108 Year Old Roof Replaced for Free During DC Solar Installation at Randall Memorial UMC
New Life in A Broken Economy: A Strategy Input Session on Organizing, Finance, and CPA’s Future
Team members of CPA Co-op recently had the chance to meet with leaders of Randall Memorial to learn more about their deep roots in Northeast DC as well as their 108 year old roof that was (not surprisingly) leaking and in need of constant repair after a century of use.
Randall Memorial United Methodist Church was founded in June of 1912 in Northeast DC. Standing in their beautiful sanctuary, one cannot help but imagine the thousands of worship services, meals, acts of kindness, choral concerts, assemblies that have taken place under their roof.
CPA Staff on Air
Last month CPA Co-op executive director Felipe Witchger hosted a strategy input session on how to breathe new life into a broken economy. Felipe set the stage for the call by sharing CPA Co-op’s success adding value on contract decisions for organizations who work together to tackle ambitious, mission-aligned economic actions. These actions position CPA to help community institutions writ large to think about all of their economic transactions, and integrate their values and mission and purpose into not just their purchasing, but also their real estate and their investing. Felipe brought together representatives from stakeholders across the country: co-op organizing and finance, credit unions and church mutuals, national co-op organizations and new start-ups, to explore this new economy. What follows is a series of highlights from this conversation.
Aging HVAC Systems: To Repair or Replace, That is the Question!
The Community Purchasing Alliance is starting to capture the attention of conferences and radio outlets from across the country. Here’s an incomplete list of all the speaking engagements and interviews we have coming up as well as recordings of those that have already happened:
CPA’s Future: A Strategy Input Session
I’ve heard some nightmarish HVAC tales, stories of success, and mostly lots of frustration, confusion, and anxiety around dealing with a building’s costliest and most complex systems.
These stories stem from the people who run many of our CPA member organizations - church administrators, school-based facility managers, and synagogue Executive Directors. They’ve been telling me about how they approach preventative maintenance (quarterly checkups vs. wait til it breaks), the ups and downs of service tech quality (some are trustworthy while others needed to be babysat), and how a new $2 Million system never worked quite right (and still doesn’t).
What I’ve learned that impressed me the most is that many have done an incredible job keeping old systems operating for decades, through a combination of regular maintenance, emergency repairs, and a little bit of duct tape and prayer.
We purchased $373,367 of electricity together in Connecticut
As CPA deepens its investment in the DC region and continues to look to growth in new regions, we convened a group of inspiring partners and entrepreneurial strategists interacting with the church and co-op sectors today. In a recent video call, our Executive Director, Felipe Witchger, reached out to colleagues across disciplines to do just that.
Anchor Institutions and the Purchasing Co-op
The industry has changed - too many suppliers will offer a low price, only to pass-through overcharges later on. CPA rigorously vets suppliers by analyzing the utility bills of hundreds of organizations to see how suppliers perform. Through this process, CPA is committed to achieving not just savings, but reliability. Constellation is one of a handful of suppliers CPA has pre-qualified to work with the Cooperative based on the strength of their contract, their observed business practices and their overall commitment to transparency and reliability.
DC Clean Energy Act: What You Need To Know
With the recent Amazon HQ2 bidding wars, it is clear cities need a more thoughtful approach to local economic development. As more nonprofits consider what a deliberate approach to re-making the economy might look like, we want to offer our community purchasing co-op model as a complement to the growing work of universities and hospitals trying to refocus on local, equitable economic development.
Last year over 100 small anchor institutions in Washington DC purchased $16.7 million of goods & services through the Community Purchasing Alliance Cooperative (CPA), with almost $10 million going to minority owned businesses.
Property Savvy or No?
We've spoken with a number of suppliers over the last few months about this legislation and potential impact, and here's what we've learned:
In short: If you're currently in a third party supply contract (including CPA aggregations), this legislation won't affect your current contract.
There's another way to do your janitorial RFP
Is it your full time job to manage a facility? Perhaps you have years of experience behind you, and you feel confident in your property know-how. OR maybe you are like Rev. Martha Clark at St. Augustine’s Episcopal in DC. She told our ED Felipe last week that at her church “none of us are property savvy at all.”
Click the video below to hear Rev. Clark share her testimonial of working with on of our preferred vendors.
Strength in Numbers: How 31 DC Institutions Worked Together to Fight Overcharges
We invited leaders in our member network to share their experience and insights to ensure that your next Janitorial RFP will run as smoothly as possible. Click to watch our video and learn more.
Sign or don’t sign?
Strength in numbers is not just a tagline for CPA Co-op, it is the philosophy behind everything we do. The strength of our group was displayed in full force last month when a routine PEPCO bill review forced us to confront the realities of a shifting energy industry.
A Whole New Network in Durham, NC
Time was tight. Sign or don’t sign? The organization that would soon become the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) had just emailed a draft contract that would save twelve religious institutions over $100,000 on their annual energy bills. The congregations had two hours to review and sign.
CPA can help with your security needs
CPA Co-op is growing! Building on our success in DC, we are launching a new co-op in Durham, North Carolina.
A note of solidarity
CPA helps 21 community institutions (mostly schools) procure $2.5 million per year in security staffing. Hourly rates range from $30-50 per hour for armed guards & off-duty police offers. More consistent scheduling (i.e. 20hrs/week), helps secure lower rates.
Want a Clean Energy Future? Build Power With Co-ops
Dear Friends, Members, Colleagues & CPA community,
When I was growing up, acts of mass violence and hate felt far away and infrequent. This week's violence, with the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, hits closer to home.
Want Clean Energy? Invest in Co-ops
What I’ve learned over the past 8 years, is that electricity contracts aren’t people focused, but they do want help getting it done. And ideally, they’d like it done right.
I watched the clean energy movement fall short in 2009 as climate policy failed to pass in the US Senate by one vote. After over a decade of work in energy analysis and procurement, I believe this movement failed because it did not have a clear understanding of how the utility sector works.