The Atlanta-based Kendeda Fund has announced grants totaling more than $24 million in support of four organizations working to expand alternative models of democratic employee ownership in different regions of the country.
The multiyear grants will help the organizations transition more than a hundred businesses whose owners are retiring to employee ownership, with the aim of preserving the businesses, improving job quality, addressing the racial wealth gap that divides American communities, and promoting impact investment opportunities in communities where such opportunities can have the most impact. Grant recipients include the Fund for Employee Ownership at the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation in Cleveland, which will work to transition small manufacturing and service businesses in Northeast Ohio that provide goods and services to the region's anchor institutions; the ICA Group in Northampton, Massachusetts, which will support business conversions in the homecare and childcare industries in Massachusetts and New York; Nexus Community Partners, in St. Paul, Minnesota, which will focus its efforts on businesses in industry sectors most likely to employ people of color, including manufacturing, construction, and healthcare services; and Project Equity in the Bay Area, which will work to expand business transitions within the manufacturing sector, triple-bottom-line companies, and businesses with a frontline workforce.
"Small businesses are the backbone of local economies. They ensure that communities are vibrant, retaining the wealth they generate, and are resourceful in hard times," said Diane Ives, the Kendeda Fund advisor overseeing the grants. "Together, the Fund for Employee Ownership, the ICA Group, Nexus Community Partners, and Project Equity are shaping the future of business ownership in America and transforming how the public and private sectors — including investors — approach small business succession, retention, and legacy preservation."
(Photo credit: ICA Group)