CERO's Successful DPO

At age 60, when many of her friends are considering retirement, Josefina Luna is chair of the board of CERO Cooperative Inc. CERO is a five-member worker-owned cooperative on a mission to encourage composting and create jobs in the hard-up Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Boston. It's a small but unusually diverse team: Of the five worker-owners, two are African-American, two are Latinas, and one is white. They communicate in English and Spanish. To kick-start their business, they’ve also had to learn the language of stocks and shares, but they just may have hit on a new way of raising capital for businesses owned by poor people.

“I didn’t know anything about investments, stocks, or shares when we started,” says Dominican-born Luna, who is a former teacher, but she knew nothing good was happening in Roxbury, the Boston neighborhood where she lives. “In the 22 years I’ve been here, nothing’s changed. We see the same few stores; the same few jobs that don’t pay workers well.”

When Luna got involved in setting up CERO Cooperative Inc. in 2011, the unemployment crisis in her area was dire. Luna had experience working with people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. She has been involved in community organizing campaigns that aimed to get better services. But what her neighborhood really needed wasn’t more services; it was more good jobs.

Read the full article at YES! Magazine


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