The 2017 Annual Report for ACBA (our 501(c)6) and ACBF (our 501(c)3) is now available. Thanks to everyone who helped put this report together, and to everyone who contributed to ACBA/ACBF's many accomplishments over the past year!
Board Member Spotlight: Ryan Nill
By Annelies Lottmann
I’m thrilled to introduce you to Ryan Nill, ACBA’s Treasurer. Ryan has been part of the ACBA Board of Directors since 2015 and first fell in love with co-ops when he was in college. I asked him to tell me a little about his role on the Board, and his life outside of co-op work. He’s a real cool cat and has lots of experience and expertise about housing cooperatives. Stay Tuned next month for another Board Member Spotlight!
What is your role on the Board of Directors?
I’m the treasurer, but most of my work has been leading our Housing Advocacy Campaign. We have had several successes including a couple of resolutions passed by City Council and a much higher awareness of co-ops amongst the city’s leadership.
What’s rewarding about your volunteer work with ACBA?
It keeps me grounded in a community and tribe. I think it’s an antidote to the modern problem of technology which encourages intimate and loose connections at the expense of those moderate connections.
How has ACBA’s work impacted your life?
It has given me many different venues to talk about my housing situation and my work. That much exposure has led me to feel like to go to person on co-ops, for people that are not very familiar with them.
What work do you do outside of your involvement with ACBA?
I’m an Account Manager and Secretary of the Board of the Key Figures Cooperative an accounting co-op.
Are you a native Austinite? If not, what brought you to Central Texas?
No, my dad enlisted in the Air Force around the time I was born. In chronological order, I lived San Francisco, Montgomery Alabama, Panama, San Antonio, Alamogordo New Mexico, England, Clovis New Mexico, and San Antonio again. My dad left the service and started working in San Antonio around the time of I graduated. My family still lives in and near San Antonio and I have been in Austin since I went to college.
What do you like doing when you aren’t working or volunteering?
○ Playing video games and board games
○ Rock climbing
○ Walking my dog
○ Listening to 2-3 hour long podcasts where people I disagree with discuss topics with other people I disagree with. Usually about politics, history, philosophy or science.
Want to learn how to get involved? Click here to learn more.
This summer ACBA’s Outreach and ACBF’s Education Committees collaborated to host three events on co-ops. In June, Annelies Lottman of Texas Rural Cooperative Center presented Co-ops 101, an introduction to co-ops of all types at Wheatsville South. In July, we hosted a panel on Converting Your Business to a Worker Co-op, led by Andi Shively of Key Figures and Jon Lebkowsky of Polycot Associates. In August, Beth Beutel (of Black Star and Wheatsville Co-ops) led a panel on Finance and Accounting for Co-ops; both July and August events were held at 4th Tap Brewing.
These events were a great success, with dozens of attendees learning in-depth details about co-op business. Around 20 people attended July’s event. Many of the attendees for the whole series are exploring forming cooperative businesses, in fields ranging from tech to fitness to transportation. Attendees were excited to benefit from the experience and expertise of our panelists. The strong reception for these events makes us excited to continue programming them. Look forward to another Co-op 101 session in September, and additional workshops and panels every month!
Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 13 and we know you maybe out and about shopping for gifts for Mom. Shop AmazonSmile this Mother's Day. This is a great opportunity to increase Austin Cooperative Business Foundation's AmazonSmile donations by shopping at smile.amazon.com.
Your shopping matters. This Mother's Day, shop for Mom at smile.amazon.com/ch/81-2782668 and Amazon donates to Austin Cooperative Business Foundation.
Polycot Associates is a worker cooperative whose focus is on creating websites which are attractive, functional, and easy to maintain. Working primarily in the content management systems Drupal and Wordpress, Polycot prides itself in being able to leverage these open-source frameworks to deliver a custom web solution for a fraction of what other systems would cost. Their repertoire includes everything from simple informational websites to full-fledged web applications, e-commerce, multilingual sites, and more. This 6-owner team is looking to expand, so if you are a tech nerd and social intelligence is important to you, get in touch via their website below.
Polycot is also in the process of incubating a fledgling platform cooperative, WordJammers, providing written content on demand, like articles and blog posts. The member-owners of WordJammers, whose writing skills power the platform, will provide feedback to guide the development of the platform, and share in the profits of the business.
Guest blogger, Siyolo Ndika
Treasure City Thrift, a worker-run thrift store, started as an all volunteer-based collective to fund community organizations like the Inside Books Project (IBP),which sends books and educational materials to prisoners in Texas. Currently, we promote sustainability and zero-waste efforts to lessen our carbon footprint on this sacred planet and to educate our community on how to do the same.
As a donation based thrift store, located in the heart of the city’s eastside neighborhood, we are able to be in solidarity with over 20 local grassroots organizations through financial and material support such as shopping nights where 100% of sales during the event go to a monthly designated group such as Challenger Street Newspaper this February. Other efforts include continuously collecting art supplies for Puro-Chingon Art Collective or cycling items to support the Yellow Bike Project. Other groups we stand in solidarity with include Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, Black Sovereign Nation, Youth Rise Texas and many others who address local political, health, and cultural issues in Austin.
Stand in solidarity with us and support our community! A couple things to be on the lookout for include:
Our monthly 25 cent sale: February 17th, March 17th, April 21st from 11am-5pm
Really Really Free Market: February 25th, March 25th, April 29th from 1-3pm at Chestnut Park
Shopping Night: Challenger Street Newspaper: on February 22nd from 7-9pm
Bikes Across Borders: on April 6th from 7-9pm