Who we are

 

Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) is a social-purpose cooperative that leverages the buying power of community institutions to help lower operating costs, while also making investments in sustainability, worker equity, and community organizing. As a cooperative, CPA is wholly owned by its members, creating a business that serves their needs first. Through aggregation and group procurement of services, CPA helps its members save money and get better service, while also holding vendors to higher standards in terms of environmental and worker practices.

novmeeting5.jpg

What we do

 

CPA currently offers expertise and competitive group procurement for services including electric and gas supply service, waste pick-up, heating/cooling system maintenance, and installation of solar panels. CPA plans to expand its offerings to include janitorial service, landscaping, snow removal, telephone, security, food service, and energy efficiency upgrades. CPA will also offer deep discounts from national vendors for purchasing of office supplies, cleaning supplies, facilities maintenance/ repair products, copier leasing, and other services. Finally, CPA facilitates peer-to-peer sharing of best practices and in the future intends to offer programs for shared services and other operational improvements.

As a cooperative, CPA builds trust, investment and ownership from its members by facilitating expert negotiation, facilitated group decision-making, improved vendor accountability, superior customer service, and peer-to-peer sharing of best practices.

 

Our leadership

 

Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) has the unique asset of being a business commissioned by a group of passionate customers. The administrators of six churches, a synagogue, a school and a community organizer, spent a year investing their own money in a feasibility study and then combining their resources to hire an Executive Director and consultant to help launch the cooperative. Their leadership role as the cooperative's Steering Committee and now Board of Directors is what drives the on-going development of this new social enterprise.

H90C5280.jpg

Our Goals 

& ASPIRATIONS

 

  • Deliver significant savings and value to participating institutions

  • Be self-sustaining financially and be able to seed other cooperative ventures

  • Be able to share net proceeds to support community organizing 

  • Deliver significant savings and value to participating institutions

  • Grow to 200+ members in the greater Washington/Baltimore region, offer purchasing opportunities in fifteen service areas, secure millions in annual savings for members, and generate hundreds of thousands in annual rebate revenue
  • Keep operating costs low to be able to support community organizing and cooperative development and offer dividends back to members
  • Leverage 50 million in group purchasing power for serious investments in sustainability, just wages and labor practices for workers, and local community wealth building.

Our history 

In 2010: Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), a Metro IAF affiliate organization, notices that utility expenses were a very significant portion of its members’ operating budgets and decides to facilitate a bulk purchasing effort.

In 2011: Twelve congregations purchase electricity together and save nearly $100,000. Word spread quickly and the effort grows to more than 110 participants in 2012.

By late 2012: A leadership team from the participating institutions explores the potential of expanding to other services.

In 2013: The team asks WIN and Metro IAF to help create the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) and explore feasibility of becoming a self-sustaining purchasing cooperative.

In 2014: The feasibility study is a success. Founding members incorporate to make CPA Co-op an official entity, and CPA continues to grow. 

In 2015: CPA develops new program offerings based on the needs of members and begins cultivating a peer group of public charter school leaders in Washington, DC.

By 2016, CPA has aggregated more than $10.7 million in annual service contracts, saves members more than 1.1 million, and becomes profitable in the process.  Dividend checks are distributed to members pro-rata based on their purchasing.

In 2017, CPA pioneers a cooperative solar initiative that secures more than 5 million in savings for members. CPA also launches www.marvl.org for members to share reviews of vendors and begins developing a toolkit for others interested in the model to learn more: toolkit.cpa.coop.