Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative

Fordham Road and Webster Avenue in the Bronx. Fordham Road is the third largest retail corridor in New York City while the Bronx remains the poorest urban county in the country. Photo by Yorman Nunez.

Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative

Since 2011, CoLab has supported the establishment and operations of the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI)—a network of grassroots leaders, labor leaders, and anchor institutions whose mission is to end generational poverty in the Bronx through shared wealth and democratic ownership. Using a framework of economic democracy, BCDI partners are collaboratively building institutions and programs that leverage the Bronx’s existing assets to address the borough’s economic, social, and environmental challenges and support collective ownership models to distribute wealth and decision-making equitably.

Since its establishment in 2011, BCDI’s major accomplishments include:

  • the completion of a Bronx Development Study, in partnership with MIT DUSP, that identified short-, medium-, and long-term opportunities for broad-based economic development in five priority sectors: energy, health, manufacturing, food, and education; 
  • the development and launch of an Economic Democracy Training Series that educates grassroots leaders about the social and political dimensions of the economy and prepares them to plan and implement a more democratic and equitable local economy for the future; and 

  • the implementation of the Building Power and Healthy Buildings programs, which are upgrading faith-based institutions and multifamily buildings in the Bronx to save community members money on their utility bills, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve respiratory health, and create green local jobs.

BCDI is also currently developing a Local Business Procurement Platform, a digital marketplace that connects Bronx anchors and nonprofits with small businesses.


Nick Iuviene