North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship

What is the North Star?

The North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship (North Star) is a six-month fellowship focused on Black American Cooperative Economics. The North Star is centered on the history of Black cooperative economic thought and practice. We place priority on applicants who share the ancestry of Enslaved Africans in the United States and place value on their legacy of cooperative economics and collective care.

The 2021 North Star Fellowship is a special edition focused on housing cooperatives & land trust and other community owned land models. The 2021 North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship is a five-month fellowship focused on Black American Cooperative Economics. North Star is centered on the history of Black cooperative economic thought and practice. Our 2021 North Star Fellowship will focus on housing cooperatives and land trust models for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. As a cohort, fellows will explore the power and landscape of resident-controlled community ownership models that are permanently affordable and provide dignified housing options for our communities. We are forming a cohort of fellows that have a vision of collective living, permanently affordable, and community-controlled land and co-operative housing that will provide a space for our communities to have access to spiritual, cultural, and economically sound options.

The North Star teaches Black Cooperative Economic local and national history, analyzes and rethinks capitalism, and supports and networks new black coop enterprises and their leaders. 

As a cohort, fellows explore and receive:

  • A power and landscape analysis of Minnesota cooperative and financial institutions
  • Cooperative skills and tools
  • Access to financing opportunities
  • Coaching on identifying and targeting cooperative business boards to build power in the cooperative sector
  • Support in designing and creating a strategy for a cooperative economic project

Why the North Star?

Black Economic cooperation has been foundational in the Black American freedom movement, from the underground railroad, to later funding and supporting movement organizers and spaces. 

“African Americans have a long, rich history of cooperative ownership, especially in reaction to market failures and economic racial discrimination. However, it has often been a hidden history and one obstructed by White supremacist violence. When there is a narrative, the history is told as one of failure. The challenges have been tremendous, and have often been seen as insurmountable. The successes are often anecdotal and isolated, little understood, and even less documented […]”
—Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice

Who Participates in the North Star?

People who are interested in learning and reclaiming the history of the descendants of Enslaved Africans’ cooperative economic legacies to understand and bolster Black economic cooperation today. We are looking for those who have been dreaming about or already belong to a Black led cooperative and are accountable to the diverse Black communities in the Twin Cities. Although not required, we encourage groups of people who are working to launch a Black led cooperative initiative to apply. Those who have been dreaming about belonging to or launching a Black led cooperative and are accountable to the diverse Black communities in the Twin Cities.

For More Information

Please contact the North Star Director, Danielle Mkali, if you have any questions or for more information at dmkali@nexuscp.orgRegister to receive updates about upcoming North Star events.