Evergreen Cooperatives offers inspiration for reducing racial wealth inequality through employee ownership

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An opinion piece on Generocity.org that’s focused on Philadelphia includes a look at the possibility of that city importing the “Cleveland model,” via Evergreen Cooperatives, of employee ownership as a way of reducing racial wealth inequality.

Guest columnist Sean Tamba-Matthew outlines actions “that can drive increased employee ownership for workers of color in Philadelphia and successful ownership transitions for the city’s minority-owned businesses,” according to the website, which describes itself as a “platform for social good” in Philadelphia.

Tamba-Matthew in the piece highlights ideas to drive increased employee ownership for workers of color in Philadelphia and successful ownership transitions for the city’s minority-owned businesses.” Among them: Bring the “Cleveland model” to Philadelphia.

From the piece:

Launched in Cleveland in 2008, Evergreen Cooperatives has become an innovative, global model for wealth development for economically disadvantaged workers. Evergreen leveraged the supplier/vendor needs of Cleveland anchor institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University to bring quality jobs to the residents of those institutions’ neighboring communities by having laundry and energy services provided by worker-owned cooperatives that employed residents of the area surrounding the institutions, which had a median household income of $18,500.

Evergreen has evolved to include a fund that invests in employee ownership transitions of local businesses to worker cooperatives. By building on the work of the Economy League, ImpactPHL, and other community organizations through the Philadelphia Anchors of Growth and Equity (PAGE) initiative, adopting a version of the “Cleveland Model” in Philadelphia that couples opportunity sourcing from Southeastern Pennsylvania’s anchor institutions and employee ownership through an ESOP-perative holding-company could be the catalyst for substantially reducing wealth inequality in our city’s poorest neighborhoods.

• The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm, compiled a list of the top-paid CEOs by state for 2020, and Ohio’s leader is Kevin Stein of Cleveland-based aerospace company TransDigm Group Inc. His total compensation for last year was $22.1 million, the AP and Equilar report, which is above the $12.7 million median pay for S&P 500 CEOs. The AP said its survey “considered only publicly traded companies with more than $1 billion in revenue that filed their proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and April 30.” It also included only CEOs who have been in place for at least two years, but it does not limit the survey to companies in the S&P 500, as the AP’s general compensation study does. To calculate CEO pay, Equilar adds salary, bonus, stock awards, stock option awards, deferred compensation and other components that include benefits and perks. Topping the list was a Californian Tony Xu of DoorDash, with total compensation of $413.7 million.

• The Wall Street Journal runs a charming obituary of an Akron native, Jim Clendenen, “who helped re-establish California’s Santa Barbara County as a wine-producing area and despised many of his state’s most successful wines.” (He called them “fruit bombs.”) Clendenen, who died this month at age 68, was “on track for law school in the mid-1970s,” the Journal says, “when a junior year abroad in France sent him in another direction, leading to a career as an influential winemaker.” In 1982, Clendenen co-founded the Au Bon Climat winery, known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He remained as that winery’s leader after his partner, Adam Tolmach, left in 1991. Clendenen was born in January 1953, in Akron. The Journal says his father, a chemical engineer, worked as an executive at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. His mother had been a teacher. The family moved to Cuyahoga Falls when Clendenen was small and to the Los Angeles area when he was about 15. A biographical note prepared by Au Bon Climat says that Clendenen was “born to gastronomically impoverished parents during the culinary Dark Ages of the American 1950s.”

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