Bradley looks to solid growth in social venture’s next decade
As of Sunday, ROC USA® is officially a decade old.
“We launched ROC USA to make resident ownership viable nationwide, and in 10 years, we’ve made strong progress with now 220 co-op communities in 15 states,” said ROC USA founding President Paul Bradley. “Homeowners time and again are proving that when they are provided the opportunity, they are stepping up and choosing ownership and security.”
That was the case for Kathy Zorotheos, president of Oak Hill Manufactured Home Community in Taunton, Mass., and the rest of her community after they purchased their park in 2016.
“I went and Googled ‘How do you buy a mobile home park?’ and up comes ROC USA,” she said. “They helped us purchase the park. For 37 more dollars a month, we can actually vote and run our own park.”
Along with that, ROC USA also made strides in combating the stigma manufactured homeowners face — the outdated notion that these homes and communities are just “trailer parks.”
“We experienced that ourselves when we were purchasing a home,” said Laurie Westendorf, president of Morning Star Community in Kalispell, Mont. “We were going to throw a housewarming party and I had friends that said, ‘Why would you throw a housewarming party when you’re just buying a trailer?’ But once people come into the community and they come into our house, they just fall in love with it.”
Bradley credited everyone involved in resident ownership — the volunteers leaders in each ROC, ROC USA’s LLC Members and Board of Directors, the affiliated Technical Assistance providers, ROC USA staff and key investors and supporters — for all they’ve done over the last decade to help the social venture succeed.
“Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund said, ‘You really can change the world if you care enough,’” Bradley said during his induction speech at the Cooperative Hall of Fame on Wednesday. “Thank you for caring.”
Bradley said it’s been an incredible decade for ROC USA and 34 years for resident ownership in general, a span whose tremendous growth he expects to match in just the next 10 years.
National Cooperative Bank commissioned a video to commemorate ROC USA’s 10 years. In it, co-op leaders, affiliate staff, and Bradley lay out how and why ROC USA does what it does through the lens of four resident-owned communities.
Check it out below.