Join me in creating co-ops education for Denver's communities!

Dear followers,

I am delighted to share this one-page synopsis on my plans for a community-based educational series on the co-ops model for metro Denver.  Over the past year I have felt a strong sense of the need to spread education and training about co-op models among low-income urban communities, i.e. those who could most benefit from realizing the model in their own communities.  This is a gap I see in Denver's current "co-op ecosystem" and in bridging that gap, I hope to build overall capacity through increased collaboration between stakeholders toward more, and more successful, co-op development in the region.

This synopsis is meant as a one-page version of the proposal.  The full proposal is about 15 pages long.

I would be grateful to receive your feedback on the synopsis.  I am currently seeking matching funders for an upcoming crowdfunding campaign, and collaborator-partners in the curricula design, outreach and implementation.

What do you think?  Would you like to sign on to support?  Please leave comments below.  Thank you!

Synopsis: Co-ops Education for Denver Communities


This proposal involves producing a series of introductory educational trainings on the co-op model in diverse communities throughout the metro Denver area.  The series would be headed by Caroline Savery, an experienced co-op development consultant, facilitator and educator, plus with extensive engagement from both an array of co-op service providers and allied institutions (represented by the stakeholders at the table of the Community Wealth Building Network of Metro Denver), and through intensive collaboration with target community organizations.  The basic formula for the series is:


Fall/Winter 2015
  1. Build collaborative capacity with allied co-op support organizations and begin fundraising
  2. Begin relationship-building conversations with target community organizations
  3. Collaborate with an identified community leader in target community to design a custom Co-ops 101 workshop
Spring 2016
  1. Produce concurrent Co-ops 101 workshops and a Needs Assessment/”Co-opportunity Roadmap” session in each community
Summer 2016
  1. Provide thorough follow-up guidance to each community who received training, depending on their level of engagement (which may include additional trainings, establishing study circles, supporting working groups as needed, and “handing off” co-op entrepreneurs to the appropriate resources in the co-op ecosystem network).
  2. Complete report for funders and sponsors


The methodology for the series is informed by popular education models: community leaders in various neighborhoods and working on various issues that co-ops may address (such as: entrepreneurship among low-income populations, microfinance, workforce and job readiness, labor equity, self-help, economic empowerment, etc) will be engaged in a dialog and collaborative process to co-design unique Co-ops 101 trainings tailored to their member communities.  The series will center on the delivery of one custom-made Introduction to Co-ops presentation in each community, to be immediately followed by one discourse-based Needs Assessment and “Co-opportunity Roadmap” session to engage participants in directly exploring how the co-op model could meet their community’s needs.  While the introductory trainings will be unique to each setting (each documented for the sake of reporting), the Needs Assessment session will offer a consistent structure for the sake of evaluating and following up on the needs and activities emergent in each community.  In the months following these paired sessions, systematic follow-ups and connection with resources will occur based on each group’s level of engagement with the materials and process.  The goal is to produce at least eight and up to twenty such workshops in Denver communities.

The purpose of this series is to spread knowledge and training about the co-op model in the low-income, low-education communities who are poised to benefit the most from building co-op enterprises to meet their common needs.  Furthermore, by arranging a clear set of resource organizations and professionals at-the-ready to work with co-op entrepreneurs emerging from these sessions, we will support and foster ongoing co-op development while enriching the “co-op ecosystem” in the Denver region.  An outcome of this process will be further catalysis for comprehensive financial, political and social support for co-op development in the Denver area through championing grassroots, community-led co-op development initiatives for the purposes of community wealth-building and increased economic and social self-determination in struggling communities.

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