All Things Co-op: Interview with Project Equity


Hilary Abell of Project Equity joins All Things Co-op to talk about her experiences and take away from almost 2 decades of work in co-op development. Topics include: The background, mission and work of Project Equity; Abell's thoughts on how the current pandemic and economic crisis contributes to the existing "silver tsunami" and increases the possibility for conversions; Successful conversion examples by Project Equity: pizza, manufacturing; Project Equity's process of identifying potential candidates for conversion; Abell's thoughts on growing the economic sector: the path to scale. 

Learn more about Project Equity.

Learn more about the referenced paper by Hilary Abell, "Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale" 

Hilary Abell was “bit by the cooperative bug” when she was a worker-owner at Equal Exchange in the 1990s and forever changed by witnessing how Latin American farmers used coops to transform their communities. After a decade of internationally focused community empowerment work, Hilary has worked in coop development in the Bay Area since 2003. As Executive Director of WAGES (since rebranded to Prospera), she led the organization through a period of major growth, resulting in a network of five worker-owned green cleaning businesses that created 100 healthy, dignified jobs for low-income women. Worker-owners increased their family incomes by 40-80%, built assets through robust profit sharing, and gained business skills and social capital. Hilary co-founded Project Equity while writing Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale and consulting for coop development initiatives and nonprofits. For her work with Project Equity, Hilary was awarded Presidio Graduate School’s Big Idea Prize in 2013, an Echoing Green Fellowship in 2014, and a 2016 Local Economy Fellowship. She has her B.A. from Princeton University and her MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio. In her spare time, she can be found powering up a hill on her road bike or nesting with her wife and three kittens.

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