JULY 2020
Peace Development Fund's 2020 Special Initiative
Five workers centers from Birmingham, Tuscon, Las Vegas, Miami and Northampton, MA participated in PDF's 2020 Special Initiative on Economic Dislocation and the Solidarity Economy . They were joined by other PDF grantees like Community Movement Builders in Atlanta and labor organizers from Chicago and New York.

The Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City helped facilitate the Special Initiative , introducing the Solidarity Economy to participants and organizing a panel of labor organizers, workers and cooperative developers. They highlighted worker ownership as a tool for worker centers to build power for systemic change as well as the role cooperatives have played in social movements in the United States.
Your support helps Peace Development Fund grant to front-line community organizations and it enables us to help build the capacity of our grantees to respond to new directions in movement building. We heard from many grantees an interest in this idea of "Resist and Build," an organizing strategy that aims not only to challenge unjust systems, but to create more just institutions in our communities - like cooperative businesses.

Leninn Torres, a member of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and volunteer with Riquezas del Campo Co-op Farm said of the training " I didn’t know a lot about co-ops and how they really work, but after taking the training, I loved the goals, the shared values, and the seven cooperative principles. It was great meeting co-op leaders from other states who shared with us the importance of co-ops for their communities. The next step for me is being a member rather than a volunteer at Riquezas del Campo so I’m excited to learn more and make a difference for our communities."   
Solidarity Economy is a growing, international movement that offers a framework to build an economy rooted in democracy, social and racial justice, cooperation, mutualism and environmental sustainability. The framework comes from social movements in Latin America, it is explicitly feminist, anti-racist, and ecological, and its vision for economic transformation aims to transcend all forms of oppression.

The failures of unregulated global capitalism are increasingly clear: runaway climate change, stark inequalities, and over 2 billion people suffering hunger, all of this before the pandemic and "Great Lockdown," which has pushed 2.7 billion people into full or near unemployment. Recently, members of the United States Solidarity Economy Network provided critical context for the urgent need to organize for system change and a Solidarity Economy.

Watch their recordings from the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies:

2020 Pioneer Valley Community Advised Fund Grantees
The Pioneer Valley Community Advised Fund is made possible by generous supporters in the Valley like you. The fund brings together community members, students and donors to be part of a grant-making process supporting social justice organizations in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.

This year’s grantees are Pa’lante Restorative Justice , a youth-led transformative justice program at Holyoke High School working to build youth power and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline; Wellspring Cooperative Corporation , a network of worker-owned businesses in Springfield which creates employment and wealth-building opportunities for residents; and Great Falls Books Through Bars in Franklin County, which sends free books, resources and reading materials to people who are incarcerated.

Justin Helepololei, a collective member of Great Falls Books Through Bars, said, With many prisons on lockdown, and educational programs suspended, books have become even more critical for incarcerated people to stay connected to the outside world. The grant from PDF has allowed us to send free books, print and mail information about COVID-19, and encourage the community to support incarcerated organizers and political prisoners working toward long-term decarceration. "

Want to get involved with the Pioneer Valley Community Advised Fund ? Are you able to make a contribution to support grassroots organizing in the Pioneer Valley? Email: Delia Kovac for more information on how to get involved.
Thank you for your support.