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How did you discover CPA Co-op? It’s likely a peer shared our stories with you. Can you take 2 minutes to share our Annual Meeting invite with a friend or colleague?
What if you know the vendors that your peers were using?
What if you had insight into their candid review of what their work was like?
I’d like to show you what we’ve started building with MARVL.
It’s not hard to see the great work that CPA is doing. The cooperative has brought hundreds of organizations together. And, together, these organizations have invested nearly $10 million in minority-owned businesses. Together, these organizations have redirected hundreds of thousands of dollars to renewable electricity and away from fossil fuels. Together, these organizations have contracted with facility cleaning companies that pay employees a living wage. But CPA does something else with all this togetherness—perhaps less intentionally—that gets me really excited as a Christian: CPA is radically healing the divisions in the church body.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.