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Webinar: “Trends in the Retirement Plan Industry–Multiple Employer Plans,” featuring Pentegra

Pentegra Logo 4C 4e2bcThe National Cooperative Business Association's November 18 webinar, "Trends in the Retirement Plan Industry–Multiple Employer Plans," featuring NCBA CLUSA Associate Member Pentegra, will walk attendees through the key advantages of multiple employer plans (MEPs), which cover employers that are not commonly owned and provide greater benefit security by pooling risk. 

Founded in 1943 as a non-for-profit cooperative to meet the retirement needs of its members, Pentegra is uniquely qualified to serve the co-op sector. Its programs are "designed and managed by professionals who understand the competitive demands of the [cooperative] industry," said Mike Natyshak, national director for Pentegra's Qualified Plan Sales and head of the provider's business development efforts in the cooperative sphere. 

With offices across the Eastern U.S., New York-based Pentegra provides retirement plans to financial institutions nationwide, among them credit unions, managing more than 4,000 retirement plans and close to $8 billion in retirement plan assets. Pentegra currently works with nearly 100 cooperatives. 

The organization offers a full spectrum of retirement plans for its credit union partners, including MEPs and Group Trusts, 401(k) plans, Defined Benefit Pension plans and Cash Balance Plans, “relieving credit unions of the fiduciary and administrative burdens that come with sponsoring a retirement plan,” Natyshak said. 

Pentegra founded and continues to manage two of the largest MEPs in the nation, currently used by its credit union cooperative customers. Leveraging the buying power of hundreds of organizations lowers retirement program costs and investment management fees, Natyshak said, making it “affordable and practical” for organizations of any size to offer employees an “institutional-quality retirement program.”

“People join cooperative businesses to enjoy the benefits of group purchasing, pooled risk and the empowerment of owning and controlling the company,” he said. “Multiple employer programs do the very same thing.”

Going forward, Pentegra is positioned to address how best to develop retirement programs for cooperatives that help transfer fiduciary risk away from co-ops, while providing plans that strive to maximize retirement readiness for participants, Natyshak said.

Click here to learn more and register for this webinar.


CUNA applauds Obama's executive order for greater data security

cuna logo1 ae237The Credit Union National Association is actively engaged with payment networks, financial institutions, retailers and manufacturers to achieve greater data security by 2015. An executive order signed by President Barack Obama on October 17 called, "Improving the Security of Consumer Financial Transactions," augments these efforts, CUNA said in a press release:  

As the number of data breaches and the accompanying costs for financial institutions and consumers continue to rise, President Barack Obama issued an executive order Friday aimed at improving the security of consumer financial transactions.

"While the U.S. government's credit, debit and other payment card programs already include protections against fraud, the Government must further strengthen the security of consumer data and encourage the adoption of enhanced safeguards nationwide in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality while maintaining an efficient and innovative financial system," the order reads.

Eric Richard, Credit Union National Association general counsel, commended the president for calling on Congress to enact cybersecurity legislation. CUNA previously wrote to Obama to request the formation of a cybersecurity council, as well as legislation to protect American consumers.

"As a member of the Payments Security Task Force, CUNA has been actively engaged with payment networks, financial institutions, retailers and manufacturers to ensure chip cards and readers are accessible and enabled by the end of 2015," Richard said. "Credit unions have been and will continue to be involved in this important conversation, and we look forward to working with the administration on this vital issue."

Obama's executive order lays out a timeline for increased cybersecurity measures to be taken by the government, as well as increased resources to consumers. This includes:

• Government, executive departments and agencies will transition payment-processing terminals and credit and debit cards to employ enhanced security features, including chip-and-PIN technology, with a plan to be developed by the U.S. Treasury by January 1

• Credit and debit cards provided through General Services Administration (GSA) contracts will be replaced by cards with enhanced security features no later than January 1

• The Attorney General, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, will issue guidance to promote regular submissions of compromised credentials to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance's Internet Fraud Alert System by February 15

• The U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Social Security Administration will begin to identify publicly available agency resources for victims of identity theft and provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that information no later than March 15

• The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and GSA will assist the FTC in enhancing the IdentityTheft.gov website, including coordination with the credit bureaus to streamline the reporting and remediation process by May 15
 
• Within 90 days of the date of this order, the National Security Council staff, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and OMB shall present to the president a plan, consistent with the guidance set forth in the 2011 National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, to ensure that all agencies making personal data accessible to citizens through digital applications require the use of multiple factors of authentication and an effective identity proofing process, as appropriate. Within 18 months of the date of this order, relevant agencies shall complete any required implementation steps set forth in the plan prepared pursuant to this section.

FTC Chair Edith Ramirez said in a statement following the order that she welcomes the opportunity to participate in the new initiative.

Click here to access the full text of the order.


A place at the table: Strategic Sourcing at restaurant purchasing co-ops

C Horwath 2c b18d1-1 94ce0Purchasing cooperatives are a well-established feature of the restaurant industry, providing the owners of restaurant franchises with professional buying expertise and negotiation strengths while helping franchisors maintain a stable supply chain. Despite their importance to franchisors and franchisees alike, however, independent purchasing co-ops—particularly food purchasing co-ops—often find that their success is limited by processes beyond their immediate control.

Because it is governed by a board representing both the franchisor and franchisees, a purchasing or supply chain management co-op must pursue an integrated, proactive approach to deliver its full potential benefits to members. Broadly speaking, such purchasing co-ops are quite good at sourcing and supply chain management. In most instances, the co-op’s managers and executives also have an innate appreciation of the importance of strategic sourcing as a management principle.

As good as they are at sourcing, however, co-ops sometimes struggle with the challenges of managing their relationships with brand marketing, product development, sales and operations. As a consequence, they often find themselves reacting to unexpected events rather than proactively managing the sourcing operation.

Here are seven principles restaurant purchasing co-ops can apply to improve their effectiveness:

1) The sourcing organization should have adequate authority and appropriate responsibility. Although not a part of the franchisor’s corporate structure, the purchasing co-op should have a place at the table alongside internal departments when important operational, sales, or marketing issues are being considered. Above all, the co-op should have a say in the qualification of suppliers and should have accountability for managing their quality instead of being required to simply accept the franchisor’s choices.

2) Visibility and leadership are essential to successful sourcing. Sometimes this principle involves something as basic as physical location. The purchasing co-op does not need to be in the same building as the franchisor’s headquarters, but proximity helps facilitate regular face-to-face contact so the parties do not need to rely exclusively on conference calls and email.

3) Sourcing must be integrated into new-product development and planning. One prominent national restaurant chain recently shortened its new-product development cycle by more than half through a variety of initiatives, which included involving the purchasing co-op in weekly new-product development meetings. Once a week might not be the right frequency for every organization, but engaging sourcing in new-product development is necessary.

4) Strategic sourcing is not strategic without a materials management plan. In addition to employing numerous specialized buyers with focused areas of expertise, a restaurant purchasing co-op should dedicate valued resources to overall supply chain management. Particular emphasis should be given to evaluating sales, marketing and new-product plans to identify related supply chain issues and risks and developing a materials management plan to address those concerns.

5) Category sourcing strategies must be challenged critically with regularity. Just as internal departments should engage in continual improvement, the purchasing co-op should review and challenge its sourcing strategies on a scheduled basis. This inspection includes evaluating the category structure itself to identify improvement opportunities.

6) Supplier management involves more than performance scorecards. Supplier performance must be reviewed regularly, of course, but true strategic sourcing requires a more in-depth approach. The co-op should initiate joint buyer-supplier efforts to improve predictability, reliability and consistency. Whenever possible, the goal is to help suppliers succeed as well.

7) Supply chain risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans are a must. Managed correctly, strategic sourcing offers important cost-saving opportunities, but focusing on cost alone overlooks the broader advantages. Effective risk mitigation strategies also must be incorporated into the co-op’s planning and responsibilities. Supplier viability analysis is particularly important. The brand and co-op should perform frequent financial analyses of all critical suppliers to identify risks early—before they cause an unexpected shortage.

Setting the Table

Industry experience suggests that most restaurant purchasing co-ops could find opportunities to apply these principles in the pursuit of a more proactive and integrated procurement approach. Results might include improved visibility into the brand strategies the co-op is asked to support and more effective implementation of strategic sourcing policies and practices.

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About Crowe Horwath 

NCBA CLUSA Associate Member Crowe Horwath provides audit services for public and private entities—among them cooperatives—while also helping clients reach their goals with tax, advisory, risk and performance services. To accompany the public accounting and consulting firm's webinar this week, Wil Knibloe and Ron Melcher wrote the above thought leadership piece.

Wil Knibloe is with Crowe Horwath LLP in the Grand Rapids, Michigan office. He can be reached at (616) 233-5561 or wil.knibloe@crowehorwath.com.

Ron Melcher is a principal with Crowe Horwath in the Atlanta office. He can be reached at (404) 442-1639 or ron.melcher@crowehorwath.com.


CDF receives $200K USDA grant for home care cooperative development

home-healthcare-pond5-web f5b24The Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) this week received a $200,000 USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant to be used to support the development and expansion of worker-owned home care cooperatives in rural areas.   

The grant provides funds to:

• Conduct research on the quality of care provided by existing home care worker cooperatives

• Develop model pro forma statements for use in evaluating business strategies needed for growth in existing cooperatives

• Reach out to national organizations and groups interested in forming home care cooperatives

• Staff two steering committees of experts to provide guidance on activities related to the grant and worker-owned cooperatives

• Provide technical assistance to cooperatives

In addition to working with start-up cooperatives and outreach with national organizations serving seniors, CDF and its partners will work with three existing home care cooperatives serving rural areas—Cooperative Care in Wautoma, Wisconsin; Circle of Life in Bellingham, Washington; and Paradise Home Care Cooperative in Volcano, Hawaii—to develop strategies to expand and sustain their businesses.

CDF staff, consultants Judy Ziewacz and Julie Ingoglia, and partners University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, Northwest Cooperative Development Center and Cooperative Development Services will provide resources to fulfill the grant requirements. CDF's Mutual Service Foundation (MSC) Fund and the CHS Foundation provided some of the $70,000 match required by the grant. CDF has received a grant from this USDA program for the past four years. 

CDF's MSC Fund supports cooperative development that aids rural seniors. Since the fund's inception in 2004, it has provided more than $800,000 in grants to support its mission. For additional information about the USDA grant, contact Julie Ingoglia, director of cooperative senior programs, at (202) 638-6222 or jingoglia@cdf.coop. More information about cooperative home care and housing is available at www.seniors.coop.  

The Cooperative Development Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. promoting community, economic and social development through cooperative enterprises. 


NCGA disappointed by EPA’s decision to approve Enlist Duo, calls for mandatory GMO labeling

NCGA-logo-web 4880aThe EPA's recent decision to register a new herbicide designed to manage resistant weeds has spurred the National Cooperative Grocers Association to reiterate its call for mandatory GMO labeling. The organization is a strong supporter of the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act: 

The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) expresses its deep concern over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to approve Enlist Duo, Dow Chemical’s blend of glyphosate (Roundup) and an older pesticide known as 2,4-D. Enlist Duo will be sold in conjunction with Dow’s GMO Enlist seeds which have been engineered to withstand dousing with the toxic pesticide. The GMO/pesticide combo will be marketed as the Enlist Weed Control System.

“EPA’s decision is especially troubling because in the U.S., GMO foods are still not required to be labeled, making it difficult for concerned consumers to avoid them,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA. “Shoppers deserve the right to know what's in the food they buy. Clear and proper labeling of food containing GMOs is key to empowering consumers to make informed purchase decisions.”

EPA’s decision comes despite public opposition due to health and environmental concerns, including more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to President Barack Obama, a letter from 35 doctors and public health scientists, and a letter signed by fifty lawmakers.

Dow Chemical says the Enlist Weed Control System will be a solution to herbicide-resistant weeds, which have flourished in the wake of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GMO/pesticide combo. Unfortunately, Enlist is merely another step on the evermore toxic pesticide treadmill, NCGA officers said. In fact, Monsanto is currently seeking regulatory approval for crops genetically modified to withstand Dicamba, yet another toxic pesticide.

There are increasing signs that GMO crops damage the U.S. export market (Cargill sues Syngenta). Having now received the regulatory green light from the USDA and EPA, Dow Chemical is expected to market the Enlist Weed Control System beginning with the 2015 growing season.

"We are truly disappointed in the EPA for approving the use of Enlist Duo to blanket fields of genetically engineered corn and soybeans,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, a senior policy analyst with Environmental Working Group. “This unfortunate decision will more than triple the amount of 2,4-D sprayed in the U.S. by 2020. We find such an increase in a known toxic defoliant linked to Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive problems to be unconscionable."

More than 60 countries around the world require GMO labeling, and studies consistently show that more than 90 percent of U.S. consumers want GMO foods labeled. NCGA supports The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act so that consumers can have the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. NCGA is an active supporter of the Just Label It campaign, a national coalition of more than 650 organizations, which calls for the mandatory, federally enforced labeling of GMO foods.

Consumers who wish to avoid GMO foods, and the toxic pesticides they are engineered to withstand, can look for the USDA Certified Organic label. By law, organic foods cannot be produced using genetic engineering or toxic pesticides such as 2,4-D.


Subcategories

  • US Development PR

    NCBA CLUSA is dedicated to the continued growth and strengthening of cooperative businesses across the United States. Cooperatives at all levels provide a much needed and sought after alternative to other business models. Throughout the United States, NCBA CLUSA is working with local cooperatives to embed them as permanent fixtures in their local economy. Through the implementation of cooperative development grants, NCBA CLUSA is providing support and training to coops across all cooperative sectors, through case studies and economic impact research. Using that research and the power of the collective cooperative voice, NCBA CLUSA advocates on Capitol Hill on behalf of coops, fighting to maintain or increase government funding for cooperative programs and securing access to legislature that protects the cooperative business model.

    Our domestic development 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, and as well as their efforts to establish new cooperatives. In particular 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.

    PARTNERSHIP WITH FREELANCERS UNION
    COOPERATIVE BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS (CBA'S)
    OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH CooperationWorks AND THE COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT CENTERS
    LINKS TO OTHER COOPERATIVE ORGANIZATIONS
    REGIONAL FARMERS MARKET/USDA RCDG GRANT
  • Advocacy PR
  • International Development PR
  • CBJ - PR

Services

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.

Webinars

window.location.href = "https://www.ncba.coop/current-events" 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

Webinars

NCBA CLUSA Takes Food for Progress Success Story to Capitol Hill and USDA

(WASHINGTON, DC)—This week, NCBA CLUSA’s Chief of Party for Uganda, Gretchen Villegas, met with key leadership on Capitol Hill to share the success of the Uganda Conservation Farming Initiative funded by United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food for Progress program currently being implemented by NCBA CLUSA in Northern Uganda. Ms. Villegas was accompanied by NCBA CLUSA leadership; President and CEO Mike Beall, CLUSA International Chief Operating Officer Amy Coughenour Betancourt, and vice president of Advocacy R.L. Condra.    “This program is vitally important to farmers in Uganda,” said Villegas. “Providing local Ugandan farmers access to this training in conservation agriculture has benefitted more than just the farmers and their households, it benefits the community as a whole and provides a measure of food security and stability in the region.”   Through this program, NCBA CLUSA is training 60,000 farmers on the proper implementation of conservation farming techniques. Within three years, following proper implementation, Ugandan farmers can increase their crop yields by over 100 percent and are now able to support their families. The delegation met with key Congressional players that oversee International development programs funded by government agencies including USDA. They shared the successful outcomes of the project and requested continued support for the program.    The visit included conversations with T.A. Hawks, Staff Director and Taylor Nicholas, both senior staff serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees and authorizes the USDA Food for Progress program. Both Hawks and Nicholas work for Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) who is Ranking Member on the Committee. Additionally, they met with Ned Michalek, Chief of Staff to Congressman Eliot Engel who is Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.   An overview of the project and its progress was presented at USDA to Food for Development Branch Chief Nicola Sakhleh and his staff from partner and funding agency, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.    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 15 countries.   ###

NCBA CLUSA Takes Food for Progress Success Story to Capitol Hill and USDA

Association Services

  Pat Brownell Sterner, Chief Operating Officer Click Here To Email Pat 202-638-6222   Bryan Munson,  Director, Membership Click Here To Email Bryan 202.442.2318   Tom Decker, Director, Cooperative Development Click Here To Email Tom 202.442.2318                   The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA (NCBA CLUSA) represents a cross-sector co-op community of 29,000 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

SENATOR BEGICH SUPPORTS CREDIT UNION TAX EXEMPTION

  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.  

SENATOR BEGICH SUPPORTS CREDIT UNION TAX EXEMPTION

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

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 employment opportunity employer. It is the intent and policy of NCBA CLUSA to bar discrimination in the recruitment, selection, employment, assignment, payment, training, development, promotion, discipline, and termination of its employees. It is also the intent of NCBA CLUSA to treat all applicants for employment and all employees on the basis of job-related qualifications, and not based on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, pregnancy, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, or any other classification proscribed under local, state, or federal law.

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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.



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