Entities that build mission into their ownership and governance structures prioritize people and planet as much or more than profit, and is more likely to stay mission-driven in the long run. Nonprofits or those with worker-ownership help democratize power and wealth, provide critical resources, and contribute to economic stability.
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are approximately 1.56 million nonprofits and they contributed an estimated $985.4 billion in the US economy in 2015. This comprises 5.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 8-12% of employment in our three states of California, Washington, and Oregon.
Cooperatives can play a critical role in building community wealth by reducing inequality, creating quality jobs, empowering individuals, and anchoring wealth to local communities. In 2015, there were over 64,000 cooperatives in the US, providing over 850,000 jobs across different types of cooperatives and different industry sectors.¹ And this does not even include housing cooperatives!
Yet, despite all the social and economic impact they bring, nonprofits and cooperatives have a very difficult time getting the funding they need to operate. Most banks and small lenders don’t provide loans or provide higher-cost loans, to nonprofits and cooperatives because they don’t understand their business models.