Today marks an exciting day for Savvy Cooperative, as we announce that our members voted in favor of additionally incorporating as a public benefit corporation (PBC).
PBCs expand their purpose beyond maximizing shareholder profits to also address stated public benefits. This legal structure creates transparency and legal accountability as companies elect to use the power of business as a mechanism for positive social and environmental impact. Notable PBCs include Kickstarter, Warby Parker and Patagonia.
Public benefit has always been at the heart of what we do. Our patient-owned co-op has been challenging the way business has been done since we began — by making patients our co-owners.
Becoming a public benefit corporation is a natural progression for the organization as we commit to empower diverse individuals to have a voice in the systems, solutions and decisions that affect them and their health.
Our members still have the same rights they did before, both to an equal vote in our decisions and eligibility to receive a share of our profits. In fact, it took a functioning co-op to even make this happen.
In order to receive PBC status, we had to actually change our articles of incorporation from just a (kick a**) Limited Cooperative Association (LCA) to a (super kick a**) Public Benefit Corporation-Limited Cooperative Association (PBC-LCA). Changing incorporation statuses is one of the most serious things a co-op can vote on, as previously there were not options to add incorporation statuses, just change to being a not co-op. :(
A PBC-LCA structure is a new incorporation status possible in the state of Colorado that allows co-ops to also incorporate as a public benefit corporation.
To change the articles of incorporation, we must have 2/3 (or 67%) of our members vote to approve. Getting 67% of anybody to do anything is a challenge, but we had 89% of our membership cast their votes, with all but 3 people voting in favor. A pretty remarkable turn out.
Savvy Cooperative members will not see any changes with this new structure, only a renewed commitment to the social mission of the organization. It means our directors are required to not only consider how to maximize profits, but also ensure we uphold and report on the public benefits to which we are committed:
We are thrilled that Savvy Cooperative is now legally committed to both social good as well as equitable and democratic business practices. We hope that we will be one of many organizations that that choose such a path with legal and public accountability — because wouldn’t it be nice if more business put its people and and public benefit at the forefront of what they do?
Savvy Cooperative accelerates the development of patient-centered products and solutions by providing a gig economy marketplace for patient insights. Companies and innovators can connect directly with diverse patients and consumers to participate in market research, user-testing, discussion boards and co-design opportunities. Using a unique co-op model, Savvy Cooperative is the first patient-owned platform that empowers patients to use their health experiences to advance research, resources and product development. For more information about Savvy Cooperative, please visit www.savvy.coop and follow Savvy Coop on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.