What is Co-Purchase Colorado? Co-Purchase Colorado (CPC) is an initiative of Center for Community Wealth Building (CCWB) designed to leverage congregations’ buying power to create meaningful change in the local economy. CCWB is recruiting congregations across the Front Range who want to shift their spending to embody their social and racial justice values, specifically by purchasing needed goods and services from local, BIPOC-owned, immigrant-owned, woman-owned, LGTBQ-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
When was CPC established?CPC was launched in October 2020 and is being co-created by CCWB and partner congregations. It is modeled after the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) in Washington, D.C. that started in 2011 with 12 entities coming together to collectively purchase energy. Today, they are a self-sustaining purchasing cooperative with over 100 members. In 2020, they collaborated on $15.1 million in contracts and purchases. CPC is just getting started, but the intent is to grow!
Participating congregations and businesses agree to a set of Values and Expectations to indicate their intention to engage and ensure that everyone is aligned. If congregations want to test the waters before signing the Agreement, they are welcome to attend the monthly virtual CPC convenings to get a better feel for things.
After signing the Agreement, congregations share their needs for goods and services with CCWB, indicating purchasing areas they are open to shifting from their current vendors. The intent is to shift spending away from unsatisfactory vendors, and shift spending away from corporate vendors. CCWB is not trying to shift spending away from satisfactory, locally-owned businesses that a congregation utilizes.
What does CCWB do with the information on my congregation’s spending practices?Congregational spending practices are confidential and are not shared outside of CCWB. CCWB uses congregation data to determine needed goods and services and then builds relationships with vendors in those categories that embody the values of CPC and are ready and able to meet the needs of congregations.
What kind of spending is best suited to CPC?At this point, the goal is to bring as much steady, new business as possible to local, BIPOC-owned, immigrant-owned, woman-owned, LGTBQ-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. Therefore, contract spending is ideal (e.g. snow removal), as are large ticket items (e.g. a new roof), or consistent needs (e.g. coffee and flowers).
How does my congregation connect with CPC businesses? Currently, CCWB posts lists of businesses on its website that it has met and researched for alignment with CPC goals. CCWB builds a relationship with the business owners for purposes of understanding their business capacity, compliance with applicable industry regulatory requirements, employment practices, customer satisfaction, and commitment to racial and social justice values. The list of businesses is being built out based on the high priority categories of participating congregations.
For one-off, non-contract spending, congregations are encouraged to connect directly with the businesses listed on CCWB’s website.
For contract spending, CCWB will gather congregations’ requirements and produce a Request for Proposal to circulate to businesses. CCWB will review all bids and compile the options for congregations to review. This approach to contract spending has advantages for both businesses and congregations. All decisions for purchasing are at the sole discretion of each congregation.
Do congregations have to use CPC businesses? No, there are no purchasing requirements. The goal, however, is for each congregation to move as much of their spending as possible to identified CPC businesses as opportunities arise. There will be opportunities through annual contracts and one-off jobs. In addition, we encourage congregations to share the business lists with their congregants and other contacts. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to grow their customer base.
What does it cost to be part of CPC?: There are currently no fees for congregations or participating businesses. If the prototype is successful meeting the needs and interests of congregations and helping local businesses increase their revenues, participating congregations and businesses will explore creating a structure that allows CPC to be a self-sustaining purchasing cooperative that earns revenues through membership fees and/or a percentage of the contracts and jobs brokered between partners.
What is the time commitment?
Initial time requirements:
30 minute get-acquainted phone call.
Time necessary to gain approval from your organization for participating in CPC. The time will vary by congregation. CCWB is available to answer questions or give a presentation to support an entity’s decision making process.
Approximately 1 hour: Collecting relevant spend information.
.5 - 1.0 hour conversation to discuss spend information with CCWB.
1.5 hour monthly Zoom call (currently on the third Wednesday of the month from 2:30-4 p.m.). All partner congregations are encouraged to participate in these monthly check-ins. Participants discuss their experience connecting with a CPC vendor, identify new spending priorities, as well as engage as thought partners to help shape and refine CPC.
Contract spend. Congregations interested in participating in an industry specific bid through CPC will be expected to:
Provide specific details on their job requirements
Provide input and approve the RFP that CCWB will draft
Review the finalists and hopefully move forward with a contract
15 - 30 minutes - Complete a Quarterly Report to measure CPC impact. The report captures the number of CPC vendors you have reached out to and how much you have spent with CPC vendors.
How can I help CPC reach its potential?
Refer additional congregations to CCWB.
Refer high quality businesses to CCWB.
Provide feedback to CCWB on what’s working well and what’s challenging about CPC.
Use CPC-affiliated vendors and actively participate in monthly congregation check-in meetings, providing feedback and bringing forward new opportunities for shifting purchasing of needed goods and services. We are in this together. We are stronger together.