Posts in Insight
New Life in A Broken Economy: A Strategy Input Session on Organizing, Finance, and CPA’s Future 

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. 

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Aging HVAC Systems: To Repair or Replace, That is the Question!

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.

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CPA’s Future: A Strategy Input Session

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.

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Anchor Institutions and the Purchasing Co-op

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.

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