If you asked someone a few years ago what kinds of cooperatives they knew of, they probably wouldn’t say “brewery.” In fact, before 2014, there weren’t any cooperatively owned breweries in Minnesota. Yet here we are today. That’s because when we started the brewery, we wanted to provide a space for the community to get together, to share ideas and skills, and of course, to drink beer. We are made up of community members, for community members.
So in the spirit of shining a light on organizations with a similar focus on community gathering and change-making, we can look to our February Cooperates Partner– the Association for Black Economic Power.
In 2016, Twin Cities residents got together to form a community organization by the name of Blexit– in efforts to “cultivate the practice of economic civil resistance.” It was through these meetings that the members began to focus on black banking– this lead to the late 2016 launch of the Association for Black Economic Power.
So what are they doing? Well, by 2019 they hope to establish a state chartered black-led credit union: The Village Trust Financial Cooperative (VTFC).
The leaders of ABEP and VTFC chose the credit union model (rather than traditional banking) because it follows the “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” ideals. The overarching goal for VTFC is to serve the underserved within the Black community who have been previously excluded from traditional financial institutions.
The VTFC name itself was voted on by the North Minneapolis community through a 2017 campaign that ran from April to June.
Part of the establishment process involves collecting pledges from potential members. Through pledge collection on their website, ABEP is able to gather the information needed to make sure they are prioritizing the services that the community most values– and gather the proof needed to show they have significant community support and interest. Their current goal is to gain five thousand pledges from those who are interested in using the credit union once it is open.
If you’re interested in learning more about the organization and the credit union, you can come to the Taproom on February 22. ABEP will host a panel to discuss community buy-in, policy, as well as economic resistance– all within the context of the creation of the Village Trust Financial Cooperative. If you want to pledge to be a part of it all, you can do so online or at this event– pledging is open to all, regardless of race.
Plus, for every CROWLER you buy, 10% of sales will go right back to ABEP and their mission.
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to support our neighbors on the Northside — join us!
Photos courtesy of www.abepmn.org