In an effort to help people better understand what CDI does – and why our work is so crucial – we turned to the best asset we have. Our staff. The people who work at CDI are, if we may say so ourselves, brilliant at and passionate about what they do. They’re also proud of their work, and we wanted to share their reasons why. Below is the voice of Jeremiah Ward, a Housing Program Organizer under CDI’s NEROC Program and a Cooperative Development Specialist:
I love working at CDI because we not only get to help communities realize big achievements—such as the renovation of a food co-op or the purchase of a mobile home park by its residents—we get to help people grow and fine-tune the skills necessary to continue running their democratic business effectively on an everyday level. The big achievements may be more alluring to the press, but to me, it is just as important and exciting to see a mobile home co-op figure out a compromise to resolve a dispute over water usage, or to see one co-op board reach out to another co-op to help deal with an equipment breakdown.
Building a democratic business doesn’t stop when a business opens its doors. It is something that is practiced every day. I’m fortunate to work for an organization that builds this fact into the core of its programming. CDI’s resident owned communities and business ownership solutions programs in particular are exciting because the ongoing work of democracy-building—such as trainings on conflict resolution, running effective meetings and policy governance—is ensured through the life of the loan issued to purchase the community or business.