An innovative and sustainable business initiative has started in Greater University Circle.

Watch this video

The Evergreen Cooperatives are businesses working together with Greater University Circle communities (Hough, Glenville, Fairfax, Buckeye-Shaker, Little Italy and East Cleveland) and some of Cleveland’s anchor institutions to create green jobs for local residents.

Each year, these major institutions–including CWRU, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, among many others–purchase billions of dollars worth of goods and services from suppliers that are outside of our region.  Through the Evergreen Cooperatives, these institutions can begin sourcing some of their products and services locally–generating economic development and green jobs where they are desperately needed.

The Evergreen Cooperatives are committed to:

  1. Neighborhood-based businesses: Building a network of new local companies that provide superior goods and services to Cleveland’s anchor institutions and other clients.
  2. Employee ownership: Evergreen companies are owned by their employees.  Employees are not only paid living wages and benefits, but there is equity amongst co-workers.
  3. Local hiring: These companies hire employees from low- and moderate-income neighborhoods of Greater University Circle.
  4. Green Business Practices: These businesses strive to be the greenest in their fields, contributing to Cleveland’s commitment to become a model of sustainability.
  5. Neighborhood benefit: Each Evergreen company contributes at least 10% of its pretax profits to the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund, which goes toward the start-up of new Evergreen companies and the creation of more green jobs for our communities.

Evergreen Companies that are currently hiring:

  1. Evergreen Cooperative Laundry: The greenest commercial-scale, industrial laundry in Northeast Ohio.
  2. Ohio Cooperative Solar: Performs large-scale installations of solar panels on roofs of the city’s biggest nonprofit institutions.  For year-round employment, this cooperative will also perform weatherization for households.
  3. Green City Growers Cooperative: A year-round, large-scale food production hydroponic greenhouse on 14 acres in inner-city Cleveland.
  4. Greater University Circle Neighborhood Voice: A community information source in print and online, serving the neighborhoods and institutions of Greater University Circle.  With the guidance of a full-time publisher, high school and college students will gain business and journalism training by working at the Neighborhood Voice.

For more information, visit Evergreen Cooperatives.

*Note: A similar version of this article was originally written for Renovating the Rust Belt.