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Local Economy

Business Services: Graphic Design | Insurance | Machine Shop | Manufacturers | Networking | Office Supplies | Prototyping | Resources | Sustainability Consultant | Website Design

Cooperatives: Artists Co-ops, Childcare & Education Co-ops, Consumer Co-ops, Housing Co-ops, Land Trusts, Mutual Insurance, Worker Co-ops
Funding | Neighborhood Business Associations | Resources for non-profits | Jobs

  • Business Services
    • Graphic Design
    • Insurance
    • Machine Shop
      • J.A. Emilius Sons | 537 Woodland Ave, Cheltenham Village PA 19012 | 215-379-6162
    • Manufacturers
      • New Age Blast Media | crushed glass blasting abrasive |
      • Wayne Mills | manufacturers of quality narrow fabrics, tapes & light webbings | Philadelphia PA 19144 |
    • Networking
    • Office Supplies
    • Prototyping
      • The Factory | machine tools & more | 13 Fern Ave, Collingswood NJ | Tom Marchetty or Josh Longsdorf | tmarchetty [at]
      • Hive76 | a hackerspace with hackers, DIYers, Makers | 915 Spring Garden (Suite 519), Phila PA |
      • The Hacktory | repurposing technology, making art |
      • NextFab | tools for fabrication, including laser cutters, plasma cutter, both TIG and MIG welding, CNC router, and much more. They also have designers on hand to help folks transform their ideas to real designs and objects |
    • Resources
    • Sustainability Consultant
    • Website Design
  • Cooperatives
    • Artists Cooperatives
      • Artforms Gallery | 4450 Main Street, Philadelphia, PA | (215) 483-3030
      • Da Vinci Art Alliance | Originally serving only a group of Italian-American artists, the Da Vinci Art Alliance is now an artists cooperative welcoming a diverse group of artistic talents. Although the group has received funding from several Philadelphia-based groups, it is largely self-supported through membership dues. The gallery hosts a number of events, from its all-media members’ exhibition to art workshops and art history lectures. The alliance is currently comprised of 154 members, who the website claims are the first and foremost priority of the gallery.
        704 Catharine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 | (215) 829-0466 |
      • Green Street Artists Cooperative | Building houses 17 living and studio spaces, cooperatively run, by the residents.
        5225 Greene St, Phila PA 19144 |
      • Highwire Gallery | a non-profit, cooperative arts venue, strives to “provide the community [both the artist community and the Philadelphia community] with artistic variety” – it features monthly art exhibits along with live music, video, and performance art – “and interactive shows to explore the creative process, free of restrictions often found in commercial galleries.” Everything is artist-run at Highwire, as they are “fully responsible for the vision and operation of their organization. Curating, jurying, collaborating and exhibiting are all within the scope of every member artist.” Every month, members are expected to pay fees, attend meetings, and work at the gallery, and attend gallery functions. In return, members can display their art in group and individual exhibitions, participate on various committees, and vote on issues pertaining to the operations and growth of Highwire gallery
        2040 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125 | (215) 426-2685 |
      • Mascher Space Co-op | Dance and Art Space provided in cooperative.
        155 Cecil B. Moore Ave Phila, PA |
      • Muse Gallery | As an artist-run gallery, Muse Gallery, whose name is taken from the Greek goddess of the arts, “affirms the role of the arts in the community: to provoke thoughtfulness, stir the senses, awaken awareness of beauty and to lead us beyond ourselves.” Every month, members, who must pay an initial $100 fee, are expected to attend meetings, pay small fees, and watch over the gallery at least once. In return, members are able to participate in several group exhibitions, show their work in an individual exhibit every two years, and display work in the gallery’s Artist Book and online.
        52 N 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | (215) 627-5310 |
      • Nexus Art Gallery | Since 1975, Nexus Art Gallery has served as Philadelphia’s first non-profit, artist-run gallery “dedicated to supporting local emerging and experimental artists engaged in new art practices.” The gallery engages in dialogue with its audience on three fronts. Firstly, it showcases art that explores current issues and themes. Secondly, the gallery ensures the accessibility of its art by giving the artists a venue “free of commercial restrictions and censorship” and offering “extended programming such as artist lectures, panel discussions, exhibition catalogs, workshops, or performances” with each of its exhibitions. Finally, the gallery seeks to educate younger artists about art and current art issues through its NEXUSselects program. During the summer, the gallery runs the Summer Community Arts Series, in which it provides “professional gallery space to community art organizations, which in turn brings focus to their mission, adds value to their program and enriches the experience of their participants.” Nexus Art Gallery chooses its members through a peer-review selection process. In exchange for fees, meeting attendance, and gallery staffing and work, members receive, among other benefits, access to both solo and group exhibitions, access to funding, and the ability to cooperate with similar galleries.
        1400 N American Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 | (215) 684-1946 |
      • Space 1026 | Space 1026 is an artists cooperative, or a “seven-year experiment” in creating and producing art for its members. Space 1026 is “a community – not an institution” comprised of a network of dozens of past and present artists who have either had studios or just admired art at the “Space” at 11th and Arch.
        1026 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | (215) 574-7630 |
      • Third Street Gallery | a cooperative gallery consisting of 26 members.
        58 N. Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | (215) 625-0993 |
      • Vox Populi | Vox Populi is a non-profit, cooperative gallery that “supports the work of emerging artists with monthly exhibitions, gallery talks, performances and lectures.” Vox Populi fosters an environment in which artists can “experiment, take risks and gain valuable experience in launching their professional careers.” The gallery consists of a rotating membership whose individuals must pay monthly fees, attend monthly meetings, help staff the gallery, and participate on committees in exchange for the ability to showcase their work in group and individual exhibitions. “To this end,” says its mission statement, “we have developed comprehensive exhibition schedule including solo show of both member and guest artists, a curated video lounge, annual guest-curated shows, exchanges with peer organizations and group shows that provide critical exposure for under-represented artists.”
        319 N 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 | (215) 238-1236 |
      • Zone One | 139 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | (215) 829-8995
      • Additional Artists Cooperatives, outside Philadelphia
        • ACPPA Artists Cooperative | Committed to providing access to arts education opportunities in the Norristown community as well as Montgomery County. We offer a great variety of outreach programs that can be tailored to fit your facility…ACPPA Community Art Center is an active community collaborator and has been named the leading arts education organization in Norristown. We are a member of both the Interagency Council of Norristown and the Norristown Youth Development Coalition.”
          506 Haws Avenue, Norristown, PA 19401 | (484) 681-4847 |
        • Firehouse Bicycles | Firehoues Bicycles is an incorporated partnership that sells bikes and bike parts (both used and new) and offers repair services to its clients. Says its website of the organization’s democratic structure, “We believe that sustainable technology, recycling, and workplace democracy are three vital keys to a future worth living in. We don’t have bosses, don’t want them, don’t need them.”
          5000 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143 | (215) 727-9692 |
    • Childcare and Education
      • The Big Backyard | Located in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy neighborhood, “the Big Backyard fosters the emotional, social, and intellectual growth of children by making each child feel safe, respected and loved. We do so by welcoming diversity, inviting self-expression and demonstrating through words and action that we care for each other.” As a parent cooperative, the Big Backyard hopes parents will share their talents and interests to “help enrich the learning experience for both adults and children.” In addition, says its brochure, parent co-oping both helps keep the child to adult ratio at a low 5:1 and serves as a smooth transition between home life and the full-time school experience.
        240 East Gowen Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119 | (215) 248-0919 |
      • Childspace Cooperative Development, Inc | Childspace CDI, seeks to evolve the childcare field through three primary methods, all of which are rooted in a basic recognition of the importance of its care workers: implementing a democratic structure that gives employees a say in the co-op’s operations, training workers to take care of their personal finances, and working to improve employee subsidies and benefits. Says its website, “The child care field will only be improved when early educators take leadership in informing parents and the larger community of the importance of their work, and how crucial it is to adequately fund the education of young children and fairly compensate teachers.” In addition to providing the best possible care for children, Childspace CDI is also involved in a number of advocacy efforts to educate the community about the importance of a healthy childcare system. Child care providers are also encouraged to educate themselves about relevant policies, join committees to improve the level of care given, and organize and participate in events for parents and care workers to share information and experiences.
        (215) 842-3050 | 5517 Greene Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144 |
      • The Cooperative Nursery School | With a long tradition of balancing structure and work with freedom and play,” the Cooperative Nursery School “is a child-centered space that invites children to investigate independence, construct and create, voice the mind and heart, collaborate with a community of learners, and celebrate childhood.” Parents are very involved at the Cooperative Nursery School, both in the clasroom (parents take on numerous volunteer roles, share traditions or experiences, and even help teach languages or instruments) and outside (parents are required to partake in cleanup days and fundraiser events). According to its philosophy, “At the nursery school, parents gain a greater understanding and enjoyment of their child and their early years; they help their child towards independence in his or her first step away from home. The program is unique in offering parents opportunities for learning and putting into practice ways of enjoying the preschool child and the magic years.”
        6503 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119 | (215) 844-5770 |
      • The Parent-Infant Center | Ever since 1983, the Parent-Infant Center (PIC) has existed to serve families whose incomes are too high to receive public funding, but who cannot afford to pay the rising costs of child care. PIC believes that the early years of development are monumental not just for a child, but for the entire family. Thus, PIC’s “uniquely participatory approach involves parents in most phases of the center’s work – from volunteering in the classroom to serving on the board of directors.” PIC strives to exchange information, make dynamic decisions, and provide parenting support. Children, from ages six years to five months, both work alone and in groups, fostered by a low child-adult ratio (thanks to its mandatory parent volunteer days). PIC also works to build community in and out of the classroom, and approach problems with cooperation, not conflict.
        4205 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 222-5480 |
      • Project Learn | For 38 years, Project Learn has served as Mt. Airy’s cooperative elementary and middle school. As a parent cooperative, it strives to incorporate students’ parents into the educational experience as much as possible: “Just as parents determine the goals, focus and philosophy of the school, students – working with teachers and parents – shape their educational goals and decide specific topics of study they are interested in pursuing,” its mission statement says. The structure of Project Learn sets itself apart from traditional educational systems in a number of ways. For one, many of its classes are “vertically grouped,” in that they consist of students of all ages. In addition, Project Learn places a strong emphasis on Group Time, during which students are grouped and assigned to a project designed to foster a sense of leadership and cooperation in all involved. Project Learn believes in incorporating not just parents, teachers, and administrators in educational decisions, but students as well: “Since education is only meaningful when students are personally involved, we believe in giving students the opportunity to share in the planning and directing of their education. The school strives to provide a productive and creative learning environment that meets the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs of every student.” Finally, Project Learn works hard to build community, whether it is in the classroom, through activities such as Group Time, or in the Mt. Airy community, where students utilize local resources and perform community service.
        6525 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119 | (215) 438-3623 |
      • Saint Mary’s Nursery School | St. Mary’s Nursery School is a parent cooperative preschool serving children from ages eight months to five years. Through participation on the Board of Directors, volunteer efforts on workdays, and involvement in fundraising, parents are a key player in the preschool. St. Mary’s hopes to act as a smooth transition for students to school by challenging them to make touch decisions while respecting that forcing children to participate in activities beyond their developmental abilities is only detrimental. By teaching children of a mixed-age group, and thus never moving them from classroom to classroom, the school hopes to foster a strong sense of community.
        3916 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 386-0321 |
      • Saint Peter Parents Cooperative
        2169 74th Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19138 | (215) 924-8745
      • Smith Playground Parent Cooperative Preschool | Located at a playground/playhouse, “For over 40 years, Smith has been home to a unique co-operative pre-school program. The pre-school meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, October-April and is open to children ages 3-4.” The tuition is $300 per year.
        East Fairmount Park (33rd and Oxford Streets), Philadelphia, PA, 19121 | (215) 765-4325 |
      • Other childcare groups, outside Philadelphia
        • Charlestown Playhouse | “Playschool teachers approach the care of young children with open minds and warm hearts and with certain basic beliefs about the preschool child,” says its mission statement. “Every child needs two things: love and respect. To believe in themselves, children need to feel that the adults around them believe in them as separate individuals with the right to form their own opinions, express their own desires, and to make their own mistakes.” As a parent cooperative, Charlestown Playhouse works to create an environment in which “teachers, parents, and children can learn and grow together. In keeping with the spirit of Playschool, parents cooperate both in attending to the physical requirements of the school and in participating in the learning experiences of the children by helping in the classroom.” Charlestown finds four primary benefits of parent cooperatives: they keep tuitions low, they create a low child-to-adult ratio, they allow parents to incorporate insights learned in the classroom to their own homes, and they foster a strong sense of values and communities.
          2478 Charlestown Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460 | (610) 933-2762 |
        • Crossing Cooperative Nursery School | Since 1958, Crossing Cooperative Nursery School (CCSN) has been “a cooperative endeavor, bringing together a distinctive group of parents and talented educators. It has been operating continuously since then as a non-profit, non-sectarian nursery school for children of families in nearby communities.” While the Educational Director, teachers, and teachers assistants are responsible for helming the pre-school’s curriculum, CCNS is completely owned and run by its parent membership. The Board of Officers and Trustees, comprised of twelve volunteer parents and the Educational Director, decide the school’s general operations (e.g. policy making and event planning). The school’s mission emphasizes the necessary commitment – service on either the Board or a committee, helping fundraise, and participating in a group “scrub-up” of toys, – from membership parents: “Once your child walks into our little red schoolhouse, you are making a conscious choice to become actively involved in his or her preschool education. This is what we refer to as the Cooperative Difference.” Members are asked to pay a $150 membership bond, which is refunded after “successful completion of your cooperative obligations.
          1260 Lord Sterling Road, PO Box 112, Washington Crossing, PA 18977 | (215) 493-2535 | crossingcoop
        • The Miquon School | “The Miquon School treasures and celebrates childhood…We seek to create confident, life-long learners who will move out into the wider world with strong academic and social skills, intense personal interests, a love for the arts, and a commitment to building inclusive and peaceful communities.” The elected, 20-member Board of Directors, comprised of teachers, current parents, and alumni parents, oversees the school’s general operations and has four primary responsibilities: “it selects, evaluates, and supports the Principal of the School, to whom it delegates authority to manage the School; it develops broad institutional policies that guide the Principal in running the School; it plans and provides oversight of the annual operating budget, oversees the School’s endowments, sponsors development activities, and maintains the financial well-being of the School; and it nurtures a sense of community-wide involvement and support of the School.” Miquon prides itself in progressive education, which rests on core values such as “active learning,” “strong community,” and “social justice and democracy.”
          2025 Harts Lane, Conshohocken, PA 19428 | (610) 828-1231 |
        • Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery | Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery (TCDN) is a cooperative that offers educational programs for children through kindergarten. It is run by a Board of Directors, primarily composed of parents. Parent cooperation is necessary for the success of TCDN, and parents are invited to sit in on board meetings and assist in fundraising events. “The cooperative nature of TCDN is manifest in the spirit that guides the interchange between those of us involved with the organization, a spirit of willingness, openness and of caring. This is evident in the receptivity of staff to the needs of parents, an attitude that enables parents to feel they have an appreciation for and active role in their child’s day. It is mirrored in the sensitivity on the part of parents to the needs of each site,” its handbook says. To continue the spirit of “family groupings” TCDN runs according to a mixed-age educational model.
          301 N. Chester Road, Swarthmore, PA 19081 | (610) 544-4555 |
        • Ukrainian Co-Op Nursery | 700 N. Cedar Road, Jenkintown, PA 19046 | (215) 663-0381
    • Consumer Co-ops
      • Beachcomber’s Swim Club
    • Food Co-ops
    • Housing Co-ops
      • 2101 Walnut Co-op | 118 S 21st St, Phila PA | Manager: Duane Taylor | 215-567-1780
      • Delaware Valley Association of Housing Cooperatives (DVAHC) | 703 North 8th St., Suite 2, Philadelphia PA 19123 | 347-432-7221 |
      • Friends Housing Cooperative | 703 N 8th Street, Suite 1, Philadelphia, PA 19123 | (215) 922-4622 |
      • Kennedy House | 1901 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia PA 19103 | 215-568-7012
      • Life Center Association | To promote neighborhood stability, combat community deterioration, provide relief to the poor, distressed and underprivileged…by purchasing property in the Cedar Park neighborhood and other neighborhoods in the district of West Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and holding the property in trust, keeping it affordable and well-maintained for the long-term use of low to moderate income individuals, relief agencies, and tax exempt organizations in the neighborhoods where the property is located | 4722 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143 |
      • Penn Center House | 1900 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia PA 19103 | 215-563-5580.
      • The Simple Way Community | 3234 Potter St, Phila PA 19134 |
      • Tulpehocken Apartments
      • Valley Green Apts | Germantown, Phila PA | 215-844-7750
      • Vernon House Co-op Apartments | 6445 Greene St, Phila PA 19119 |
      • William Penn House | 1919 Chestnut St., Philadelphia PA 19103 | 215-568-4926 |
    • Land Trusts and Housing Cooperatives
      • Casa Amistad | According to the Intentional Communities directory [note: the information on Casa Amistad has not been updated since 2000, and no other information is currently available] Casa Amistad is “a ministry of a loving, peaceful presence to a neighborhood known for violence, poverty, and drugs.” Located at a park reclaimed from drug dealers, Casa Amistad serves to “ make improvements in the park, sustain a community garden, create activities for local children, address neighborhood needs and crises, and build a supportive community.” It is a three-story row house home to [at the time of publishing] three adults and two children. The house hosts regular neighborhood gatherings and bi-weekly meetings for unprogrammed worship and prayer. Faith plays a role in this community housing: “We are attempting to live faithfully, prophetically, and with joy,” members say, “testifying to the reality and power of God’s active presence in the world and in our daily lives and at the same time calling/inviting others to transformed ways of thinking and living.”
        2615 N 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19133 | (215) 423-7465 |
      • Bryn Gweled Homesteads | “We are neither a utopian community nor a perfectly homogenous group. We are an intentional community of diverse individuals who respect our differences, work together for common benefits, and enjoy good times together,” says the Bryn Gweled website. Decisions are made at regular monthly meetings that are led by an elected group of leaders and run democratically and via consensus. Members of the cooperative are expected to contribute to the maintenance of the community, be it through committees, participation in work parties, or volunteer jobs. In return, members are welcome to a number of events throughout the year, and are granted access to “an organic community garden, a community swimming pool, tennis courts, a soccer field, and a community center.” The membership process is somewhat involved and extensive, “for Bryn Gweled is not just a place to live, but also a way of living. And along with the freedoms of ownership and self-governance comes a greater set of responsibilities on the part of the people who live here. All of our lives are intertwined in some way with one another. We have to know, trust, and depend on each other in ways that people living in a usual neighborhood do not.”
        132 Street Road, Upper Southampton Township PA 18966 |  (215) 953-8884 |
      • Tanguy Homesteads | Comprised of almost 100 members, Tanguy Homesteads “is guided by a set of bylaws, but change is a source of constant renewal.” There is no identified leader (although there is a leadership core group), and all decisions are made through consensus. Each resident is expected to both attend monthly meetings and join at least one committee, such as the Activities, Community Building, or Finance Committee. Tanguy strives to establish a sense of community by implementing workdays, welcoming a diverse group of people, and hosting community “celebrations, holidays, ball games, fishing contests, singing, dances, and potlucks.” Each member family owns a 2-acre house and is granted access to the “community center, ball field, pond, and woods.” New members must pay a $500 fee, a sum that will be returned upon selling share to new member. In addition, members are required to pay a $50 fee to help maintain the facility.
        37 Twin Pine Way, Glen Mills, PA 19342 | (610) 339-6724 |
    • Mutual Insurance Companies
      • Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company | PO Box 178, Philadelphia PA 19105-0178. 215-956-8000. 6/10 from website: Founded in 1847, Penn Mutual is the nation’s second oldest mutual life insurer. The company provides life insurance and annuity products through a national network of producers and financial advisors who help clients meet their financial needs with confidence. The company’s national headquarters are located in Horsham, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia. [Not known: Degree of democracy, i.e., does every policy holder have one and only one vote?]
    • Worker Co-ops
      • Childspace Cooperative Development, Inc | 5517 Greene St, Philadelphia PA 19144 | 215-842-3050 |
      • The Energy Cooperative | non-profit, 6500 member-owned organization formed in 1979 | 1528 Walnut Street, Suite 2100, Philadelphia, PA, 19102 | (215) 413-2122 |
      • Fiume | 229 S 45th St, Phila PA 19139 | worker-owned bar
      • Greensaw Design & Build | 820 N 4th St, Phila, PA |
      • Home Care Associates of Philadelphia | 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 1000, Philadelphia PA 19102 | 267-238-3231, 800-735-0870 |
      • Wooden Shoe Books & Records | member-owned democratically owned cooperative selling literature & music of anarchist, radical & social justice ideologies | 508 South 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 | 215.413.0999 |