1- Membership fees are an important source of income for cooperatives. Membership fees that are too high for members to pay all at once may be subsidized by a Co-op Fund of NE loan. Member fees that come in prior to operations should be put in an escrow account until all funds are committed and available.
2- Donations (from family friends, community)
3- Event fundraising
4- Grants
www.early childhoodfinance.org
5- On line funders
  • LikeMinded
  • Kickstarter
  • FundRazr
  • Chipin
6- Business profits when available

1- Preferred stock purchased by family, friends, community institutions.
2- Subordinated loans from members, family, friends, community institutions.
3- Cooperative Capital Fund www.cooperativefund.org New England and adjacent portions of New York State only

1- Community Loan Funds
2- Banks
  • Your local banks (often will lend only if the co-op has established a track record with a community lender, but it doesn’t hurt to try)
  • Amalgamated Bank Washington, DC 202-293-9800
  • CoBank www.cobank.com
  • National Cooperative Bank www.ncb.com
3- Government
  • Your local government
  • Your regional government
  • The federal government-- USDA Cooperative Development Division Washington, DC 202-690-2434
4- Sellers (occasionally, a building seller will extend credit to the purchaser much like a bank will)

Where to apply for funding

Financial Institutions, Funders and Lenders

Worker Ownership FundNational loan fund specifically for worker cooperatives

NCBNational Cooperative Bank

LEAFLocal Enterprise Assistance Fund: the only national fund that focuses its investment on worker cooperatives, in business since 1982.


both Occupy San Francisco and Occupy OC are setting up credit unions. http://occucopy.org/,http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150393701330817.352124.171020735816&type=3,http://peoplesreserve.com/, http://www.occupyfcu.org/

Paper on Crowd Funding for Worker Cooperatives

Here’s a chance to support your fellow worker cooperatives that are using crowdfunding to grow.
“Crowdfunding” is a way of using many small donations or loans to fund a project, usually via the internet, and it offers us an opportunity right now as worker cooperators to invest in and support one another’s projects

In that spirit, here are two active projects by USFWC that could use your support. Please consider supporting – and pass this info along to your coops and networks.
Red Emma’s in Baltimore is expanding!They’re raising $50,000 in donations: http://www.indiegogo.com/redemmas2Teamworks in San Jose is expanding!They’re raising a total of $10,000 in loans: https://zip.kiva.org/trustees/22/loans
The Teamworks loan is a partnership with kiva.org, for which the USFWC/DAWI is a Trustee Partner, which means we can support borrowers by providing them technical assistance and promoting their loans to our networks. If your cooperative is interested in working with us to post a project to Kiva, please get in touch!
Melissa Hoover, Executive Director
US Federation of Worker Cooperatives
PO Box 170701
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 379-9201


Our Simple FormulaKickstarter is a new form of commerce and patronage. In our world, the best way to inspire support is to offer people great rewards. Everyone loves limited editions, one-of-a-kinds, and fun experiences (parties, screenings, balloon rides!). Spend some time brainstorming your rewards and people will respond. No one needs another coffee mug.
Creative projects onlyKickstarter cannot be used to fund charity projects or causes. While there are countless causes worthy of support, we believe that creativity deserves its own space. See our guidelines for more.


The Catholic Campaign for Human Development :


CCHD’s economic development program provides grants to support the creation of jobs and just workplaces where low-income workers can participate in the economic life of society.

CCHD Grant Process And Timeline



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Dear friends and fellow cooperators,

I'm teaming up with a social entrepreneur friend of mine to launch a new co-op development project called Project Equity. Our first undertaking is a "Co-op Growth Consulting Prize." Please share this announcement - and the link below, which provides all the details - with any worker co-op in the Bay Area that is interested in growing with the help of co-op development and business advisors (namely, myself and Alison Lingane). We're offering pro bono consulting to the winner of this "prize" and we're hoping to drum up interest and as many applicants as possible in the weeks ahead. The application deadline is September 27th.


Hi Bay Area Cooperators!

I haven’t met many of you but hopefully will soon. I’m Steve Wong, a loan agent at The Working World, a community loan fund that invests in cooperatives. We’ve been in operation in Argentina and Nicaragua for eight years, and we just recently opened our offices in New York. From here, I hear about all sorts of amazing things going on out there and I am dying to meet all of you.

Since our move we’ve started a few large projects—most namely the New Era Windows cooperative—but we really want to bring our model of investment and cooperative support to as many as possible next year.

In order to do so, we’re running a campaign to raise money to bring on new team members, loan officers, and investment officers to continue to grow and manage our fund. We were hoping that you could help us spread the word about our campaign, particularly because a donor has graciously offered to double the next $5,000 in donations. You can see our campaign here: http://bit.ly/Rpo5Q3

We have impact investors and social investors ready to fund our projects, but we need to raise $20,000 to pay our investment officers and loan-agents to make it possible. Next year, we aim to make our fund self-sustainable, one step closer to making our model of finance available as an option to everyone.

Thank you and rock on!

Steve Wong
Loan-Agent & Communications
P: 408.219.0246

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Hi USFWC members,

Our DAWN advisors are working with Kiva Zip, the domestic project of the well-known international microfinance organization kiva.org, to help pilot a program to make small loans to worker cooperative projects. As a Trustee Partner, DAWN will endorse good borrowers to Kiva Zip and help them navigate the borrowing process.

We are looking for a few USFWC member cooperatives to be “pilot borrowers.” Is your coop seeking a loan or thinking about seeking a loan? Would your coop be interested in working with us as a pilot borrower to help us test out our process? Are you ready to be part of a learning process? If so, get in touch!

Loan terms:

- Loans are for up to $5,000 per cooperative business

- Term of the loan is 12 months

- The loan is interest-free during this pilot period (probably ending in late 2012)


- Your coop must have or be able to produce standard financial statements and projections.

- You should have a loan-worthy project in the works (new piece of equipment, marketing campaign, new line of products or services)

- At least one person in your cooperative must have good credit and be willing to “represent” the cooperative on the Kiva website

Please contact Melissa at melissa@usworker.coop for more information or to volunteer to be a pilot borrower.

Thank you!