Our mission is to provide direct support for worker-owned cooperative development in Southern Illinois, including educational, financial, technical assistance, and other relevant services.
Since the Spring of 2019, we have been building the roots for a new form of life in our town and region. We’ve faced many obstacles, built many relationships, and have celebrated a few successes. The worker cooperative team was born from the peoples' movement, Carbondale Spring. The volunteers, board, and staff have taken the following steps to establish necessary infrastructure and technical assistance for greater economic freedom and autonomy.
Carbondale Spring - New Way of Living
A Chamber of Cooperation - Cooperation Among Cooperatives; the process of organizing individuals into cooperatives, and cooperatives into a supportive network in order to centralize technical assistance.
The Rochdale Principles lay the foundational values that guide how we plan to serve clients. We will plan to frequently meet and facilitate training with national cooperative leaders.
Co-leadership looks like: training the trainers to lead and assist the team as we grow together. We are developing the local technical assistance acumen required in transitioning small business to Employee-Ownership.
In 2022 we have aspirations to partner with non-extractive lending organizations such as Seed Commons,
The SICBF team will provide the resources for individuals and teams to chart their course to worker-ownership; helping to coordinate funding, facilitate discussions, and assist the new client cooperatives who will be served by the Chamber.
Two major observations are made.
Social Capital - Seed Commons, a national network of lenders, has created an alternative banking model to demonstrate accessible lending practices rooted in terms of Social Capital. Employee owners must prove an investment of productive social engagement leveraging their own social networks. The Mondragon Model of Worker-Cooperatives provides a system of supporting local people’s basic needs. The founding goals of the revolving loan fund would, in-turn, prioritize the client’s growth over private profit. The criterion will evaluate a coop’s “social capital.”
We have established a Board of Directors to oversee the following processes of a revolving loan fund,
We will seed worker cooperative start-ups and grow employee ownership in the Region by offering Financial Guidance. To assist with the process will require the formation of a Chamber of Cooperation for Technical Guidance and skill-sharing. The Cooperative Business Incubator to provide coaching through Project Management and facilitate a variety of technical resources for Employee-owner Education and Individual development.
"We strive to realize our dream of creating an intricate network of detachable cooperative supply chains that can anchor our local community and meet the basic needs for all people." In Loving Memory ~ Chuck Paprocki
What is Social Capital?