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.
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.
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.
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.