Tailored to address the unique challenges and highlight best practices of starting and managing a cooperative enterprise for emerging cooperative leaders. Click here to apply today!
National and regional experts in the cooperative business sector will lay the foundation of cooperative business best practices in a presentation format followed by opportunities for questions. Topics include the cooperative advantage, governance, financial modeling, legal structures, funding your project, human resources, marketing, and branding and more!
The 8 sessions will be virtual due to COVID19 with the potential for an in person closing session should conditions improve. Click here to view additional program details.
Cooperative Leaders Forum
A collaborative learning opportunity designed for teams who recently completed the Co-op Academy and experienced cooperative business stakeholders leading their community’s cooperative development efforts.
These virtual peer-to-peer discussions designed for participants to share, inspire, and learn from one another. Each session will be a facilitated conversation led by cooperative development specialists. Topics will range from leadership transition and business continuity, roles and responsibilities, hiring a general manager, power dynamics, financial resilience, membership engagement, and refreshing policies and bylaws.
The 8 sessions will be virtual due to COVID19 with the potential for an in person closing session should conditions improve. Apply Today!
Cooperative Leadership Conference
Advanced educational experience to support leaders within a cooperative business. Participants will include board members, general managers, and co-op members.
Learn cooperative business strategies to strengthen your co-op, leverage your energy and resources, improve marketing power, and implement transparent control over business decisions. Topics including marketing, leadership succession planning, engaging in difficult decisions, strategic planning, capitalizing infrastructure, and expansion of the solidarity economy.
This day long program will be a combination of presentation, Q&A, and working group formats. Apply Today
KDC is a tiny organization with a big impact, thanks to our strong volunteer Board of Directors consisting of leaders from multiple cooperative, economic development, non-profit, government, educational, and agricultural organizations. We are currently looking to fill two open seats. At this phase of our growth, we are specifically looking for individuals who will bring at least one of the following skills to our organization: finance, fundraising, marketing, and human resources. Enthusiasm for the mission is a crucial qualification, and we will be especially thrilled with candidates who have board experience and/or experience in the cooperative economy.
Keystone Development Center is an equal opportunity provider and employer and does not discriminate on any basis including sexual orientation, race, creed, color, religion, gender identification, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, or familial status.
Board Member Requirements
Board Member Duties
Board Meeting Schedule
KDC will hold our 2021 Quarterly Board Meetings on the second Monday of February, May, September, and November. KDC Finance Committee Meetings will be held the Friday before each Quarterly Board meeting. All meetings will be held virtually held on Zoom. See schedule and meeting info below:
KDC Board Quarterly Meeting – Q1 2021 Monday, Feb. 8th – 1-3 pm Finance Committee Meeting – Friday, Feb. 5th – 10-11 am
KDC Board Quarterly Meeting – Q2 2021 Monday, May 10th – 1-3 pm Finance Committee Meeting – Friday, May 7th – 10-11 am
KDC Board Quarterly Meeting – Q3 2021 Monday, Sep. 13th – 1-3 pm Finance Committee Meeting – Friday, Sep. 10th – 10-11 am
KDC Board Quarterly Meeting – Q4 2021 Monday, Nov. 8th – 1-3 pm Finance Committee Meeting – Friday, Nov. 5th – 10-11 am
KDC is pleased to announce that we were awarded two grants from the USDA. We were awarded a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant to improve the economic condition of rural areas by increasing the understanding of and support for cooperatives through education and technical assistance. The USDA RCDG funds support continued development efforts of new cooperative approaches in our region. KDC is providing technical assistance to our third broadband cooperative to bridge the gap to internet and technology access in rural Maryland. Our diverse clientele also includes a Pennsylvania grass-fed beef cooperative, two new dairy cooperatives, and a rural housing cooperative. We are also responding to a growth in worker-cooperatives by helping retiring owners convert their business to a worker-owned model. In addition to the co-ops specified in the work-plan and budget, we will be responsive to requests from new clients, and giving priority to qualified groups in economically distressed areas. Our assistance includes meeting facilitation, board leadership training, focus groups, feasibility studies, business plans, incorporation assistance, and other needs-appropriate services. KDC evaluates all projects both qualitatively and quantitatively for effectiveness and efficiency.
KDC was also awarded a $174,991 USDA Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant. The SDGG funds will be used to create better quality jobs for women of color, immigrants, and the working poor that make up the caregiving workforce through the cooperative business model. There is a national trend to support Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides becoming worker-owners resulting in improved wages, benefits, training, and workplace leadership skills. KDC continues to participate in this effort to develop and strengthen the home care co-op business model. Through the cooperative model we aim to improve job quality for caregivers through increased wages, more stable employment, consistent hours, improved training opportunities, and more opportunities for caregivers to advance their careers. In an industry where the work is emotionally and physically taxing and low paid, where benefits are limited, hours are inconsistent, and career advancement is nearly non-existent, recruitment of enough caregivers to meet demand is a significant challenge. However, caregiver owned cooperatives, which increase job quality for caregivers and provide better quality care and outcomes for patients, provides a better model. Already there are ten caregiver-owned home care cooperatives in operation around the country, and nearly as many are currently under development.
KDC’s team is growing! Please join KDC in welcoming its two newest team members, Tony Ricci and Hanna Mengel.
Tony Ricci, KDC’s newest Cooperative Development Consultant, joined the team in March of 2020. Tony brings 36 years of agricultural experience, as well as extensive knowledge in marketing and logistics in retail and wholesale production and distribution. Tony is from Three Springs, PA where he co-owns and operates Green Heron Farm, and manages the Huntingdon Farmers’ Market. As a founding member of Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-op, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Tony brings a wealth of agricultural experience and expertise to the KDC Team.
Hanna, a recent Lock Haven University graduate, joined the team in January 2020 as KDC’s Program Assistant. She has worked for KDC during previous summers, taking a vital role in moving KDC to a fully cloud based system and became full-time in 2020. Hanna’s role is to support all aspects of KDC projects by conducting research, reporting results, and assisting with grants and contracts. She handles administrative tasks such as maintain our client and financial records, handling communications, responding to client requests and maintain the KDC website and social media platforms.
Many elderly, the ones most vulnerable to COVID 19, rely on in-home caregivers. Now, they’re faced with a difficult choice: open their homes to possible contamination or forego the life-sustaining care that allows them to continue living independently.
When our best resourced hospitals don’t have access to the medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to provide care to COVID 19 patients, you can be sure same is true for home health aides. As one former director of a regional home care agency put it, “Aides are at the bottom of the heap in the medical system. They’re the last ones to be considered.” Yet, homecare could be the safest choice as nursing homes and long-term care facilities experience a rapid increase of infection.
In addition to those who already rely on home health aides, those with COVID-19 who are able to self-quarantine at home will be in need of care. And as thousands of hospitalized patients return home, they, too, will need in-home care to fully recover.
This could provide an opportunity for unemployed Pennsylvanians. However, the threat of contracting the coronavirus on the job may deter people from becoming a home health aide. Furthermore, home care workers are often paid at or just above minimum wage. In an industry where the work is emotionally and physically taxing and low paid, where benefits are limited, hours are inconsistent, and career advancement is nearly non-existent, recruitment of enough caregivers to meet demand is a significant challenge.
One solution is an employee-owned model. When home health aides and personal care aides become worker-owners, they experience improved job quality through increased wages, more stable employment, consistent hours, improved training opportunities, and more opportunities for caregivers to advance their careers.
The second largest and one of the oldest home care cooperatives in the country, Home Care Associates (HCA) of Philadelphia, owned by 125 employees, has been in operation for more than 25 years. As one of twelve employee-owned home care agencies across the country, HCA is finding that, as their former director Karen Kulp stated, “Co-ops shine in times of crisis.” HCA is one of the few home care agencies that provides health insurance to its worker-owners. Caregivers can continue to do their jobs - providing life sustaining care to the most vulnerable- knowing if they get sick, they won’t go into debt due to medical bills.
Because all employee-owners have a stake in the success of the company, and because of aide’s “tremendous hearts,” as Kulp explains, employee-owners step up in this difficult time. Caregivers take on extra shifts, caring for coworkers’ clients. Managers who could easily work from home go into the office as an act of solidarity so that aides aren’t the only ones putting themselves at risk. Leadership staff check in regularly with aides on the frontlines. Volunteers make hand sanitizer and masks. This is, as Kulp puts it, part of the co-op spirit. “For co-ops,” she says, “it’s about us, this is our business, our money.”
While Home Care Associates is the only employee-owned home care agency in Pennsylvania, it won’t be for long. Keystone Development Center (KDC) was awarded a Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant from the USDA to explore the opportunities to develop worker-owned home care in Central Pennsylvania. KDC, a small non-profit, has a mission to sustain communities, economies, and resources through cooperatively-owned businesses. The ICA Group, a partner on the project, is a national nonprofit that specializes in the development of childcare and home care cooperatives as well as cooperative conversions of businesses of all kinds.
While the good work being done elsewhere does not ease the burden on caregivers and agencies in this current crisis, it is important to know that the opportunity for employee-owned home care cooperatives – cooperatives that shine in times of crisis - is growing. An effort to expand the opportunity for employee-ownership to more caregivers in Pennsylvania is underway.
Executive Director, Keystone Development Center
For more information, contact Keystone Development Center by calling 717-792-2163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Keystone Development Center