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NCBA CLUSA hosts Romanian cooperative delegation, working toward partnership

romania2-web 8fec0Representatives from the Bucharest-based National Union of Handicraft and Production Co-operatives of Romania and the country’s Ministry of Economy Department of Foreign Trade met with NCBA CLUSA leadership last week at the organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The delegation—fresh from a visit to a large textile trade show in New York—stopped in the nation’s capital to discuss potential partnership with the U.S. cooperative sector.

“We would like to determine the possibility of collaboration, identify partners, see directly some market trends—especially in textiles—and learn more about your cooperative system,” said Cristian Mateescu, vice president of the National Union of Handicraft and Production.

Textiles are the Romanian cooperative sector’s largest export, followed by furniture, Mateescu said.

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, Turkey, and Israel, and groups from India and China are finalizing preparations for upcoming visits.

“We are always excited to learn from others within the co-op community,” said Mike Beall, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. Beall offered a welcome and overview of cooperative development to the Romanian delegation. He also addressed the challenges and opportunities faced by the two countries’ respective cooperative movements.

Some challenges overlap, such as finding a specialized work force and securing access to financing. Others disproportionately complicate the cooperative landscape in Romania.

Co-ops in Romania do not enjoy tax-exempt status, as they do in the U.S. A request is now pending in the Parliament of Romania to eliminate this “double tax,” which taxes both co-ops and member-owners for the same profits, said Valentin Brebenel, deputy general director of External Bilateral Relations for Romania’s Ministry of Economy, Department of Foreign Trade.

“Our margin of profit depends on the elimination of double taxation,” Brebenel said. 
This can be the difference between being competitive and not being competitive.”

Land ownership poses another dilemma for Romanian co-ops. In 1999, land was consolidated, but original landowners still own homes and often businesses on now-disputed land. Proposals to change laws governing land ownership and use are underway, but tensions between the appropriate use of private and public property remain.

“Our challenge is to prove that cooperatives have a social purpose and a public purpose,” Brebenel said.

Both Romania and the U.S. also struggle to redefine 'cooperative' and overcome the word’s historically negative connotations. This is especially true in Romania, Brebenel said, where memories of forced collectivization during the Communist regime “are still vivid.”

With cooperative membership trending older in both countries, the Romanian delegation was keen to know how U.S. co-ops are appealing to younger generations.

In the U.S., Beall said, many young people “talk about what they would like to see in a business and describe a co-op without exactly knowing what one is.” Younger generations tend to seek out business that are socially responsible, local, organic, fair trade and democratically controlled. Co-ops fit perfectly into that space, he said.

The cooperative movement in Romania dates back to 1879. Today, it employs 16,000 skilled workers and represents more than 500 associate members. Some 400 cooperative businesses across the country export textiles, furniture and handicrafts to 13 countries in the European Union.

With their shared interest the economic viability and social responsibility that co-ops embody, Mateescu said, Romania and the U.S. are uniquely positioned to collaborate.

“We share the same values, principles and points of view about doing business in a way that respects social responsibility and environmental awareness,” he said.

Tom Decker, director of Cooperative Development for NCBA CLUSA, echoed Mateescu's interest in partnership.

“We share a keen interest in establishing a formal working relationship with cooperatives in Romania. Both parties are making it a priority to make this a reality going forward,” Decker said.

Week of cooperative convening in Minneapolis draws proclamation from City

ACC-KevinReich-web 23e51Minneapolis City Councilman Kevin Reich reads a declaration announcing the city's Co-op Week.At NCBA CLUSA’s Annual Business Meeting, held last Tuesday, September 9, during the joint Purchasing Cooperatives and Annual Cooperatives Conferences, the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota declared the week of September 8-12 the city’s official Co-op Week. Kevin Reich, City Councilman of the First Ward of Minneapolis, read the declaration to the attendees.

The declaration came at the height of co-op activity throughout the city, which included a regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the grand opening of Fair State Cooperative Brewery and the convening of NCBA CLUSA’s two conferences.

“It is great to see the city of Minneapolis again affirm the important role cooperatives play in the local community,” said Mike Beall, President and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. “We are pleased that we were able to be part of the catalyst for this declaration and look to other cities to officially recognize the value co-ops bring to all aspects of the community life.”

Conference Highlights

The week of conferencing kicked off on Monday, September 8, with Purchasing Cooperatives Conference attendees sharing best practices and lessons learned. Conference organizers provided attendees with ample time to connect and network with fellow cooperators.

First time attendee Mike Natyshack, national director for Pentegra Retirement Services said, “As a first time participant, these sessions have been really engaging. I think there is a lot that can be gleaned from the collective knowledge represented here.”

The following day featured a joint keynote address by Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Cooperative Alliance, to a crowd of more than 100 participants and attendees. Her message on “The Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade” shared the work that is being done around the world to provide better awareness and identification of cooperative businesses.

“The [International Cooperative] Alliance has member cooperatives in nearly 100 countries around the world. Those co-operatives are owned by a billion of the world’s citizens,” Green said during her address. “Using the CO-OP Marque demonstrates our shared values across national boundaries.”

During the Annual Cooperatives Conference, Jill Bamburg, president of Pinchot University, addressed concerns surrounding the lack of cooperative business education in current MBA curriculum. “People always ask, ‘How can we get cooperative business into the MBA curriculum?’ To which I tell them it’s already there! It’s just really hard to find,” she said. In order to move forward, Bamburg challenged attendees to focus on three leverage points: faculty, students and employers.

Wednesday’s Global Food Security Panel discussion was preceded by a video message from Minnesota State Senator Amy Klobuchar, who opened her remarks by sharing her spin on words from Minnesota’s unofficial poet laurite Garrison Keillor, “Minnesota is a state where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the co-op’s are above average.”

Klobuchar also referenced her recent trip to Africa, during which she was able to visit one of NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded flagship food security projects in Senegal. The panel then turned its attention to the role of co-ops in ensuring the world has enough to eat through sustainable agriculture and market linkages, which are a natural connection point for cooperatives.

Wednesday concluded with a workshop focused on the five goals of the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade. Look for full workshop results on NCBA CLUSA’s website in the coming weeks!

The final day brought a discussion on NCBA CLUSA’s Advocacy efforts with a panel of experts with more than 100 years of collective insight into the nations politics.

The conference concluded with a panel conversation addressing co-ops and the Civil Rights movement. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Panelists recounted the role co-ops played in the movement and shared their own experiences with attendees.

Referring to the impact made by cooperatives, Wendell Paris of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives reminded attendees of the power they can wield for good. “You are dangerous people, do you know why? Organized people are more dangerous than organized money!”

NCBA CLUSA thanks all of the sponsors that made this years conferences possible: CBI Inc., CHS Inc., CoBank, LBMX, Capital Group, OrderWithMe, Crowe Horwath, Equal Exchange, Frontier, NCB, Pachamama, ASPCO, TransFirst, MindActive and Pentegra.

We look forward to seeing you next year in Washington, D.C. , where we’ll meet from May 4-6 for the cooperative advocacy-themed 2015 Annual Cooperatives Conference. Save the date now!

NCBA CLUSA’s working group at Quebec Summit to cement U.S. co-ops’ key role in adopting ‘Blueprint’

quebec-summit-web 1b469Registration is now open for NCBA CLUSA’s afternoon working group during the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives, returning to Quebec City next month.

Called “Designing a Cooperative Future Among U.S. Cooperatives,” the trade association and international development organization’s working group is scheduled for Monday, October 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. Participants can expect to collaborate across cooperative sectors to explore the opportunities and challenges “The Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade” presents the U.S. cooperative movement.

The Blueprint envisions that by 2020, cooperatives will be the acknowledged economic leader, the preferred business model and the fastest-growing enterprise worldwide.

Already, International Cooperative Alliance member organizations represent 1 billion people in 100 countries, but co-op leaders say continued growth and sustainability hinges on a thoughtful look at the way cooperatives are promoted, governed and funded in order to cement their reach, influence and reputation.

Specifically, working group participants will:

• Discuss how co-ops in the U.S. can serve as architects for the Blueprint’s adoption worldwide
• Learn from peers and industry leaders how the Blueprint can put U.S. co-ops on the map
• Formulate structures, strategies and next steps for moving forward

Click here to register. This working group is open to everyone.

On October 9 at 11:15 a.m., NCBA CLUSA COO for International Development Amy Coughenour will join fellow panelists for Forum 19, “Family Farming: A Food Security Solution.” The discussion will explore how smallholder farmers are securing sustainable development during a year the UN has named “International Year of Family Farming.”

NCBA CLUSA will also staff a booth in the exhibit space at the Summit. Be sure to stop by Booth #701 to learn about how we’re promoting the Blueprint in the U.S., and spend some time collaborating and convening—our comfy chairs are a great place to network!

The International Summit of Cooperatives’ mission is to identify core business challenges facing cooperative enterprises and provide them with solutions to encourage their development and improve their performance, while promoting the benefits of the cooperative business model on the world stage.

This year’s Summit is expected to shed new light on the innovative capacity of the cooperative business model, its ability to adapt to and thrive in different economies, and its growing role in tackling some of the biggest challenges faced by society, including food security, health services and job creation.

U.S. senators see returns on food security investments in Senegal

senegal-stabenow 46f91Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), chair of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, points out samples of nutrient-dense foods with fellow senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). A display featuring NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded food security project in Senegal, Yaajeende, drew the attention of lawmakers from the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry during an exhibit last week at the Senegalese Agricultural Research Institute’s Horticultural Development Center in Dakar.

The all-woman delegation of senators—likely the first ever, according to the Washington Post—was in Africa for an 11-day fact-finding trip to review American agriculture and aid investments in the region, with a focus on women’s economic empowerment.

A five-year Feed the Future Nutrition-led Agriculture program targeting the Matam, Kédougou, Bakel and Kolda regions of Senegal, Yaajeende is designed to reduce malnutrition by promoting access to nutrient-dense foods. A local social marketing campaign called Mangez Orange (“Eat Orange”) raises awareness of the importance of Vitamin A and how eating orange-colored foods such as orange-flesh sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes and papaya can help children avoid deficiencies.

“I’ve never seen a sweet potato this big before,” Senator Mazzie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said, brandishing a particularly large potato on display at the Yaajeende booth.

To accompany the exhibit, Yaajeende field staff distributed a 26-page brochure highlighting Nutrition-led Agriculture and NCBA CLUSA’s partnerships with national institutions such as the ISRA, the Food Technology Institute, the University of Dakar and the Horticulture Development Center.

senegal-papa 26ea3Senator Hirono was impressed by the size of the orange-flesh sweet potatoes at NCBA CLUSA’s Yaajeende booth. To her right, Yaajeende Senior Advisor Papa Sene displays a bio-fortified seedling. The senators—among them Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Committee Member Amy Klobuchar—had the opportunity to learn how Yaajeende bolsters women’s resiliency to economic and climate-induced food insecurity, creates and leverages dynamic local networks to increase agricultural productivity and enlists international and national researchers and institutions to test and introduce bio-fortified foods specifically bred to maximize nutritional content.

Yaajeende Senior Advisor Papa Sene explained the project’s objectives and the integral role research plays in NCBA CLUSA’s food security interventions. Sene and Yaajeende Nutrition Specialist Coudy Ly Wane also described how Nutrition-led Agriculture is addressing micronutrient deficiencies in the region.

According to Yaajeende field staff, the senators asked about bio-fortification and the origin of bio-fortified seeds. They also wanted to know the adoption rate of orange-flesh sweet potatoes in the region.

The delegation included Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Klobuchar’s office said she took the trip to review “the significant agriculture and aid investments we have in Africa and make sure they are effective and making progress so that countries are able to start building their own economies.”

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 and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has worked in over 100 countries in the areas of food security, agricultural development, strengthening of communities and farmer organizations, community-based health, natural resources management, and empowerment of smallholder farmers, women, and youth. We currently work in 15 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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Co-op Jobs

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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Keep in touch with NCBA CLUSA

Please use the following information
to contact us if you want to join NCBA CLUSA,
or to simply communicate with us.


1401 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005





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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.