May marks our annual People Powered Economies membership campaign. During the month of May, we're sharing stories about how our work at the Sustainable Economies Law Center is building more just, resilient communities. If you ever wondered how your donations were making an impact or why you should become a supporter of our work, read on to learn about our partnership with Prospera building resources for immigrant-owned cooperatives! If you like what you read, please join us today!
Prospera is the only nonprofit in the U.S. that focuses solely on developing and launching cooperative businesses owned by Latina immigrant women. Worker cooperatives have a long history as a strategy for economic self-sufficiency, especially for low-income communities and communities of color. For immigrant communities, worker-owned cooperatives create economic stability and self-determination in a climate that is increasingly hostile to immigrant workers. Since 1995, Prospera has been supporting immigrant-owned cooperatives that, on average, have tripled worker’s individual incomes, enabled workers to build assets by increasing their initial investments 22 times over, built community leadership, and rewarded workers based on their labor contribution - not their financial contribution.
Founded in 1995, Prospera has been partnering with Latina entrepreneurs to build cooperatively owned businesses. But when they were looking to support their entrepreneurs with a flat business structure that would meet the needs of their member, they hit a wall. Some immigrant-owned cooperatives with old, hierarchical management and governance structures were seeing a rise in internal conflict, putting members at risk. That’s when Prospera reached out to the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
“The Law Center is an important ally for the Latina immigrant entrepreneurs that Prospera partners with. They provide much needed legal support for cooperatives and we are excited to be expanding our collaboration. That way, many more aspiring immigrant coop owners can access reliable legal support, especially in the current anti-immigrant climate.”
- Maria Rogers Pascual, Executive Director, Prospera.
Last year, the Law Center partnered with Prospera to support their cooperative business incubation program. Our Executive Director, Janelle Orsi, worked in conversation with the founding members of a paleteria cooperative to create an operating agreement that responded to their specific values, circumstances, and the needs of the business itself. The tool that was developed: a cartoon operating agreement that helped explain complex legal issues in an accessible, culturally relevant way. This type of tool could only have been created through a collaborative, client-centered relationship, and is now on our website to download for free!
This is what we do at the Sustainable Economies Law Center: we build replicable, accessible, and culturally relevant materials for each client and community we work with. But we can’t do this without your financial support.
Create more Spanish and Tagalog language legal tools;
Host free, Spanish-language cooperative legal advice sessions;
Facilitate Spanish and Tagalog workshops on how to start and run worker-owned enterprises;
Interview existing immigrant cooperatives to assess legal, business, and financial needs; and
Recruit and train Spanish-speaking legal professionals to be part of a cooperative attorneys network.
Will you join me and the Law Center as we build resources for immigrant communities?