Welcome to ChiCommons LWCA

ChiCommons is a multi-stakeholder organization that grew out of local Civic Tech and Sustainability volunteer movements for common good — and evolved into a Limited Worker Cooperative Association (LWCA).  We are based in the Chicago, Illinois, USA region — and focus on global cooperative, peer-to-peer commons, and asset-based community development principles.

Cooperatives are people-centered enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members (co-owners) to realize their common economic, social, environmental, and cultural needs and aspirations. ChiCommons volunteers and owners are people with time, talent, and tools to apply to such needs.

Our Vision

We believe in empowered, integrated, equitable, cooperative/solidarity economies across the Chicago region; connected globally. 

The solidarity economy” is a broad term for a framework of social and economic development that puts “People and Planet” before extractive private profits and power. Recent events have proven that a solidarity approach is needed urgently and at all scales to help fight systemic problems like wealth inequality, disease, racism, digital divides, food insecurity, and climate change.

Emerging “platform cooperatives” like ChiCommons are a way to build up communities in a modern digital way.

We seek volunteers, consumer co-owners, worker co-owners, and clients to make this solidarity vision a reality. Interested?

Our Geographic Scope

Since our owners all lived in Chicago, we started there. However, we focus on the entire Chicago region, with a population of 8,957,336 according to 2019 Census estimates. If you want to see more, check out our map for coops in your area.

Our Mission

ChiCommons LWCA’s mission is to cooperatively foster and grow a people-owned solidarity economy.

We do this by volunteering to convene and map the solidarity economy ecosystem in the greater Chicago area (see adjacent “Area of Interest” picture), and providing paid professional services to local movements and enterprises to help them flourish, via our ChiCommons Consulting arm. Along the way, we integrate with global movements and frameworks to learn from each other and multiply our impacts.

The Chicago region is a dynamic crossroads of cultures, commerce and innovation.

Yet, our area also has a legacy problems of inequality, disinvestment, and exclusion. Too often existing institutions have ignored whole geographic, demographic, and generational segments of our communities, including access to technology and life’s necessities.

We at ChiCommons are co-building an ecosystem to be part of the solutions!

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