Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This staggering statistic greatly impacts the people closest to us – at work, at home, at school – everyday. Cooperatives, at their very core, are made to serve and care for their communities (Cooperative Principle #7 is Concern for Community.) The unique business model and ethical standards of cooperatives create a natural alignment with social causes. Colorado Recovery is one example of how an an organization can use a cooperative structure to maintain the highest quality of care for its community members.

Colorado recovery was established in 2006, as a non-hospital treatment center for people with serious mental illness. Colorado Recovery employed the most effective diagnostic and treatment methods, and focused on respectful, compassionate, and optimistic care.

Employee Ownership

In 2011, the center was faced with the difficult decision of how to prepare for the eventual retirement of the owner and founder, Dr. Warner. After much research and discussion, they decided the best way to maintain their high standards and core values was to sell the business to the employees – the people who understood better than anyone the importance of the principles underpinning their work.

There are now 16 staff members who are co-owners of Colorado Recovery, and the board consists of external board members with broad experience in commercial, non-profit and employee-owned settings, employees and family-member investors.

Community-Based Care

At Colorado Recovery you or your loved belong to a community. The residential house and outpatient offices are located near the heart of downtown Boulder, Colorado. Colorado Recovery also has a unique social-vocational center called The Treehouse run by and for clients. The program helps prepare clients for success in relationships, volunteer work, education and job placements. Clients at Colorado Recovery are twice as likely to be in paid employment with the support of our vocational program, compared to the national average. Each week members can participate in hikes, volunteer work with horses, yoga classes, community service, art studios and outings. Having a sense of belonging can be an essential piece of recovery. Colorado Recovery is one of the few treatment centers in the country that provides long-term care and community.

Learn more about Colorado Recovery here.

Social Co-ops

This type of employee-owned co-op is what would be considered a social co-op. Social cooperatives provide their communities, both inside and outside of the direct business, with dignified work, the delivery of an excellent service or product, and a direct voice in, and connection to, the business. What makes these businesses unique is their unfaltering dedication to their social missions and services, giving them a competitive edge against conventional businesses that do not holistically address their community needs.Learn more about social co-ops here.


Learn more about social co-ops here.