The Nexus Worker-Ownership Initiative and Kendeda’s radical grant making strategy was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy! The excerpt on Worker Ownership is below and you can read the full article here.
“Some grant makers, including the Kendeda Fund, which was founded by Diana Blank, the former wife of Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, have made grants to organizations that give workers more say in running the companies that employ them.
The Kendeda Fund has committed more than $24 million to groups trying to increase the number and awareness of worker- owned companies, such as Evergreen Cooperative Laundry.
In August, Kendeda committed more than $24 million to four such organizations: the Fund for Employee Ownership, which buys companies from retiring baby boomers and coverts them to worker-owned outts; the ICA Group, which will support conversions to employee ownership in the home-care and child-care industries; Nexus Community Partners, which will work to promote conversion to employee ownership in industry sectors likely to employ people of color, and Project Equity, which works to raise awareness about employee ownership.
Making those changes in a few select business sectors is minor compared to the task of securing shifts among publicly traded companies that do business in the global market, admits Diane Ives, Kendeda’s adviser for people, place, and planet. Currently only about 450 worker-owned cooperatives exist in the United States. But, she says, the number of startups and business conversions is growing. She hopes Kendeda’s grants can help build a network of worker-owned businesses that advocate for employee-friendly regulations and that distribute profits to employees and benefit the cities where they work.
“There are a lot of motivations for running a business. Profit is not the only one,” she says. “Transitioning to employee ownership allows a business owner to tap into some of those other values, like an appreciation for the work force and the role the business plays in the community.”