BCDI (Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative)
BCDI (Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative) is a nonprofit organization that provides education and training to entrepreneurs who seek to build innovative social enterprises that build democracy, social equity, and environmental sustainability. CommonWise's principal effort, the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative, is an innovative model for community-led urban economic development.
Launched in 2011 following a year-long community engagement process led by Bronx-based institutions, grassroots organizations and civic leaders, BCDI is working to build a network of employee-owned, sustainable businesses in the poorest urban county in the United States, where over 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
BCDI's efforts emerge from the long-standing frustration of Bronx-based organizations and leaders with previous development proposals that promised to bring meaningful economic returns to the borough and its residents but failed to deliver. Historically, economic development initiatives in the Bronx have narrowly focused on predominantly low-wage job creation without the potential for local residents to build equity or increase their monetary assets. As a result, these ventures concentrated wealth generated in the Bronx among few individuals and failed to improve the financial futures of the local workforce or strengthen the local economy.
Alternatively, BCDI builds on successful models for urban economic development in the United States and abroad that create not only life-affirming, living wage jobs but also the opportunity for local residents to accumulate wealth—through ownership.