Connecting the cooperative/solidarity/new economy

Submitted by Joe on Mon, 02/20/2012 - 15:51

Share information

The Data Commons Cooperative is made up of organizations building the cooperative and solidarity economy. The organizations believe in sharing information with each other - membership lists, measurements, opportunities - to give greater strength and resilience to all participating. Much of the information shared is also openly shared with the public.

Create tools

Data Commons members are creating tools to most effectively use shared information. These include common directories, maps, and databases as well as membership engagement platforms, marketplaces, and tools to embed shared information around the internet. Tools are licensed as open source, available for anyone to use and improve.

Empower members

Sharing helps the memberships of our organizations make the most of the information concentrated. Whether they be businesses, consumers, professionals, or activists, information is easier to access, relationships are easier to build, and presence within the movement is easier to maintain.

Build the movement

The Data Commons Cooperative membership is made up of mission-driven organizations that are organizing toward a more just and equitable economy. The movement has passion and reason, but it needs infrastructure. The shared tools created by the cooperative will make sharing, communicating, and empowering the movement easier, by working together.

Annual Meeting 2013

Submitted by paulfitz on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 09:49

Voting is now CLOSED for election of the co-op's board of directors, via

The first annual meeting of the Data Commons Cooperative Annual is scheduled for:

Friday June 14th

3:00-5:00 PM Eastern DST (2:00-4:00 Central;1:00-3:00 Mountain;12:00-2:00 Pacific).

Conference call instructions will be emailed to co-op members.  Along with the meeting, the co-op will be electing its board of directors. This first year, there are seven candidates running for the board, and seven seats available. They are:

Reading material:
Election Guide 2013 (.pdf)
Annual Report 2013 (.pdf)
Capital Plan Resolution (.pdf)

  • Jamie Campbell
  • Emily Lippold Cheney
  • Paul Fitzpatrick
  • Lauren Hudson
  • Jim Johnson
  • Ethan Miller
  • David Morgan

Please read our election guide for more information about this election and the candidates. Read our annual report to learn more about the co-op's activities.

    Jamie Campbell

    Jamie Campbell has been a member of Manitoba's co-op community since his arrival in the spring of 2005. He works for two worker co-ops, ParIT Worker Co-operative ( and Mondragon Bookstore and Coffeehouse ( He joined both the CWCF ( Board and the Manitoba Community Co-operative Strategy's ( “Supports and Services” working group in 2010. He currently sits on the board of the Albert Street Autonomous Zone Co-op (, is ParIT's liason to the Winnipeg Parecon Worker Council (a local organization facilitating co-operation between local worker-owned and run enterprises), and is a founding board member with Data Commons. He is currently working on becoming trilingual (English, French, and Spanish) to be able to serve members of all three communities, which each have substantial presence in co-op communities both locally and globally. The upcoming feature that Jamie is most interested in is the Marketplace, to enable co-ops to not only find each other but also directly engage in commerce with each other. This interest is rooted in Jamie's “keeping an eye on the bottom line” worker co-op sensibilities.

    Nominated by: Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation.

    Current role in co-op: Director, former treasurer, former steering committee member.

    Emily Lippold Cheney

    Emily M Lippold Cheney began her work in the cooperative movement with the founding of a community cooperative housing network, followed by years of managing and developing others at a local and national scale, and further service as the Executive Director of NASCO (, a North American federation of common equity cooperatives rooted in social justice and anti-oppression. Currently, Emily is active with the development of the new USA Cooperative Youth Council (, a cross-sector organization for cooperative youth, as a Founder and Co-chair, while also sitting on the Board of Directors for CooperationWorks! (, a national network of cooperative developers, and serving as the Board Treasurer for Aynah (, an international cooperative development organization for university students. Emily also spends her time as a cooperative educator and trainer, provides development consultation, and serves on various national and international working groups and initiatives in a range of fields — among them, and in complement to her service on the Data Commons Board, open source philosophy and technology (, in which she is currently exploring opportunities for collaboration with the cooperative movement.

    Nominated by: CooperationWorks!.

    Paul Fitzpatrick

    Paul's day job is developing free and open-source software for the iCub robot (, which is itself free and open-source hardware. He has contributed to the development of and the Coopy Toolbox. Paul grew up on a small farm in Ireland. There were goats involved. He now lives in Montclair, New Jersey. There are fewer goats involved.

    Nominated by: Cooperative Development Institute.

    Current role in co-op: Director, secretary, membership committee member, operations team member, former steering committee member.

    Disclosures: Paul is married to Noémi Giszpenc, the executive director of the Cooperative Development Institute.

    Lauren Hudson

    Lauren Hudson is a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence College, where she concentrated in studio art and human geography. She is one of the founding members of the college's first food co-op. Her interests include solidarity economics, feminist geography, and participatory action research. Ms. Hudson is currently a New York City Civic Corps member ( serving at New York Writers Coalition and is a member of Solidarity NYC ( She lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

    Nominated by: SolidarityNYC.

    Jim Johnson

    Jim is a co-founder of the Data Commons Cooperative, and currently serves on the DCC board as interim Treasurer. He is also a member of the Grassroots Economic Organizing media collective, which has been chronicling the worker co-op and solidarity economics movements in the US and around the world for over thirty years, and which also provided much of the initial spark for the Data Commons Cooperative back in 2005.

    Jim has been in small business and free-lancing for over thirty-five years, and has spent over twenty of those years working with and for co-ops. He is a software engineer by profession, specializing in statistical analysis websites, and is currently on sabbatical from his own worker co-op after serving ten years there, including three years as President. He has also spent several years consulting to, and serving on the board of, his local food co-op, including two years as President. He is also a member of the development team for the Co-op Index, a diagnostic tool developed by worker co-op members and developers as a way of helping worker co-ops grow closer to an “ideal cooperative” organization, as guided by cooperative values.

    Jim is a co-founder of the Democracy At Work Network, the technical assistance service of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, and he currently serves on DAWN's Board of Governors and its Training and Certification committee. He is also currently serving DAWN as a certified Peer Advisor, actively providing technical assistance to worker co-ops, start-ups, and conversions. He is also a graduate of the CooperationWorks! Training for Cooperative Development Practitioners, and served several years in the CW leadership as Chair of CW's Networking Circle. He is also a current member of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives.

    Nominated by: CooperationWorks!.

    Current role in co-op: Director, interim treasurer, former steering committee member.

    Ethan Miller

    Ethan Miller is a writer, researcher, educator, and organizer whose primary work focuses on imagining and cultivating democratic, equitable and ecological forms of livelihood. As one of the co-founders of the Data Commons, Ethan is excited about building practical tools (both conceptual and physical) that can help us to create and sustain solidarity-based economies. He has written and led many workshops on solidarity economics, and is a long-time member of the Grassroots Economic Organizing media collective ( and, more recently, the Community Economies Collective ( Ethan has a Master's degree in geography from Umass Amherst, where he studied alternative concepts of regional economic development, and is currently working on a PhD dissertation as a student in Social and Political Thought at the University of Western Sydney (in Australia). His research focuses on rethinking the concepts of “economy, ecology and society” in ways that challenge problematic distinctions between nature and culture, and open up more space to think and act ethically in the face of interdependence, injustice and uncertainty. This sounds really theoretical, and it is, but the work itself is grounded in extensive conversations with economic developers and ecological defenders in Maine regarding the practical possibilities for developing new shared stories about what it means to live together in this wild and challenging world. When not in Oz (like right now, doing fieldwork back home), Ethan lives, works, plays and tends the orchard with his partner Kate, his 5-month-old son Loren, and a bunch of other great people at the JED Collective, a cooperative homestead in Greene, Maine.

    Nominated by: Grassroots Economic Organizing.

    Current role in co-op: Director, president, membership committee member, former steering committee member.

    David Morgan

    David Morgan is a worker-owner of the Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA,, the organization behind David has long been involved with social movements — from public space activism to anti-poverty work — that make use of the kind of everyday democracy that is at the core of his work at the Toolbox for Education and Social Action. His background is in cultural organizing, as co-founder of the Groundswell Collective, a group of artists/activists who produce and research critical cultural works, and as a committee member the HONK! Festival of activist street bands for more than five years. After graduating from Hampshire College, he focused on nonprofit communications work with such groups as the Boston-based housing rights organization City Life/Vida Urbana.

    Nominated by: Cultivate.Coop.

    Northwest Cooperative Development Center

    Submitted by paulfitz on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 09:39

    We're happy to welcome the Northwest Cooperative Development Center as a member of the Data Commons.  As a co-op ourselves, we've benefited from and value the services of our local regional cooperative development organization.  If you are thinking of starting a co-op, this is an excellent place to start.  They can talk you through the process -- including whether the co-op model is the right fit for your idea. There's a lot to know, and the co-op centers are invaluable.

    Welcome CDI and NEI

    Submitted by paulfitz on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 15:31

    We're happy to introduce two new members:

    Welcome, institutes!  CDI has been instrumental at every step in fostering the Data Commons Co-op, and we're delighted to have them as a member.  The NEI has a vision of a New Economy that prioritizes the well-being of people and the planet, and we look forward to doing our part to make that a reality.

    Welcome Solidarity NYC and Grassroots Economic Organizing

    Submitted by paulfitz on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 11:26
    We are honored that Solidarity NYC and Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) have joined our co-op!  In 2000, GEO published "an Economy of Hope," a directory of the solidarity economy in the US.  Ethan Miller's work on this directory was one of the threads that led to the eventual creation of the Data Commons Project, which in July of 2012 became the Data Commons Co-op. Each step has been an experiment in how to build a directory that can keep pace with a movement, and play a role in strengthening it.  We're grateful to have Ethan's guidance on our board.  Solidarity NYC shows how a directory can play a central role in holding a mirror to a growing, complicated community and we look forward to learning from the NYC experience.

    Join our board! (updated)

    Submitted by paulfitz on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 11:27

    Call for board member nominations

    The Data Commons Cooperative [1] is looking for people to serve on its Board of Directors. The co-op was founded in July 2012 to improve information flow in the cooperative/solidarity/new economy. If you like to push the edge of what can be done with co-ops, and think the infrastructure of the ethical economy could do with some love - we want you! Serving on the co-op board is an excellent way to make sure the voice of your community is heard clearly, and to guide the co-op in productive directions.

    Directors are nominated and elected by co-op members. Existing members of the co-op are generally umbrella organizations or projects that represent a region, sector, or movement (and are listed in this call). Each member may make two nominations. The current board encourages members to consider using one of their nominations to sponsor motivated individuals active in their community to step forward. The board stands ready to help with any match-making needed, and encourages passionate individuals to respond to this call without necessarily having a confirmed sponsoring member.

    About the Data Commons Co-op

    People everywhere have been organizing a more ethical economy, but they work in relative isolation, fragmented by geography, sector, and even organizational form.

    Many communities gather information about a small piece of these efforts. In every situation, there is another community for which that information overlaps. In every case there is an opportunity to share that will strengthen all the communities participating. But that requires effort, it requires trust, and it requires infrastructure. It requires, in short, a co-op!

    The Data Commons Co-op is a cooperative of organizations that are figuring out how their disparate communities can work together, both technically and culturally, to benefit from their overlap without blunting their difference.

    Board member duties

    Your basic duty is a 3-hour commitment per month. One hour of that is a regular board meeting (by phone). The remainder is reading and and responding to board business (by email).

    There are various roles that go beyond that baseline. These are strictly voluntary, and currently filled by the 5 current board members (the role of treasurer is held in interim). Those roles include:

    • Officer roles - treasurer, secretary, president
    • Membership committee - read member applications, make recommendations
    • Data trust - check out incoming data, make recommendations
    • Operations team - work with the people coordinating the day-to-day activity of co-op
    • Tech team - work with the people who move the bits around

    A variety of term durations are possible, from 1 to 3 years.


    The key formal requirement is that you must represent the interests of at least one of our existing members. Directors are nominated and elected by the co-op members. Nominees need to be "employed by or connected with or representing" a member organization [2]. Check the list of member organizations included towards the end of this call. If your interests overlap with one or more members, they may well be interested in nominating you as part of their board representation (each member can nominate up to two board members). We'd be happy to help with any match-making needed. If you belong to a group that isn't yet a member but you think it should be, let us know so that we can reach out, or you can direct the group to our member information packet [3].

    A general qualification is having an interest in the development of infrastructure for sharing data in and about the ethical economy. You just won't have any fun in the co-op otherwise.

    How to nominate a candidate, or offer yourself as a candidate

    If you represent a member of the co-op and would like to nominate a candidate for the board, please send an email to with the subject line "board nomination" giving the candidate's name and contact information. Expect an acknowledgment within 3 working days. From our bylaws, the latest possible moment to make a nomination is:

    Wednesday May 15th 2013

    If you are an individual who'd like to run for the board, please send an email to with the subject line "getting on board", giving:

    Your name

    Contact information

    A biography (in any format you like)

    A brief description of your relationship (by employment or interest) to one or more of the co-op members listed here:

    Please do so by:

    Wednesday May 1st 2013

    Expect an acknowledgment within 3 working days. Voting will take place at the Annual General Meeting, scheduled for:

    Friday June 14th 2013
    3:00-5:00 PM Eastern DST
    (2:00-4:00 Central;1:00-3:00 Mountain;12:00-2:00 Pacific).

    The meeting will be held by phone or online, details to be announced.

    Existing and past board members

    The co-op incorporated in July 2012 with a slate of board members drawn from a pre-existing steering committee. All 5 of those board members will be standing for election at the first AGM of the co-op, scheduled for June 14th 2013. Bylaws state that the number of board members should be between 5 and 15. Board member terms will be staggered.

    • Ethan Miller: serving director, president. Membership committee.
    • Jamie Campbell: serving director.
    • Jim Johnson: serving director, interim treasurer.
    • Melissa Hoover: serving director. Membership committee.
    • Paul Fitzpatrick: serving director, secretary. Operations team.
    • Joe Marraffino: prior director and president.
    • Adam Schwartz: steering committee prior to incorporation.
    • Neily Jennings: steering committee prior to incorporation.

    Member organizations

    [2] See section VI(1) of our bylaws

    Status update

    Submitted by paulfitz on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 12:33

    Since its formation in July last year, the co-op continues to grow. We've just reached an even dozen members - here's the current list (most recent members first):

    We're delighted that a group of co-op members have seeded a fund to cover the membership dues of low/no-budget grassroots organizations. So if our sliding scale doesn't slide quite far down enough for your budget, please consider applying anyway, and select the waiver option. On behalf of the co-op's board of directors, I'd like to thank our members for bringing the data commons vision that bit closer to reality!


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