Last week, a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF), which has operated in the nation’s capital since 1987, launched its DC Employee Ownership Initiative to help existing worker-owned business and to support the conversion of existing firms to worker ownership. The initiative is backed by a $150,000 grant from Citi Community Development. The initiative has also been endorsed by Kristi Whitfield, Director of Washington, DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD).
Washington’s local government has been broadly supportive of employee ownership efforts. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 2017 economic strategy includes a recommendation to “raise awareness about cooperative models through education of procurement offices and financial institutions.”