Cleveland nonprofit helps local insulation company become employee-owned
By: Peter Krouse | Cleveland.com | February 20, 2020
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cleveland nonprofit dedicated to preserving jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods added to its portfolio of employee-owned businesses this week with the purchase of an energy-audit and insulation services company.
Evergreen Cooperatives is financing the transition of Berry Insulation on East 25th Street between Payne and Superior avenues to a new ownership structure that will provide 15 employees with equal stakes in the company and entitle them to equal shares of the profit.
Evergreen provided for the acquisition of 80 percent of Berry Insulation through a so-called Fund for Employee Ownership. Fund investors include the Quality Jobs Fund, which is a creation of the philanthropic New World Foundation in New York City, and the Kendeda Fund of Atlanta.
Berry Insulation will repay the fund over time under terms that are far more accommodating than those of a commercial bank loan, said company founder Martin Berry. He described the investment by the fund as “extremely patient capital.”
The company also will benefit by being part of the Evergreen network of companies, which includes an industrial laundry in Glenville and Collinwood and a hydroponic growing operation in the city’s Central neighborhood. Both were started by Evergreen and are employee owned. They were created with the goal of providing jobs for people with high barriers to employment and as a means to revitalize neighborhoods.
The Fund for Employee Ownership represents a new Evergreen initiative, created with the purpose of preserving jobs, creating wealth for workers and helping small business owners transition into retirement.
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