Donate Mission The Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center UCELC is a grassroots nonprofit with a mission to create and support cooperative enterprises within low and moderate income communities in order to promote economic, social, and ecological sustainability. VISION The Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center started out from a plan to provide alternatives to communities that have long been neglected by mainstream economic and political systems, such as the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated, the urban youth, the immigrant, the unemployed, the impoverished, and anyone who finds that the current systematic frameworks fail to meet their basic needs.
By combining economic development with social and ecological development, the Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center creates and supports a new form of enterprise that is both sustainable and effective at making self-sufficient low and moderate income communities.
This is especially important where traditional funding to nonprofits have dwindled. Reduced Fee-for-Service Model "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. UCELC aims to build and be a part of a sustainable economy where participants exchange, share, and pool resources together in order to sustain each other's work. This includes instituting a reduced fee-for-service model that will sustain the work of UCELC and ultimately that of its clients, and the broader cooperative economy. What are Cooperative Enterprises? Cooperative Enterprises are entities that promote local sustainabiliy by operating on a communal or cooperative basis.
This is a grassroots approach to building an economy that allows for social and economic productivity in low and moderate income communities through the pooling of resources for mutual aid. Essentially, cooperative enterprises democratize community economic development by providing a tool for those that use the goods and services produced by a company to also collectively own such goods and services as shareholder or member.
For instance, worker cooperatives are corporations that are owned and controlled by its workers where workers receive wages in addition to profits in the form of patronage profit based on participation, such as labor hours. Grassroots Financing Grassroots financing is an investment alternative to traditional investment options that makes it easier for cooperative enterprises to acquire financial capital because it includes a broad range of "unsophisticated" investors, such as local members of the community.
For instance, a direct public offering DPO is an alternative to the initial public offering IPO , an investment option reserved for more "sophisticated or accredited investors," namely having a net worth of millions of dollars. As such, those of low and moderate income would not qualify for this type of investment. On the other hand, DPOs allow every-day people to invest in local businesses, including customers, neighbors, and other local supporters. Thus, the DPO would be a feasible medium for raising funds for cooperative enterprises within low and moderate income communities.
Time-banks are an example of an alternative economy because they rely on the exchange of services rather than on money or credit exchanges. They allow for community members to exchange with one another through their talents, crafts, and skills when money is low.
Some community purposes include acquiring and managing land for affordable housing and urban agriculture , such as the development of community gardens and urban farms. Thus, community land trusts are great tools for making low and moderate income communities productive.