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“Good is the Enemy of Great”: NPCC keynote speaker Evan Hackel promises “ugly but necessary” discussion on reinventing purchasing co-ops

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NCBA CLUSA is pleased to announce that lifelong cooperator Evan Hackel will present the keynote address at the 2015 National Purchasing Cooperatives Conference on Tuesday, October 6 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Click here to register!

Called “Good is the Enemy of Great,” Hackel’s keynote will challenge conference participants to reinvent the purchasing cooperative sector by asking critical questions: Do you provide real value to your membership? Are you helping your membership survive into the future?

“Myths will be busted, egos bruised and minds blown,” Hackel said.

Hackel’s experience with cooperatives began early; as a teenager, he helped sort groceries at a local food co-op in his small town in Vermont. Later, he worked at his family’s appliance business, a member of the Key Cooperative.  

Over the past 30 years, Hackel has gained extensive management experience across cooperative sectors. In the early 90s, he was brought in to run, manage and build a new leadership team for a large cooperative in the wake of the departure of its startup team. Hackel managed CCA Global Partners’ purchase of the bankrupt Flooring American franchise system, converting it into a cooperative and increasing business from $700 million to $2 billion in just four years.    

Hackel also served as president of Carpet One, CCA’s largest division with more than $3 billion in sales operating in four countries. Additionally, he managed the CCA relationship with a cooperative of 200 floor covering stores in the United Kingdom. Hackel was one of the founders and board members of the Lenders One cooperative that today originates more than $180 billion in mortgages. Hackel also oversaw CCA’s creation of the Savvi Formalwear cooperative and the Biking Cooperative, and was one of the founders and first president of BizUnite.

Currently, Hackel is the founder and CEO of Ingage Consulting, the foremost provider of specialized management consulting services for leaders of franchises, cooperatives, buying groups and dealer networks. In this role, he has worked with more than 20 cooperatives, many of which will be represented at the 2015 National Purchasing Cooperatives Conference.
Additionally, Hackel is a professional public speaker presenting at numerous events every year, including last year’s NPCC in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Evan holds a degree in Economics from Colorado College, an MBA in Finance and General Management degrees from Boston College. He and his wife have three children and reside in Reading, Massachusetts.

Hackel’s keynote is generously sponsored by BlueVolt, a learning management system solutions provider helping organizations increase profitability by making it easy to deliver effective, comprehensive training programs that improve the productivity of employees and partners.

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$10.5 million grant from New Zealand Government expands NCBA CLUSA’s coffee, cocoa portfolio in Southeast Asia

coffee 10369NCBA CLUSA is the recipient of a $10.5 million grant from the New Zealand Government to support economic development in East Timor by augmenting household income through quality coffee and cocoa production.

The five-year project, called Coffee and Cocoa Agribusiness Opportunities (CACAO), will be implemented in partnership with Cooperativa Café Timor (CCT), East Timor’s leading private-sector employer and one of the largest single-source suppliers of certified organic Arabica coffee in the world.

Established with support from NCBA CLUSA in 1994, CCT offers its 22,000 member-owners access to global markets—including Starbucks—better prices and healthcare through its network of health clinics serving remote mountain coffee-growing communities outside the Ministry of Health’s coverage area.

Under CACAO, CCT will identify 19,000 Arabica, Robusta and cocoa farmers in the country’s western districts to participate in the project. Each farmer will receive seedlings and tools, including saws and pruning shears that, according to the grant agreement, are “critical” for effective farm rehabilitation, but largely unavailable in East Timor.

Participating farmers will also receive training from existing CCT extension staff on environmentally sustainable practices such as composting, erosion prevention and biological pest control that are compatible with organic and other ethical and sustainable production certifications. CACAO will work with select groups of local farmers to establish demonstration farms used for practical, on-field training.

The project will prioritize the integration of activities that support women’s economic empowerment. With its focus on economic development, CACAO is expected to create close to 5,000 on-farm and seasonal jobs by its end.

CACAO comes on the heels of NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded Consolidating Cooperative Business Recovery (COCAR) project, which closed in 2014. COCAR oversaw the planting of 3.7 million coffee seedlings and rehabilitated more than 12,000 coffee farms. The project also introduced value chains for spices, cocoa and other commodities in high demand globally. The rehabilitation of coffee farms that began under COCAR has the potential to double coffee exports and farmer incomes over the next decade.

NCBA CLUSA hosts first cooperative delegation from Egypt

egypt-delegation-500 71e76In what marked the first official cooperative-to-cooperative visit between the United States and Egypt, representatives from Egyptian agricultural associations met with NCBA CLUSA officials last week at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The visit continues a trend toward greater collaboration between the global cooperative community and the U.S. as a leader in the cooperative development sphere. NCBA CLUSA has previously met with similar delegations from Puerto Rico, Brazil, Israel, Turkey, China and Romania. NCBA CLUSA will host a group from India at the end of the month.

“We are always excited to learn from others within the co-op community, and we hope that NCBA CLUSA will continue to be a touch point for international delegations interested in learning more about the cooperative business model,” said Mike Beall, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. Beall offered a welcome and overview of the cooperative sector in the U.S. to the Egyptian delegation.

Co-ops comprise an increasingly significant part of the U.S. economy, Beall told the group. Currently, he said, there are an estimated 40,000 co-ops in the U.S. generating $3 trillion in assets. One out of three Americans belongs to a co-op, and more than 100 million Americans are credit union members, he added.

The Egyptian delegation was curious about the challenges national-level co-op associations in the U.S. face when balancing competing political interests, and how NCBA CLUSA convenes all sectors on issues critical to all co-ops, such as advocacy and education.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), Egypt’s cooperative sector is currently undergoing reforms to better protect member control. There are currently an estimated 7,000 cooperatives in the country with a total membership of around 5 million. Egypt’s new constitution includes a commitment to support the cooperative sector, an ILO report said.

The Egyptian delegation’s August 5 visit to NCBA CLUSA took place with support from the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. This program has provided an opportunity for the delegation to learn how co-ops across sectors operate in the U.S. and how American associations influence decision-makers to spur sound policy at national and state levels.

During their visit, the delegation expressed particular interest in NCBA CLUSA’s international development work, shared by Amy Coughenhour, COO for NCBA CLUSA’s international program. That work represents more than 60 years of projects in food security and nutrition, national resource management, sustainable agriculture and community-based health. What began in 1916 with agricultural co-ops in India is now an international development organization implementing a $217 million project profile in 18 countries.

“We’re very proud to share with the international delegations the work we’re doing around the world to advance the capacity of smallholder farmers, cooperative businesses and community groups to increase incomes and build resilience within their families and communities,” Coughenhour said.

While NCBA CLUSA is not currently active in Egypt, in 1993 the organization launched the Small and Micro Enterprise Credit Project there. The decade-long project lent more than $566 million to low-income clients and small businesses with a 99+ percent repayment rate. A critical facet of the program was a poverty-lending program to help female heads of household in urban settlements start or expand income-generating activities using a group lending method.

At the close of the project in 2004, 98 branches of Egypt’s nationwide Banque du Caire had initiated micro-lending. By the project's wrap, some 95,000 loans worth $50 million had been made to more than 300,000 people, 51 percent of whom were women—a 100 percent increase in female clients.

Obama highlights NCBA CLUSA's Yes Youth Can program as example of success in Kenya

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When 34 Yes Youth Can participants were selected to attend U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech at the Safaricom Arena in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, they were excited and surprised to hear him specifically highlight their organization.

“There are some amazing examples of what’s going on right now with young people. I’m hopeful because of a young man named Richard Ruto Todosia. Richard helped build Yes Youth Can—I like that phrase, 'Yes Youth Can'… After the violence of 2007 and 2008, Yes Youth Can stood up to incitement and helped bring opportunity to young people that were scarred by conflict,” Obama said. 

With more than 1 million members, Yes Youth Can has become one of the most prominent civil society organizations in Kenya. The program is funded by USAID and implemented in Nairobi and Kenya's Coast region by NCBA CLUSA. Other development partners are implementing the program in other regions of the country. 

Yes Youth Can participants are entrepreneurs and leaders, having developed local “bunges,” or youth parliaments, that empower young people to participate in the political processes and develop entrepreneurial skills. These groups have developed credit unions, encouraged ID card registration and developed small businesses to improve their livelihoods.

“That’s the kind of young leadership we need,” Obama said to an audience that was more than three quarters youth.

"They were inspired as the leaders that will make the change Kenya needs," said Joyce Wafula, Chief of Party for NCBA CLUSA’s Kenya Program.

Since 2011, Yes Youth Can has registered more than 135,000 youth, almost half of whom are women, for national ID cards, which are a voter requirement in Kenya. Almost 90,000 youth were linked to credit institutions and seven Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) were developed specifically for bunges and youth. These SACCOs leant $123,000 in small loans for livelihoods projects.

These youth are also becoming leaders in their communities. Over 43,000 youth—40 percent of whom are women—have been elected to leadership roles in village councils, churches, local health committees, women’s groups, farmers groups and cooperatives. This is a huge increase in youth participation across Kenya. In fact, there are 87 percent more youth involved in the coast provinces and 67 percent more in Nairobi since the beginning of the program.

“When it comes to the people of Kenya—particularly the youth—I believe there is no limit to what you can achieve… We are investing in the young people of Kenya and the young people of this continent… and it’s the young people who must take the lead,” Obama said on Sunday. The president was in Kenya to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Throughout the weekend President Obama emphasized the importance of youth and women in starting businesses and leading.

The Yes Youth Can Program has been extended until the end of September 2015, with additional funding from the Coca Cola Company's 5by20 initiative. These extra funds will be distributed as small grants to 5,000 youth participants, particularly young women, to receive training on business skills and start income-generating projects in their communities. 

Obama’s trip comes on the heels of a 10-year renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, promoting trade across the continent. This is the president’s fourth trip to Africa and the first time a sitting president has ever visited Kenya.

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the trade association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector advocacy, education and technical assistance that helps cooperative businesses thrive. For nearly 100 years, NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives have in bettering the lives of individuals, families and communities. Since 1953, NCBA CLUSA has worked in over 85 countries in the areas of cooperative development, food security and nutrition, agricultural development, community-based health, natural resources management, and empowerment of smallholder farmers, women and youth. We currently work in 18 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.



For nearly 100 years, NCBA CLUSA has encouraged communities to live cooperatively, harnessing the uncommon power of common purpose. NCBA CLUSA applies cooperative principles in development, advocacy, and education.

Association Services

  Pat Brownell Sterner, Chief Operating Officer Click Here To Email Pat 202-638-6222   Thomas Bowen,  Director of Membership Click Here to Email Thomas Bowen 202.383.5461                           The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA (NCBA CLUSA) represents a cross-sector co-op community of more than 40,000 businesses that control over $3 trillion in assets.  We unite co-ops by promoting the cooperative business model, driving cross-sector collaboration, and being the national ‘voice’ for cooperatives to raise the profile of co-ops everywhere. Our work is grounded in our three-part mission:
 To raise the profile of cooperatives
 To promote and protect the cooperative business enterprise model To drive cross-sector collaboration among cooperatives in keeping with Principle 6 of the Cooperative Principles       We believe in collaboration, and in bringing value to the many efforts already underway through our cooperative development partners and intermediaries that are doing the necessary ‘boots on the ground’ cooperative development work. In our role as facilitator, convener, and financing partner, we assist our partners in their work with strengthening the structure, reach and financial sustainability of existing cooperatives, as well as efforts to establish new cooperatives.  We are collaborating with Cooperation Works! and Cooperative Development Centers across the country to develop more diverse – and sustainable – funding for their important work. We are responding to local and regional nationwide that are interested in establishing Cooperative Business Associations, with the intent of creating local cooperative ‘chambers of commerce’ to drive the financial success of cooperatives in these associations, raise the profile of cooperatives in their communities, and foster cross-collaboration among cooperatives. Using the power of cooperative development work and our collective cooperative voice, NCBA CLUSA advocates on Capitol Hill on behalf of cooperatives, fighting to maintain or increase government funding for cooperative programs and securing access to legislation that protects the cooperative business enterprise model. Throughout the United States, NCBA CLUSA is working with cooperatives and cooperative development organizations to embed cooperatives in their local and regional economies. With our partners NCBA CLUSA supports cooperative development, funds cooperative education, and promotes the need for research to continually strengthen the case for cooperatives in our economy.   OUR FOCUS NCBA CLUSA takes very seriously its role as CONVENER of cooperatives and cooperators across the country. ADVOCACY NCBA CLUSA is also working hard to amplify the voice of cooperatives at the national level, specifically through increased advocacy work on behalf of cooperatives sectors.  For example, NCBA CLUSA sent letters to members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees pressing for tax reform to retain the tax exemption for credit unions. Likewise, through the efforts of NCBA CLUSA and partners, a significant shift in the government’s fiscal year 2014 spending bill has made provision for $5.8 million for the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) and an additional $3 million for the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG). Moving forward, we plan to establish a congressional Cooperative Caucus as a forum to brief legislators on cooperatives and cooperative sectors. CO-OP TALKS Another significant focus for NCBA CLUSA is boosting our presence with members through a series of Co-op Talks.  These meetings will be excellent opportunities for us to listen to our members, recruit new members, and learn more about what cooperatives need in communities across America.  Current list of venues include: Denver, Colorado Madison, Wisconsin   CONFERENCES NCBA CLUSA hosts and/or supports several conferences throughout the year: Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA):  June 12-14 in Madison, Wisconsin Co-op Week (in partnership with the National Cooperative Bank and the Cooperative Development Foundation):  May 5-9 in Washington, D.C. Purchasing Cooperative Conference and the NCBA CLUSA Annual Meeting:  September 8 – 11 in St. Paul, Minnesota   COOPERATIVE BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS (CBA'S) We are working with several groups throughout the country that are organizing to establish CBAs.  To support these efforts NCBA CLUSA is providing financial support, human resources and business planning to launch what can be thought of as local “co-op chambers of commerce”, with missions to promote the co-op business model, grow the bottom-line of cooperatives in local communities, and engage more consumers as co-op members.  We are focused on four locations: Austin, Texas  (Austin Cooperative Business Association) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Area Cooperative Association) Upstate New York Western Massachusetts (Valley Cooperative Business Association   COOPERATIVE BUSINESS SERVICES We are committed to raising the profile of cooperatives as economic drivers in our communities.  To that end we will be providing services such as internal and external “cooperative assessments” for members interested in (internally) better integrating the cooperative principles into their business plans and operations, and (externally) leveraging cross-sector relationships to promote their businesses to a broader base of consumers.  We will be utilizing the Blueprint for the Cooperative Decade in this work with our members, with a projected outcome of better identifying and communicating the economic power of cooperatives in given communities.   COOPERATIVE BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE In 2014 we will be establishing the Cooperative Business Roundtable, which will be a convening of CEOs from our larger members.  We have recognized the opportunity to bring CEOs together to network with each other about the opportunities and challenges for cooperatives in today’s economy as well as those they face in their own cooperatives.  Plans are being made to launch the inaugural session of the Roundtable during Co-op Week in Washington, D.C. (May 5 – 9, 2014).     OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH CooperationWorks AND THE COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT CENTERS CooperationWorks! Is the center for excellence for cooperative business development. They are a dynamic and innovative national cooperative created to grow the cooperative model across the United States. Cooperative development centers work to revitalize communities through effective cooperative enterprise development. The centers provide a broad spectrum of expertise and technical assistance, including feasibility studies, market analysis, business plan development, governance training, and educational programs. NCBA CLUSA works closely with both CooperationWorks! and the centers to provide support and resources to aid in their very critical work. NCBA CLUSA understands that it is imperative to grow and sustain financial support so that CooperationWorks! and the centers may foster cooperative economic development. To that end, NCBA CLUSA is co-hosting with CooperationWorks! a summit to engage the cooperative development centers on a national level that will bring forth strategies that will diversify and grow funding. PARTNERSHIP WITH FREELANCERS UNION NCBA CLUSA first began working Freelancers Union in 2010 while assisting organizations across the United States that were applying for funding to develop the new national health care CO-OPs. NCBA CLUSA first provided expertise to Freelancers Union regarding board governance and board development for the application and later played a role in board training for Freelancers Union. Since that time, a close and productive relationship has grown between the two organizations. Sara Horowitz, Found and Executive Director of Freelancers Union, recently wrote; “Cooperatives are deeply knit in the American fabric. In 1752, founding father (and volunteer firefighter) Ben Franklin started the nation's first mutual fire insurance company, Philadelphia Contributionship, which still operates today. In his book For All The People, historian and woodworker John Curl highlights the amazing diversity of cooperative businesses that popped up in the 1800s -- mining coops, shoemaking coops, knitting coops. Basically anything workers could unite to own, they did. We are beginning to see the rise of that mutualistic ethos once again. Many of these efforts directly mirror the late 1800s mutual support model -- but this time with the internet helping bring what had once been local models to national scale.” Freelancers Union has a mission of promoting the interests of independent workers through advocacy, education, and services. NCBA CLUSA is working with the Freelancers Union to provide certain training, education and support services to assist the Freelancers Union in fulfilling their research of cooperatives, member educational programming, project management, board education, business model transition, and public relations objectives, and services for which cooperation may be mutually beneficial. REGIONAL FARMERS MARKET/USDA RCDG GRANT NCBA CLUSA’s 2012 USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant is dedicated to supporting the establishment of a Regional Farmer’s Market located in the Mississippi Delta, in partnership and through the leadership of Shreveport Federal Credit Union and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. The establishment of food hubs that address food deserts is a particular area of expertise for NCBA CLUSA through our international work, and we are applying that expertise to our rural cooperative development partnerships. The work is also supported by previous project work related to wealth creation and development of value chains, especially as relate to cross-sector cooperative business opportunities. The initial work around the establishment of a regional farmers’ market located in Marks, Mississippi has been led by the Shreveport Federal Credit Union, which located a branch in Marks in 2006. Joining with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the primary cooperative development expert in the rural south, Shreveport FCU has worked with local community leaders to further explore opportunities for community engagement and is currently building out the concept for the market, setting in motion plans to launch the market by the end of 2013. The idea for the Delta Regional Market (a name under consideration) came about through multiple meetings with community members, mayors of several towns, and farmers in which they addressed the challenges which have caused this region to be so economically deprived. The Market will be a food hub for the entire community providing reasonably priced, fresh, locally-grown foods; creating jobs for some and for others an entertainment and a gathering place that is planned to be a major draw for customers within a 50-mile radius.  On-street parking provides plenty of space for customers, and the building is located near local businesses to encourage foot traffic to nearby merchants. The Market will also be a showcase for the community’s cultural roots. In addition to being a Food Hub with sales of fresh farm products, the Market will also house a small Museum called “The Muletrain Museum and Gift Store”, a Kidz Zone, and a small Food Court. “Sunday Go to Meeting at the Market” will highlight the deep spiritual roots of the people of the Delta, and provide the opportunity for area churches from diverse communities to bring their choirs and congregations to the market to sing in the food court area on Sunday afternoons as an additional way to attract consumers to the Market. Another central feature of the Market will be the participation of the North Delta Produce Growers Association, which will use part of the Market’s building to expand their commercial enterprise which currently sells purple hull peas to Walmart. Expansion of their operations will increase the distribution opportunities for their participating farmers, and open the door for other farmer cooperatives to join. Leadership and partnership must go hand in hand for the success of this project. Shreveport Federal Credit Union is stepping up with some of the financing for the building; the Federation of Southern Cooperatives is providing the hands-on expertise in agricultural as well as small cooperative business development. Thanks to funding from the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant, NCBA CLUSA is providing expertise in business planning, project design and financing to support the launch and sustainability of the project. We believe the Delta Regional Market can become an important pilot for other communities to follow, and we will work with our partners to document and evaluate every step of this important project. Links to partners: Shreveport Federal Credit Union Federation of Southern Cooperatives North Delta Produce Growers Association USDA

Association Services


Succession Planning for Co-op Members Join us for a Webinar on June 26 Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: What will happen to your business when its leadership is ready to retire? During NCBA CLUSA’s June 26 webinar, presenter Gary Pittsford, CFP, president and CEO of Castle Wealth Advisors, will discuss key factors you need to consider in planning for the future of your coop, including: • Issues affecting family members • Transition options • Retirement income security • Tax impacts and options • Business and estate plans Get the answers to your burning questions about the succession planning process and begin to assemble an advisory team who can help you make smart decisions for your organization.   Title: Succession Planning for Co-op Members Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014 Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT   After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.   System Requirements PC-based attendees Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server Mac®-based attendees Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer Mobile attendees Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet       Future NCBA CLUSA Webinar Topics Promoting Cooperation with Financial Cooperatives Learn how financial cooperatives are engaging in cross-sector collaboration by doing business with other cooperative sectors. Cooperative education in colleges and universitiesWhile the cooperative business model is distinct from other business models, our current options for pursuing relevant cooperative management education is limited. Join this webinar to learn about the existing programs, along with work being done to improve management education for the cooperative sector. Cooperative GovernanceWebinar will explore key issues in cooperative governance, and how cooperative governance is different than governance of other organizational models.   NCBA CLUSA’s webinars continue to be a popular source of information on issues impacting the cooperative community. Whether it is marketing and branding your co-op, understanding the legal and governmental framework of cooperatives or learning how co-ops are using technology to be innovative, NCBA CLUSA’s webinars provide useful and timely information to leverage opportunities for growing and improving your cooperative. Webinar Archive Miss a webinar? Visit NCBA CLUSA's archive to view presentations on-demand We'd Love Your Input! Do you have an idea for a webinar topic? Please send your suggestions to:info@ncba.coop



  Thursday, 01 August 2013 10:38 In a July letter to the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) stated he supports credit unions and their tax exemption status. Outside of the Washington beltway, regular folks may not be aware that Congress is working to overhaul the existing tax structure. For the last few years, Congressional tax committees have been considering comprehensive tax reform, and they now plan to draft and pass a bill later in the year. The current process in the Senate is called the “blank slate” approach. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have asked senators to submit letters advising the committee which tax exemptions they support that should be included in the committee’s approach to comprehensive tax reform. Along with his requests to keep housing and energy tax provisions, Senator Begich also included the credit union tax exemption in his July 26 letter to the Senate Finance Committee. In his letter, Senator Begich stated, “Alaska is far removed from traditional financial centers and that credit unions play an outsized role in the state’s economy. That is why Section 501(c)(14), which grants tax exempt status to credit unions, should be retained in any tax reform effort, to ensure continued access to affordable credit for consumers, homebuyers and small businesses alike, all of which contribute substantially to economic growth.” At the Finance Committee’s request, the letter writing exercise has been kept confidential, but Senator Begich, along with a few other senators have made their requests public. It is not clear how senators are participating in the “blank slate” process, or how the House of Representatives will proceed with their tax reform approach. NCBA CLUSA has coordinated its efforts with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) to support the credit union tax exemption and will continue to work with its association partners as the tax reform process moves ahead in Congress.  


Call to Action: Tell Your Members of Congress to Support Cooperative Development Funding!

Cooperative Development Centers Need Your Support! During the Congressional appropriations process, vital funding for the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program was impacted dramatically, and the cooperative community needs to do everything we can NOW to restore it to sufficient levels. The House of Representatives Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014 eliminates RCDG funding that is critical to the development of cooperatives in rural America. The Senate provides $8.8 million in their funding bill for the program. Without sufficient funding for the RCDG program, cooperative development centers providing hands-on assistance will be unable to operate, and the only existing program in the federal government dedicated to cooperative development would be hindered significantly or possibly eliminated. As an NCBA CLUSA member and supporter, you have an opportunity to help! Attached are two letters, one specifically drafted for the House of Representatives and the other for the Senate. Please send the appropriate letter of support to your Representative or Senators and let them know this vital program needs to be saved. If you would like to share the success of your advocacy efforts on this issue or have any questions, please contact NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President of Advocacy, R.L. Condra at 202.383.5480 or rcondra@ncba.coop. Sincerely, Michael Beall President and Chief Executive Officer   Download House of Representatives Letter » Find Your Representative Download Senate Letter » Find Your Senator

Call to Action: Tell Your Members of Congress to Support Cooperative Development Funding!

Legislative Update: Cooperative Development Bill Introduced in the House of Representatives

  Legislative Update Cooperative Development Bill Introduced in the House of RepresentativesLegislation Focuses on Job Creation by Promoting Cooperative Development  (WASHINGTON, DC) – The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) is excited to announce the introduction of legislation that will spur job creation and development of cooperatives. The legislation H.R. 2437 titled, “Creating Jobs Through Cooperatives Act of 2013” was introduced by Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) on June 20 in the House of Representatives. “Co-ops bring communities tighter by encouraging residents to pool their skills and resources,” said Fattah. “They empower people to make decisions that will create opportunities that grow their communities and provide an added sense of belonging. This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to that effort.” The legislation would create a national program within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide capital, training and other resources to foster member owned businesses. The bill introduced will strengthen communities, promote self-help, and generate jobs by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities that help grow or create cooperatives. Also, when establishing cooperatives, communities will be provided with guidance, best practices, and technical assistance. Furthermore, the legislation will create a revolving loan fund, providing seed capital to groups forming cooperatives and funding to train providers in technical issues, supporting existing professional development for organizations engaged in cooperative development. “On behalf of the 29,000 cooperatives throughout the country, we thank Congressman Fattah for his support and leadership,” said Michael Beall, president of NCBA CLUSA. “This legislation is a giant step in providing more communities around the country with the financial backing to grow businesses that share their same values.” Cooperatives already play a significant role in the U.S. economy operating in all 50 states and across all sectors. They are owned and operated by the people who utilize the goods or services provided by the co-op and they operate for the benefit of its members. Cooperatives are a part of many industries including energy, telecommunications, food distribution, insurance, credit unions, agriculture, health, housing, and wholesale and retail purchasing and distribution. There are 29,000 U.S. cooperatives that account for more than $3 trillion in assets, totalling over $500 billion in revenue, $25 billion in wages and benefits, and providing nearly two million jobs. If you would like to receive the text of the bill, or would like to learn how you could have your Member of Congress support the legislation, please contact R.L. Condra, NCBA CLUSA Vice President of Advocacy, at  or 202.383.5480. The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the apex association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, support, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has grown its international development portfolio to over $34 million of active programs in 14 countries.

Legislative Update: Cooperative Development Bill Introduced in the House of Representatives


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Reaching thousands of like-minded cooperators has never been easier! NCBA CLUSA’s jobs posting service targets your job listing to those in the cooperative community looking to get involved in cooperative work!



NCBA CLUSA is the nation’s oldest and largest national membership association representing cooperatives of all types and in all industries. We are democratically organized and operate according to internationally recognized cooperative principles. NCBA CLUSA’s mission is to develop, advance and protect cooperative businesses and to demonstrate the power of the cooperative business model to achieve economic and social impacts. As the apex organization representing the interests of the US cooperative community, NCBA CLUSA provides a strong, unified voice on Capitol Hill. The Association’s portfolio includes programs and services that meet the shared advocacy, education and communications needs of a cross-sector, US cooperative community. In addition to its work domestically, NCBA CLUSA’s international program has been engaged in cooperative and sustainable business development in over 100 countries for close to 60 years.


NCBA CLUSA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a commitment to diversity.  All individuals, regardless of personal characteristics, are encouraged to apply; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, age, and legally protected characteristics for non-merit factors. NCBA CLUSA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in all facets of employment, including the employment application and selection process. If you have a disability that affects your ability to use our online system to apply for a position at NCBA CLUSA, please send an email to Misti French or call 202-383-5465.



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The Team

Meet Our Senior Leadership Team

Michael Beall

Michael Beall

President & Chief Executive Officer
Patricia Brownell Sterner

Patricia Brownell Sterner

Chief Operating Officer, NCBA
Amy Coughenour Betancourt

Amy Coughenour Betancourt

Chief Operating Officer, CLUSA International
Valeria Roach

Valeria Roach

Chief Financial Officer
Lisa Bowman

Lisa Bowman

Chief Administrative Officer, NCBA CLUSA
Larry Thomas

Larry Thomas

Chief Human Resources Officer, NCBA CLUSA

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the oldest and largest national cross sector association for cooperatives, professionals servicing co-ops, and supporters.