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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

WAGES (Women's Action to Gain Economic Security)

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: WAGES’ mission is to build worker-owned green businesses that create healthy, dignified jobs for low-income women. In our cooperatives, women gain good jobs, develop new skills, become leaders in their communities, and increase their economic security.

Results: Over the past decade, WAGES has built four successful green housecleaning cooperatives serving the Bay Area that have given hundreds of women the opportunity to become financially secure, gain business skills, and lead healthier, fuller lives. Overall, co-op members earn 50-100% more than they would make working for a conventional cleaning company, and on average, their household incomes have increased by more than 50% since joining a WAGES affiliated co-op. Most have health and dental insurance, along with other benefits through the co-op, and members build assets through their retained earnings held within the business. The co-ops also prevent the release of thousands of pounds of harmful chemicals into our air and water each year. The two largest co-ops average 30 members each and 1 million in annual sales.

Target demographics: Since 1998, WAGES has focused on creating jobs for Latina immigrant women, who become members of housecleaning cooperatives that use environmentally friendly cleaning techniques to protect worker health and the environment, while building stable, lucrative businesses.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

WAGES is an absolutely amazing organization doing very important "green jobs" work. They provide low-income women the training and support they need to form and operate successful worker-owned, environmentally-responsible cleaning cooperatives. WAGES clients are empowered to control their own destinies. They own their business, earn living wages, have health insurance for themselves and their families. WAGES trains coop members in environmentally preferable cleaning practices, using non-toxic products that have been carefully screened. This approach protects the workers and their clients from exposure to toxic chemicals, and reduces environmental impacts. I became aware of WAGES because two of the coops they formed, Natural Home Cleaning Professionals and Eco-Care Professional Housecleaning, became certified by the program I coordinate, the Bay Area Green Business Program. To be certified, Natural Home and Eco-Care had to demonstrate what they were doing to prevent pollution, conserve energy and water and reduce waste at their office and job sites. The women who operate these businesses are knowledgeable, skillful and motivated to provide excellent, environmentally-friendly service. That is a great testimony to WAGES, the organization that prepared them to succeed.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that has created very innovative ways for Latinas to own their own business and reduce pollution from household chemicals. I got to know WAGES 8 yeas ago and am inspired but their leadership connecting environmental and economic justice. Their impact promoting non-toxic cleaning and educating not just the cooperative members but their clients and other women. I have been happy with the excellent quality services and impressed with the confidence and team work that the women have.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The folks at wages didn't stop at just reforming home cleaning, they're now gearing up to create healthier and more fair conditions for those who clean the commercial sector! Their enthusiasm and commitment to help and assist others whose voice isn't as strong (or as understood, due to language barriers) is admirable and inspiring. As a commercial real estate advisor and local building owner, I'm thrilled at the opportunity to hopefully help such a great organization of passionate and skilled people.