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WACIF Launches Greater Washington Center for Employee Ownership

The Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) has announced the official launch of the Greater Washington Center for Employee Ownership project, which will promote and support employee ownership throughout the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

The project will mainly preserve legacy businesses, increase job quality, and build community wealth, Wacif said.

“Economic democracy was at the core of Wacif’s founding in 1987, with our very first loans supporting cooperatives across the region,” said  Wacif CEO Harold Pettigrew Jr.  “Employee ownership builds community wealth and health, and by launching the Greater Washington Center for Employee Ownership, Wacif is proud to not only embrace its legacy, but also create new pathways to entrepreneurship and economic opportunity.”

Jennifer Bryant, Wacif program manager for Community Wealth Building Initiatives, added, “Community wealth building is a gateway to racial and economic justice.”

“Through the D.C. Employee Ownership Initiative, Wacif demonstrated that investing in and supporting employee-owned businesses makes this vision a reality,” Bryant said. “The Greater Washington Center for Employee ownership expands on this work and builds a resilient community of employee-owned businesses, partner organizations, and supporters.”

Wacif said that with its 2018 launch of the D.C. Employee Ownership Initiative, the organization deployed more than $80,000 last year to local cooperative businesses.

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