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Seedco, the Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation, is a national, nonprofit, community development organization that works with local organizations in low-income communities to promote economic advancement and help people move out of poverty. Seedco partners with local community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide assistance to job seekers, workers, and small business owners in disadvantaged communities. Seedco's headquarters are located in New York City and the organization does work in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Seedco also invests in low-income communities in many areas of the country through its subsidiary, Seedco Financial, to create jobs and support small business owners.
Seedco’s major initiatives include the following:
Seedco was founded in 1987 as a community development intermediary with funding from the Ford Foundation to help urban institutions such as universities and hospitals revive their inner-cities. By 1997, Seedco had partnerships with 105 institutions and 90 community-based groups in 58 sites nationally.
Beginning in 1998, Seedco embarked on a new series of programs that allowed local community-based organizations to enhance their efforts in providing employment services to welfare recipients. Seedco formed a network of CBOs in New York City called the EarnFair Alliance and provided local CBOs with funding, training, operational support, and technical assistance that enabled them to focus on delivering quality job training and career counseling services to residents of disadvantaged communities. By 2004, the EarnFair alliance had 10 CBO partners, annually placed more than 1,000 low-income people into jobs, was funded by about $6 million a year in government contracts, and had been recognized as a Promising Practice by the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2006, EarnFair placed 4,400 individuals into jobs at an average starting wage of $10.80 an hour.
Following the September 11 attacks in Lower Manhattan, Seedco was asked by the Ford Foundation, the New York Times Foundation, and others to implement a disaster-recovery initiative for small businesses and their workers. The Lower Manhattan Small Business & Workforce Retention Project ultimately issued more than $26 million in loans, offered more than $8 million in grants, and provided technical assistance to nearly 400 businesses and organizations. The $45 million program was credited with saving or creating over 6,000 jobs in Lower Manhattan.
Seedco has continued its model of CBO networks and now develops new and innovative programs in the fields of workforce development, asset building, career advancement, small business services, housing assistance, and community lending. Seedco mobilizes public and private funding and coordinates these programs across its networks of CBOs in New York City and around the country.
Barbara Dwyer Gunn is the President and CEO of Seedco. George A. Pruitt is its Chairman.