Worker-Owned Home Care Cooperatives Are First in Their Industry to Be Certified as B Corporations
B Corporations Meet Higher Standards of Social and Environmental Performance, Transparency, and Accountability
Bronx, NY — Two home care agencies are taking the lead in publicly committing to the triple bottom line — people, planet, and profits — through their certification as B Corporations.
The Bronx-based Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) and Home Care Associates (HCA) of Philadelphia, two worker-owned, cooperative home care agencies, are the nation's first home care companies to earn B Corporation certification. Both CHCA and HCA are affiliated with the national nonprofit PHI and share its "quality care through quality jobs" mission.
Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations make a public, legally enshrined commitment to considering the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment. This is collectively referred to as the triple bottom line.
Both CHCA and HCA received certification scores of over 150 out of a possible 200 points on the B Impact Assessment — nearly double the threshold required for certification. This reflects the strong commitment of both organizations to having social impact — both in the lives of unemployed women trained for home care jobs and in the lives of the low-income elders and people with disabilities they serve.
"CHCA is proud to qualify as a B Corporation. For more than 27 years, our cooperative has provided quality employment opportunities for low-income, unemployed individuals in our community," said CHCA Executive Vice President Adria Powell.
HCA President Karen Kulp adds, "Ultimately, becoming a B Corporation will help us to strengthen what we do best: providing high-quality jobs and worker ownership opportunities for low-income, unemployed women and ensuring quality care for residents throughout our city."
The worker-owned cooperative home care companies join more than 650 B Corporations from over 60 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion dollar marketplace. Certification is provided by B Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
"As the country grapples with the rapidly increasing demand for quality long-term services and supports in the home, CHCA and HCA are redefining what it means to be a successful healthcare business," said Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab cofounder. "Not only are these companies creating greater access to affordable, quality home care in low-income communities but they are also creating greater economic opportunity for their worker owners."
Deepening Workforce Leadership — Cooperative Home Care Associates (Bronx, NY)
CHCA employs more than 2,050 staff, of which approximately half are worker-owners. Since its founding in 1985, the agency has provided more than 7,000 low-income, unemployed New Yorkers with opportunities for quality jobs.
"Empowered as worker-owners, our home health aides provide high-quality care to city residents," Powell said. "These workers help to lead the cooperative, ensuring that CHCA's impact in our community is considered first and foremost for every strategic decision the company makes."
"The CHCA board of directors was honored to approve our company's certification as a B Corporation," notes Christina Taylor, one of the eight worker-owner board members at CHCA. "Before joining Cooperative, I never would have dreamed that one day I'd be sitting on the board of directors of a company — my company — with the chance to use my home care experience to help others and to truly have my voice be heard. This service and dedication to employees and clients is CHCA's core product."
The cooperative's impact is deepening. With PHI, CHCA recently relocated within the Bronx to a new, LEED-Certified "green" building, with an expanded training space that will allow it to provide guaranteed job opportunities to 600 low-income, unemployed people per year.
"An Easy Decision" — Home Care Associates (Philadelphia, PA)
Modeled on the success of CHCA, HCA was launched in 1993. To date, the agency has trained and placed more than 1,000 low-income Philadelphia residents in quality health care jobs.
"For HCA, becoming a B Corporation was an easy decision," Kulp said. "It offers an effective way to let people know about our values, while offering us a way to gauge how well we're living up to them." Today, HCA employs more than 150 staff.
CHCA and HCA work to improve the training and quality of jobs for low-income, unemployed inner-city residents — primarily women. This anti-poverty strategy, in turn, improves the quality of long-term services and supports for low-income elders and people with disabilities residing in the community.
National Impact — and Potential Collaboration with a New Community
Both HCA and CHCA share a common mission with the national nonprofit PHI. The nation's leading authority on the direct-care workforce, PHI (www.PHInational.org) helps both cooperatives to strengthen their workforce development efforts. PHI also builds on the experiences of the cooperatives to help stakeholders throughout the country implement best practices that will improve both direct-care jobs and the quality of long-term care. These efforts help long-term care businesses to achieve greater good in the lives of their targeted constituents, reflecting a core value of the community of Certified B Corporations.
Home care workers are projected to be the fastest-growing occupations (pdf) in the nation country between 2010 and 2020, with demand for these positions expected to increase by 70 percent.
"We strongly commend CHCA and HCA on taking this important step," said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president of PHI. "By choosing to become B Corporations, the worker-led boards of these organizations have shown their continued commitment to ensuring the highest standard of care within their communities."
"Just as CHCA, HCA, and their worker-owners have used their commitment to 'quality care through quality jobs' to set a higher standard for home care agencies, they will use their commitment to social and economic justice to engage the community of B Corporations," Sturgeon said. "Home care workers are vital to the health and welfare of our nation's families and communities."
The results of independent B Lab assessments — documenting the agencies' performance in areas of "Governance," "Workers," "Community," and "Environment" — are now publically available for CHCA and for HCA.
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PHI, the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, works to transform eldercare and disability services, fostering dignity, respect, and independence — for all who receive care, and all who provide it. The nation's leading authority on the direct-care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality care.
Deane Beebe, PHI Media Relations Director