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Cooperative Changemakers Fellowship

Cooperative Changemakers: A Community Power Fellowship is an intensive 10-week training for cooperative entrepreneurs and advocates driving positive social and economic change in Buffalo.

 

Cooperative Changemakers aims to activate and empower those interested in joining and contributing to Buffalo’s growing cooperative community. This fellowship will foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the development of skills essential for building democratic power in our communities. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with local cooperators and develop actionable plans to bring their visions to life. This Fellowship seeks to cultivate a vibrant and engaged community of cooperative entrepreneurs and advocates, driving positive social and economic change in Buffalo.

 

Do you want to:

  • Join and contribute to Buffalo’s growing cooperative community?

  • Gain a deep understanding of the principles, practices, and potential of cooperatives?

  • Develop practical skills for an economy that puts people first?

  • Create actionable plans for community-owned and community-led change?

 

 

 

For 10 Wednesdays from September 4th through November 6th, participants will engage in classroom training with experts in the skills required to be a changemaker in the cooperative movement, including cooperative business development, finance, governance, democratic decision making, and conflict resolution. On Wednesday, November 13th, the Fellowship course will end with a graduation celebration.

 

After completing the course, Fellowship participants will have access to:

 

  • One-on-one technical assistance from cooperative business developers

  • Training and support in fundraising, planning, and other start-up requirements

  • Access to a peer-support network of existing Buffalo cooperatives and fellow Changemakers

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Who is it for?

 

The Cooperative Changemakers Fellowship is designed for individuals or teams who want to start a cooperative business, or those who want to build skills to strengthen their role in the cooperative and solidarity economy.

 

While the Cooperative Changemakers Fellowship is open to everyone, we give higher priority to applications from people based in Buffalo who are members of traditionally marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, immigrants, queer and trans folks, the formerly incarcerated, and others who have been historically excluded from participation in the mainstream economy and opportunities to build wealth.

 

Who can apply?

 

There are 3 requirements to apply:

 

  • You plan to play a role in the cooperative economy after the course ends.

  • You must be able to commit to the 10 weeks of the course.

  • If you have a team, each team member must fill out the application form separately.

 

Is there a fee to participate?

 

The 2024 Cooperative Changemakers Fellowship is offered free of charge thanks to support from charitable foundations and individual donors.

When is the 2024 Cooperative Changemakers Fellowship?

The Fellowship takes place on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, beginning September 4th and running through November 13th.

In addition to the weekly evening sessions, all participants are expected to dedicate additional time towards a limited amount of work between sessions.

Where is it held?

 

The 2024 Changemakers Fellowship will be held in person at SUNY Buffalo State University, located at 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14222. Applicants are expected to attend all sessions of the Fellowship. If you are unable to attend a class, please let us know ahead of time so we can make arrangements.

Accessibility

 

We plan to provide childcare and simultaneous language interpretation during the Fellowship if applicants need it. We also ask during the application process for you to name any access needs that you may have, so we can do our best to accommodate them. We will be serving a full meal at each training - please let us know any dietary needs you may have. 

 

A small stipend to cover the cost of public transportation is available by request. 

 

Throughout the course, we will be using the Google Classroom platform as a resource to compile and distribute course materials. Participants will benefit from creating a Google account in order to access Google Classroom. We will provide physical copies of all course materials as well. If technology will be a barrier during the course, let us know so we can work with you to come up with a solution.

 

How to apply

 

You can apply today using this form! Applications are due by August 1st. We will review your application and contact you to set up an interview with you or your team. We may also reach out via email or phone with further questions, or to follow up on any of your access needs or requests for more information. If you have any questions about the application, email us at info@cooperationbuffalo.org.

 

Applicant interviews

 

All participants must complete the application and we will follow up to schedule a 30 minute interview via video conference. We will conduct interviews on a rolling basis. The earlier you apply, the sooner we can interview you or your team.

 

What happens after the course ends?

 

Once you complete the course, we continue to give technical assistance to support your project for 3 months. We have staff available to guide you through business planning, securing start-up capital, and navigating other resources and supports. After the first 3 months of technical assistance, we will evaluate your team’s progress and decide on a path forward together. Each cooperative or community-owned project has multiple needs and many decisions to make, and this will depend on your timeline.

 

We also provide structure for you to stay connected to the 2024 Cooperative Changemakers cohort, as well as to past Cooperative Academy cohorts, to build relationships and grow a cooperative economy together. We will also promote cooperatives that emerge from the Fellowship through our events, organizational networks, and media. We want your cooperatives and community-owned projects to become visible and show other entrepreneurs the power of the cooperative economy.

 

We look forward to learning more about your plans and working with you to build the cooperative economy in Buffalo!

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