December was an exciting month for the Sustainable Economies Law Center, as we brought together over 300 community members to celebrate the launch of two cooperatives. More than two years in the making, these cooperatives have been incubated and funded by the Law Center, and each now has a dynamic leadership team ready to welcome hundreds or thousands of members!
People Powered East Bay was a (sold out!) celebratory launch of East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative and People Power Solar Cooperative, two groundbreaking organizations engaging everyday people to co-own, develop, and steward our community’s critical assets: permanently affordable real estate and renewable energy.
East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EBPREC)’s director, Noni Sessions, kicked off the night by sharing her own story of growing up in West Oakland and seeing the city change. EBPREC facilitates black, indigenous, people of color and allied communities to cooperatively organize, finance, purchase, occupy, and steward properties, taking them permanently off the speculative market, thereby directly addressing the housing crisis and rapid gentrification of Oakland with a community-focused solution. Seventy eight guests became Investor Owners, pledging a total of $78,000 towards EBPREC’s first housing project at 789 61st Street! Additionally, 46 became Community Owners, electing to come together to help steer the change needed in the East Bay.
People Powered Solar Cooperative also saw great support from guests. People Powered Solar Cooperative engages everyday people in organizing, financing, and stewarding solar projects for long-term community ownership and democratic control. The cooperative already has it’s first site - the home of 'No Coal In Oakland' activist, Lora Jo Foo. People Powered Solar Cooperative was able to raise over $32,000 after the launch party!
The Law Center continues to work closely with each cooperative and hopes to incubate similar projects in 2019!