LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Sustainable Co-operative Economies & Community Empowerment

Collective REMAKE will work with partners to expand Co-operative Education and Development (CEAD) programming with systems impacted communities in South Los Angeles. Co-operative philosophy is aligned with the values of democracy, equity, equality, self-reliance, self-responsibility, and solidarity. Through participatory CEAD workshops, a Co-op Business Development mentorships, and a Train-the-Trainers program, we are building an eco-system of co-op economic development, inclusive support systems, and sustainable healing communities.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

LA County runs the largest jail system in the world currently holding 14,000 people. Black people are 8% of the County population, yet 30% of the jail population. 30% of the people in California's state prisons are from Southern California. In effect,1000s of people return home every month from prison or jail to communities that are economically and environmentally disenfranchised. Since Covid 19 hit, the unemployment and underemployment rates in the Black communities, in South Los Angeles is double and sometimes triple compared predominantly white communities. Opportunities to find sustainable work are few. Racism in the job market is prevalent, even for those without a criminal record. The lack of housing, economic support, job opportunities and wrap-around services raise insurmountable barriers. A large percentage of those coming home from lock-up will be homeless or end up back in prison or jail. Co-operatives offer a sustainable economic, social, and environmental alternative.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

LA2050 funds will partially match 1st year funding from CFCI, 23/24, enabling us to sustain a new staff position and expand CEAD programming in South Los Angeles in collaboration with the Reverence Project and Nearby Consulting. Programs include Introduction and Advanced workshops, a Co-op Development Program, and a Train-the-Trainers Program. Participants learn about the Cooperative Principles and Values; History or Cooperatives; Practicing Democracy; Just Transition, and cooperative business planning. Those who complete the introduction workshops can train to become co-facilitators for future workshops. We embed inclusive participatory practices in all programming to support the potential for everyone to understand the context of their struggles, assess their independent and collective assets, and work for the good of the whole. Strategies are aligned with the dialogical pedagogy of Palo Freire, consciousness raising strategies, the popular education model developed by the Highlander Center, and contemporary liberatory design. We will build a Wellness Hub to implement wholistic support systems and restorative justice processes. Additionally, we will work with community partners to build on our social co-operative/enterprise model inspired by the social cooperatives in Europe that provide support services for and engage people from vulnerable populations with varying capacities in dignified work and community, including prisoners and former prisoners.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Since 2016, Collective REMAKE has been laying the groundwork to support cooperative development and wholistic communities with systems impacted people. OUR VISION: In 2026, Collective REMAKE and partners open the first CEAD Center in South L.A. where with support collective members, worker-owners, agency leaders, and co-operative partners. There are computer labs, classrooms, art studios, green space, gardening projects, a graphic design enterprise and more. Support HUBS include: 1) Administrative, Development & Technical; 2) Business, Finance & Legal; 3) Cooperative Education; 4) Health & Wellness; and 5) Marketing and Promotion. A growing network of sustainable businesses are owned and run democratically by systems impacted people and meeting the needs of the community. Businesses may include: urban garden beautification projects, organic food markets, recycling projects, a reuse center, a bakery, arts and crafts, media center, and a thrift store.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

There will be a number of measurable outcomes: - There will be a growing co-operative leadership team building a unified vision and supporting operations, development and programming. - Through innovative participatory evaluation strategies, there will be evidence of the value of inclusive dialogical education programs that give voice and promote the values of democracy, equity, equality, self-reliance, self-help, and solidarity demonstrated - There will be an organized office to support workspace for 2- 3 workers/staff and meeting spaces. - There will be a Wellness Hub demonstrating value of restorative justice programming for staff, participants and community partners. - There will be increased engagement with participants impacted by incarceration - There will be a growing number of co-operative enterprises in development. - There will be increased partnerships with community organizations, churches, reentry agencies and liberation advocates.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 60

Indirect Impact: 600

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

The Reverence Project will support Collective Remake in implementing CEAD Programming in South Los Angeles. They will attend monthly strategy meetings and provide consultation, community outreach, promotion as well as support restorative justice facilitation. Nearby Consulting will support development and implementation of advanced CEAD curriculum and co-op business development strategies. They will support the development of a Coop Business Hub, provide consultation to develop internal procedures and democratic operations as well as facilitation for annual strategy meetings. Kruti Parekh will support development of a Wellness Hub focused on Restorative Justice Processes. She will support transformative justice programming, facilitation, coaching and capacity building of the team.