Call to Action: Express Your Support for SBA Lending Opportunities for Food Co-ops


Act Now!
Act Now!
The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) has been working with the 
Small Business Administration (SBA) to expedite the reinterpretation of regulations
that prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs.

We need your help in advocating for changes to Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations. At present, SBA regulations prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs. NCBA believes this needs to change and brought it to the attention of the Obama Administration during the May White House Community Leaders Briefing. Since the Briefing, NCBA has continued the dialogue with SBA and the White House—making progress on this issue.

We need SBA to hear from the cooperative community 
that this is an important issue.

Now is the time for YOUR VOICE to be heard!

Take these two important actions THIS WEEK

1. Ask your Representative to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter

Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin is circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter in the House of Representatives asking SBA to expedite the reinterpretation of regulations that prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs. Please call your representative’s office and ask your member to sign on to the “Dear Colleague” letter.

FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE >

2. Send your letter to SBA

Last week, NCBA issued a call to action asking you to send a letter to SBA on this issue. We have received letters from a number of cooperatives and supporting organizations, but we need SBA to hear from a lot more of you!

Please send the copy below via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to SBA Administrator Karen Mills. Feel free to add your personal story regarding the inability and need for your cooperative to access the SBA lending programs.

Additionally, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a copy of the letter to NCBA Director of Public Policy R.L. Condra to provide copies of all letters to the White House. The time is now to move this issue forward.

Thank you for taking action on this issue!

Sincerely,
Liz Bailey

Interim President and CEO
National Cooperative Business Association


SAMPLE LETTER

<Insert Date - Example: September 17, 2012>

The Honorable Karen Mills
Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416

Dear Administrator Mills:

We are writing to ask the Small Business Administration (SBA) to expedite the reinterpretation of regulations that prohibit food cooperatives from accessing SBA lending programs. Consistent with the Administration’s commitment to removing unnecessary regulatory barriers for small businesses, we believe that a reinterpretation of the existing SBA regulation is in order, and we ask you to publicly commit to such a reinterpretation as soon as possible.

While today’s food cooperative community may have evolved from 1960s-era buying clubs, today they are tax-paying, incorporated businesses that contribute more than 12,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in annual sales to local economies throughout the United States. In addition to being stable members of local business communities, food cooperatives provide the consuming public with an important source of locally produced healthy food. And, just like small businesses everywhere, they need access to capital for growth and expansion.

In the last three years, an impressive 61 food cooperatives have opened for business, and several hundred more are in varying stages of planning and organization. These are small businesses, local employers, grounded in local economies. Even in their first years of operation, these new cooperatives will be the source of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in annual sales. Yet none of these new small businesses were able to apply for SBA lending because of the prevailing interpretation of the SBA regulation.

We need a resolution to this matter that clarifies the fact that food cooperatives meet the eligibility standards for SBA lending. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. The United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives and the U.S. cooperative community annually celebrates October as Co-op Month. We can think of no better way to celebrate both occasions in October 2012 than with a public announcement by the SBA that the barriers to food cooperative eligibility for SBA lending are being removed.

Sincerely,
<Insert Name>
<Insert Title>
<Insert Organization>

Call to Action: Support the National Cooperative Development Act

On Dec. 15, 2011, Representative Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.) and three co-sponsors introduced the National Cooperative Development Act, which would establish a National Cooperative Development Center to provide capital, training and other resources to foster cooperative development in both urban and rural areas. Addressing economic development though cooperative development will advance the economic stability of local areas; increase the circulation of capital locally; and develop, attract and anchor new productive capital in urban and rural underserved communities.

We need your support!

We want more co-sponsors!  Please ask your Representative to demonstrate their commitment to strengthening communities and creating jobs by becoming a co-sponsor of this bill.

In your letter, tell your Representative about your co-op, make it personal to you and their district! Use the talking points available at www.campaign.coopto highlight the impact co-ops can have in their district. Tell them how the National Cooperative Development Act would help their district.

It would be a tremendous win for the cooperative movement in the United States if we could have a large number of co-sponsors for this bill—from both urban and rural areas and from both “sides of the aisle.”  Especially as we near the International Year of Cooperatives, an early 2012 passage of this legislation would demonstrate America’s recognition of the social and economic benefits of cooperative enterprise.

The National Cooperative Development Center will …

  • Award grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities to provide technical assistance to cooperatives or groups seeking to form co-ops
  • Provide guidance, best practices and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives
  • Create a revolving loan fund to provide seed capital to groups attempting to form cooperatives
  • Provide funding to train providers of technical assistance and support existing professional development for organizations engaged in cooperative development
  • Establish cooperative development centers in areas that do not have them

To support you…

NCBA has created text for you to include in a letter (see below).   In addition, the site www.campaign.coop contains a number of resources that can support your effort, including talking points. Please visit the site.

Please send your letter as soon as possible so that we continue the momentum of Congressional support on this legislation.  
Visit the US House of Representatives Directory to access the website or other contact information for your Representative.

If you have questions about contacting your Representative or the National Cooperative Development Act, please contact NCBA’s Director of Public Policy, R.L. Condra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (202) 383-5480.

Text for your letter


Dear Representative,

I’m writing to ask that you become a co-sponsor of the National Cooperative Development Act, which will empower Americans and strengthen communities by encouraging cooperative development in urban and rural areas.

The National Cooperative Development Act would establish a National Cooperative Development Center to provide capital, training and other resources to foster cooperative development. The Act would strengthen communities and generate jobs by spurring cooperative development and, thereby, advance the economic stability of local areas; increase the circulation of capital locally; and develop, attract and anchor new productive capital in urban and rural underserved communities.

Cooperatives are values-based, businesses owned and controlled by those that use the cooperative’s services.  In the United States, more than 29,000 cooperatives operate in every sector of the economy and in every congressional district; Americans hold over 350 million co-op memberships. US cooperatives generate 2 million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the US economy with annual sales of $652 billion and possessing assets of $3 trillion.

Cooperatives operate across all sectors of the US economy and include agriculture, food distribution and retailing, childcare, credit unions, purchasing, worker-owned, housing, healthcare, energy and telecommunications cooperatives. Cooperatives promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people.

Please become a co-sponsor of this important legislation.

Sincerely,

White House Community Leaders Briefing

NCBA brought 150 cooperative leaders from around the United States to the White House to engage in open dialogue with senior Obama Administration and federal agency officials on a range of key issues, including how co-ops are impacting job creation, food security and energy.

Here, you'll find media coverage, photographs and press releases from the event as well as the case studies and supporting documents, information about the economic impact of cooperatives, that NCBA provided to the White House and event participants for the Community Leaders Briefing.

Media Coverage and Press Releases:

Equal Exchange at the White House  (Co-operative News, May 16, 2012)

Cooperative Leaders Meet with White House (Shareable.net, May 15, 2012)

Gary Pittsford Attends NCBA Community Leaders Briefing  (press release, May 11, 2012)

Fifth Season Cooperative Attends White House Community Leaders Briefing(press release, May 9, 2012)

What happened when co-operatives went to the White House? (Co-operative News, May 9, 2012)

White House Briefing on Cooperatives, Jobs and Economy Opens Dialogue with Nation’s Leaders (NCBA press release, May 8, 2012)

Cooperatives Examine Economic Role (InsideIndianaBusiness.com, May 7, 2012)

CUs, CUNA stress MBL benefits in White House co-op meeting (CUNA News Now, May 7, 2012)

Home Care Cooperatives Spotlighted at White House Briefing (Direct Care Alliance, Inc. blog, May 7, 2012)

UMassFive One of 150 Cooperative Leaders at White House Community Leaders Briefing (UMassFive press release, May 5, 2012)

Cabot Creamery at White House meeting (Cabot Creamery press release, May 4, 2012)

HOPE Participates in White House Briefing on Cooperatives (HOPE Enterprise Corporation press release, May 4, 2012)

NCHN Executive Director & NCHN Member Attend White House Community Leaders Briefing (PRlog, May 4, 2012)

NCBA Brings 150 Cooperative Leaders to White House to Discuss Jobs and the Economy (NCBA press release, May 3, 2012)

White House Hosts Cooperative Leaders (Credit Union Times, May 3, 2012)

Photographs:

NCBA Community Leaders Briefing Flickr Photostream

Case Studies:

Supporting Documents:

Call to Action: Help Housing Co-ops Damaged by Sandy Receive FEMA Recovery Assistance

Housing Co-ops Affected by Hurricane Sandy Need Your Help!

Housing cooperatives in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland affected by Hurricane Sandy are ineligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief programs. FEMA misclassifies housing cooperatives as commercial business associations, making them ineligible for the agency’s Individual and Households Program.

As an NCBA member, you have the opportunity to change this!

Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) has drafted a letter alerting the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to this issue. If you live in these four affected states, NCBA strongly urges you to contact your representative and encourage them to sign the attached letter.

The deadline to sign the letter is March 13, 2013, so please contact your Members of Congress today.

Find your Member of Congress »

Thank you for your support of cooperatives.

If you would like to share the success of your advocacy efforts on this issue or have any questions, please contact NCBA’s Vice President of Advocacy, R.L. Condra at 202.383.5480 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Mike_Beall_SignatureMike_Beall_Signature

Michael Beall
President and Chief Executive Officer

The Cooperative Finance & Tax Council

The Cooperative Finance & Tax Council (CF&TC) is an NCBA member benefit that keeps your lead staff, accountants and legal advisers informed. The CF&TC focuses on key finance, tax, accounting and legal issues facing cooperatives.

The CF&TC tackles issues that affect your co-op’s bottom line by educating policymakers about the benefits of the cooperative model, and by defending against attacks that could undermine its long-term viability.

The CF&TC is run by a steering committee of cooperative legal, finance, accounting and tax experts, which meets several times a year to discuss accounting, legal or tax changes that may impact all co-op sectors. Working with NCBA staff, the committee determines the highest-priority issues for the CF&TC to address. Then, it identifies the appropriate position for the cooperative movement to advance, taking into consideration the needs of all co-op sectors.

All NCBA members can participate by reading the CF&TC Update, responding to action alerts, and letting NCBA know of any finance or legal issues that your co-op or sector faces.

Public Policy Inquiries

Please direct all public policy inquiries to:

R.L. Condra
Vice President of Advocacy
202.383.5480
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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