October 20, 2021

Grassroots EO Organization Launches: Ownership America

NCEO founder and senior staff member

Jack Moriarty has announced the launch of Ownership America, a “public policy and grassroots advocacy organization founded to turn Americans into owners.” Founded by Jack Moriarty, who is now its director, Ownership America’s first efforts will focus on generating policy proposals and grassroots initiatives to help grow employee ownership. The first two projects include putting an advisory referendum urging support for employee ownership on the ballot in Massachusetts and drafting proposed legislation to create an Employee Equity Investment Act. The proposal would create Employee Equity Investment Corporations (EEICs), entities designed to help fund middle-market ESOP transactions. EEICs would function much like Small Business Investment Companies. EEICs would “deploy a combination of privately raised capital and federal loan guarantees to make a range of subordinated debt and equity-like investments in eligible businesses. EEICs would provide subordinated ‘first dollars in’ to a deal—funds that serve the same function as equity in the eyes of other lenders.” A number of legislators have already expressed interest in the idea.

A detailed paper on the goals and initiatives of Ownership America, Turning Employees into Owners, is available on the organization’s website. Initial funding for the project has come from private and foundation sources, but additional contributions are needed and welcomed.

I am on the Ownership America board and have been actively involved in creating it.