharing, the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act (AB 1810). It passed out of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, in part due to the work of these excellent advocates and official sponsors of the bill!

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SELC Policy Director Interviewed about Grassroots Finance and Farmland Programs

Christina_Oatfield_profile_picture.jpgIn anticipation of the Community Capital Conference coming up in Portland, Oregon, movers and shakers in the local economy and community investing realms are being interviewed about what they are looking forward to discussing and learning.

SELC's Policy Director Christina Oatfield spoke with Hatch Oregon's Hatch the Future podcast about our Grassroots Finance and Farmland programs, our Local Economies Securities Act legislation, the early development of SELC, and her own path to becoming a lawyer without going to law school.

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Party Like It's 990!

By Simon Mont, Legal Intern

On February 11, staff and volunteers of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) gathered to see just how much fun we could have engaging with IRS Form 990—a required filing for nonprofits. Below are 7 things we've learned about the 990, particularly for worker self-directed nonprofits. Read on!

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NEW REPORT RELEASED: How to equitably regulate Airbnb-style short-term rentals

San_Francisco_featured_image_SELC.pngIf you live in a fairly populous city, or you like to travel off the beaten path, you've probably heard of Airbnb-style short-term rentals (STRs). Residential housing that is rented for short periods of time, STRs were once a niche way to travel, but are now available for rent all over the world. 

The evolution of STRs is a success story for the many STR platforms that broker transactions between STR hosts and guests, but for cities and communities dealing with the adverse social and economic impacts of the activity, STRs pose a unique new challenge. 

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Resilient Communities Legal Cafe advises 500th Changemaker!

Our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe has been running since 2013, and last month, we served our 500th client! That means we’ve currently provided legal support for over 500 cooperatives, cottage food businesses, nonprofits, urban farms, social enterprises, and individuals working to build just and resilient economies. 

The People of Color Sustainable Housing Network came to a recent Legal Cafe, and shared their thoughts on the Cafe and their consultation:

Click to Watch Video

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Resilient Economy Lawyers Need Community Too

By Cameron Rhudy, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Staff Attorney

 

As a resilient economy lawyer, I focus on my community. I use legal tools to support the local production of food, energy, housing, and jobs in an effort to strengthen the local economy. And I help clients navigate the roadblocks local enterprises face when raising capital from the community. But just as my clients need a community of support to succeed, I as their lawyer also need a community of support - a community of other lawyers.

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Community Development and the Commons

By Chris Tittle, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) Director of Organizational Resilience

Last August, 200 people from across Oakland, California came together to envision and design a development plan for a small parcel of public land. For months leading up to that day, community members and neighborhood coalitions had been organizing against a controversial - and possibly illegal - plan to develop a luxury high-rise apartment complex on land owned by the City of Oakland, in a neighborhood where 75% of residents are low or very-low income and 75% are renters. Having succeeded in pressuring the City to back out of the initially proposed deal with UrbanCore Development through creative direct action and sophisticated community organizing, organizers with the E12th St Coalition wanted to create a visionary community-driven alternative - and the E12th WishList People’s Planning Forum was convened. On a sunny Sunday afternoon near Oakland’s Lake Merritt, hundreds of people shared their visions for what could be done with this public land - and not a single person envisioned a market-rate housing complex on that site.

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Berkeley Worker Cooperative Resolution Passes!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Berkeley Passes Resolution Supporting

Worker Cooperatives

 

BERKELEY, CA (February 9, 2016) — On Tuesday, the City of Berkeley made a bold proclamation in support of democratic and equitable workplaces, passing City Councilmember Jesse Arreguín’s “Resolution Supporting the Development and Growth of Worker Cooperatives.

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