project leader
The NYCSCU
location
Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn (45th District - Flatbush/Midwood)
latest update rss
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the project

We have decided to leave the campaign up till we reach our goal.  Our team wants to lay the groundwork for what will be the Brooklyn Student Credit Union (BSCU), the first step of which is attending the Green Worker Cooperatives “Coop Academy.” The BSCU will be a nonprofit consumer cooperative, the first of its kind being founded, managed and owned by students. The BSCU, the first part of the long term project called the New York City Student Credit Union (NYCSCU), will be launched within the CUNY university system. As a community of students working together with shared experience, this credit union will have the kind of understanding and sensitivity needed to best serve its special membership. As a nonprofit it will be a model for true community investment and shared success. As a democratically governed organization the members of the credit union will decide together how best to use their combined resources.

The environmental mission of the organization will be to promote the greening of our campuses, as a living model and investor. The union will be founded with rules governing its sustainable life, including sourcing its energy from renewable energy providers, using green administrative products, and composting any food and paper waste that is generated by operations. The organization will also be founded on the value of investing in community grassroots initiatives, guiding the use of its collective financial power to influence sustainable change in its surrounding area.

the steps

 

The GWC encourages community dialogue and interaction through this process of fundraising, creating partnership with community right from the start of the project. So, the first step is raising $3,000 to attend the academy, and that is where your support and generosity comes in.  Your tax-deductible donations will cover the cost of the class, filing fees, promotion materials and transportation expenses for 6 months. These are some of the things the academy offers:

  • One-on-One mentoring with a successful entrepreneur
  • Legal assistance with business incorporation and structuring
  • Web site and promotion strategy development
  • Greater visibility and name recognition for our cooperative

For the remainder of 2013 we will continue our grassroots promotion, legal establishment of the organization, board recruitment and the drafting of bylaws, and gaining nonprofit status. But the most important element of this all will be the members, who will have participation throughout this process.

why we're doing it

UPDATE:  Our team has grown by one!  So we have extended the campaign one more week, have grown the budget a bit.  We will be accepting tax deductible contributions until January 25th!

The Project:

It may not be the sexiest idea, but it is a foundational one.  We believe in the power of collective organizing, and the need for financial capacity building to make it happen.  It has an empowering effect on people, inspiring each of us to determine our lives for ourselves.  Economic self-determination and independence, as well as communal economic interdependence, are the community strengthening potentials of cooperative economic development.

 

We are students who know what it is like to live on the edge of economic instability.  The answer for most people is to take out more and more loans that they will never have the ability to pay back.  Still others cannot even take out loans, and are not eligible for grants.  The realities of attending college in this country are sobering - the cost of college has risen nearly 1120% in the last 35 years, 94% of college attendees now borrow, and student debt has climbed above $1trillion.  We wish for more alternatives to going into debt and doing business with corrupt banks.  A credit union is that alternative choice.

 

This project will address both environmental and social concerns of the community by its very nature being a cooperative organization.  All cooperatives adhere to the seven cooperative principles developed by the International Cooperative Alliance. Three principles in particular stand out as beneficial for the community: democratic member control, member economic participation, and concern for community. The democratic member control principle requires that all members have an equal say in the decision making and in the construction of policy for the cooperative. This is a deliberate act of civic participation and self-determination, as individuals and as a community. The member economic control principle makes financial power shared by member-owners since all members are required to contribute equal amounts to the cooperative and to collectively decide how to allocate the capital that the cooperative accumulates.  Profits are shared amongst the members of the community.  Special scholarships, local business investments and development funds can be created if the membership wishes.  This brings us the third principle, the concern for community principle which requires the cooperatives to invest in the local community and to work towards sustainable development. The collective decision making and financial power of the college community has great potential for bringing sustainable change to Brooklyn that encompasses the social, the environmental, and the economical.  Being a living model for sustainable business practices will make the Brooklyn Student Credit Union influential in the business and professional communities.

Conversation

We are off to a great start! Thank you - we have deep gratitude for the support so far. K&E
Wow...in the thick of it. We are now in our WIBO classes once per week, and GWC classes every two weeks for an 8 hour stretch! Last weekend we provided the potluck - kale salad with dried fruit and balsamic, a quinoa roasted tomato cucumber goat cheese salad, and a semi-spicey chipotle black bean dip with chips. mapped our operations from start to finish analyzing every step of the way what the potential environmental/resource impact would be, and how to make it better. Intense! And explored how we as a coop can benefit from mutual aid relations with other coops. We are loving it!
It has been a while, a fast a furious ride through the spring. Each of has juggled a full college workload, personal crises, and working on our project. And we are nearing the end. We have finished our workshops, and each of them has been eye opening. Going back over the last few - we learned how to facilitate cooperative group meetings on Saturday working with a former graduate group of GWC, Caracol Interpreters Cooperative. It is all about communication and care. Moving in the same direction, and figuring out how to move when we aren't. We met with a great lawyer, Ted, who has been working with coops and credit union or financial institutions for some time. Very insightful. He came oh so very close to completely changing the direction of our project (after so many months of hard work!). But it was meeting with Joy, President and founder of Bethex Credit Union (and several others CU's, as well as trainer, support, mentor, for years!) that kept us on the rails. It was like meeting family. Between Ted and Joy, we now see a little clearer. We are reinvigorated. We have also, as a part of GWC, spent every Wednesday night at a WIBO training site learning the nuts and bolts of building a business through the business plan writing process. The most fun part of course was when we were figuring out how to make the project viable and pay the bills. For everyone else, that was represented by making the most profit possible. It was gratifying to be set apart from all, because for us "profit" was what goes back into the community. We will be graduating WIBO on Wednesday June 19th, and GWC on Saturday June 29th. It has been a quick and dirty education experience. But we did it. From here, we will debrief through the summer and figure out the next steps toward building New York's first and only credit union made by students for students. And we want to thank you again for making it possible.

budget

Tuition for Green Worker Cooperatives Academy             $1,500

Travel for 3 team members                                                         700

Filing and administrative fees                                                     350

Website and promotional materials                                           325 

Subtotal                                                                                         2,875

ioby materials & labor                                                                      35

Third Party Credit Card Processing (3%)                                     90

TOTAL                                                                                          $3,000

updates

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photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • Margaret M.
  • Eloise L C.
  • Carolyn H.
  • Sheryll D.
  • Eric C.
  • Catherine M.
  • Jessica M.
  • Ximena C.
  • Victor S.
  • Conor Tomas R.
  • Chad P.
  • Savannah G.
  • Oleksandra S.
  • Ira S.
  • Eloise C.
  • SARAH M.
  • Robert M.
  • Jacqueline D.
  • Stephen B.
  • Matthew M.
  • Victoria G.
  • Svyatoslav B.
  • William B.
  • Jiye S.
  • Suzanne T.
  • Hang D.
  • Kyle C.
  • Anne P.
  • Esther N.
  • Jocelyn C.
  • Eloise Linda C.
  • John M.
  • Nicole P.
  • Aidan F.
  • Amy D.
  • Jocelyn W.
  • Michael M.
  • Susan D.
  • Michael M.
  • Kalima D.
  • Eloise Linda C.
  • Charles K.
  • Helen H.
  • Lidia A.
  • Ayanna H.
  • Amy D.
  • Adam C.
  • Kristi N.
  • Pieranna P.
  • Karana W.