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Spotlight: Martin Lowery, Co-op Hall of Fame Inductee

Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)


For more than three decades, Martin Lowery has been a forceful advocate for the cooperative business model, with an unshakable conviction that enabling people to empower themselves represents the best was to improve the quality of their lives. Martin Lowery is Executive Vice President, Member and Association Relations of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) with overall responsibility to ensure that NRECA excels in meeting the needs of its 1,000 member cooperatives. His career at NRECA began in 1982 and includes managing NRECA's Consulting, Training and Market Research Division, providing essential management services to the NRECA membership.


Martin serves on the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) board and is a past Chair. He also serves on the board of the National Cooperative Bank (NCB), the Ralph K. Morris Foundation board and is the U.S. representative to the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) board.


Martin has devoted his professional life to promoting and advocating for the cooperative way of doing business. He has spoken extensively in the U.S. and around the world on behalf of cooperatives, was instrumental in the creation of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives brand used today by most electric cooperatives and provided leadership in the creation of the first electric cooperative in the state of Hawaii, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. His passion for cooperatives extends to supporting economic development in global emerging economies across all cooperative sectors.


Martin will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
"The roster of the Cooperative Hall of Fame tells the story of the U.S. cooperative community through the lives and accomplishments of extraordinary individuals," said Gasper Kovach, Jr., Board Chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), which administers the Hall of Fame. "Induction to the Cooperative Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made genuinely heroic contributions to the cooperative community."
The Cooperative Hall of Fame is administered by the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA). Nominations are received annually from throughout the cooperative community, with the final selection made by the NCBA Board of Directors on the recommendations of a selection committee of national cooperative leaders. The Cooperative Hall of Fame gallery is on display in NCBA CLUSA's offices in Washington, DC and it also can be visited on the web at www.heroes.coop.


For dinner attendance or sponsorship information for the Cooperative Hall of Fame, contact CDF at 202-383-5445 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Success in Austin! 2nd Annual Austin Co-op Summit brings Co-ops Together

More than 100 people interested in how cooperative businesses can help move the Central Texas economy toward shared abundance and prosperity, came together at the second annual Austin Cooperative Summit brought by the Austin Cooperative Business Association and NCBA CLUSA.

"The summit identified opportunities to expand the cooperative economy here in Central Texas and showcased many of the cooperative businesses thriving in our region," said Brian Donovan, Executive Director of the Austin Cooperative Business Association. "The feedback has been really positive and we are already thinking about how it can be even better next year."

The opening reception included presentations from NCBA CLUSA CEO, Mike Beall, Texas Electric Cooperatives CEO, Mike Williams, and Executive VP of the National Coop Bank, Steven Brookner, talking about their experience in the cooperative movement and the value their organizations bring to members and the communities they serve. During the evening reception, many cooperatives shared their work and products including: Equal Exchange, Wheatsville Food Co-op, Black Star Co-op, Cooperation Texas, Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery, KOOP Radio, Artists Screen Printing Cooperative, Amplify Credit Union, and Community Housing Expansion of Austin.

Throughout the conference, presentations featured information about cooperatives in the food system, an introduction to the many types of cooperatives and resources available to help them start and expand in Texas. The keynote presentation was by Dr. John Park, the Roy G. Davis Chair at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. In his presentation, Dr. Park explained the way our food system works and the important role cooperatives play to bring food from farms to our tables. A panel discussion about opportunities for cooperatives in the local food movement identified many ways cooperatives could provide solutions to get fresh local food to consumers in Central Texas.

"It's great to see such a dedicated group of cooperators, listening and learning from one another," said Mike Beall, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. "The ACBA is providing much needed support for local cooperatives, working to grow and expand their businesses. NCBA CLUSA is proud to have them as a partner and is dedicated to supporting cooperative businesses in Austin and around the country."

The summit culminated with an excellent dinner at the Sustainable Food Center prepared by Black Star chef, Johnny Livesay. All who attended met the dinner with rave reviews. For more information on the Austin Cooperative Business Association visit www.ACBA.coop.

 

A Sticky Note Starts New Food Co-op in PA Town

A simple sticky note was the catalyst to bring discussions and future implementation of a Friends and Farmers food co-op that will bring an additional outlet for local farmers to sell their food and provide a way for residents to buy locally grown food and support the local economy.

In addition to the food co-op start up, plans are underway to include a commercial kitchen that would be accessible to members or rented out to local small businesses. This article is shared from The Daily Collegian, a publication that is independently published by students at Penn State University.

Local foods could get another outlet through store owned by food cooperative
By Clayton Over, Staff Writer, The Daily Collegian

The idea for Friends and Farmers Cooperative sprouted on a sticky note two years ago. As early as next summer, one of its goals could come to fruition.

The food cooperative launched a membership drive last month, with the ultimate objective of raising capital to open a grocery store that would sell local food and goods, interim board member Elizabeth Crisfield said.

"The goal of the co-op is to make local food more convenient and increase the market share of the local food economy," Crisfield said.
The store will sell local foods, produce and other goods, Crisfield said.
"We want to roughly be a one-stop shop," Crisfield said.

Another planned feature of the store would be a commercial kitchen, Crisfield said. Members could use it for canning or other purposes, and small businesses or local startups could rent the site.

Membership in the co-op is gained with a one-time equity investment of $300, she said. Students can also buy a membership for $30 a year, Crisfield said. If they leave the area after graduation, they will only have to invest the money for those years. If a student stays local after graduation, they can keep the yearly payments until paid in full.

Benefits of membership include voting rights at meetings, partial ownership of the store when it opens and discounts at various local businesses, Crisfield said.

Read More

 

Queens Worker Co-op Formed for All the Right Reasons

Through out the country, worker cooperatives are fast becoming the solution to unethical business practices and worker exploitation.  The co-op business model provides the opportunity for individuals to take ownership in their professional lives and apply time-tested principles that focus on equality and integrity.  

In this article, by reporter Tobias Salinger of the New York Daily News, the motivation and purpose for establishing a 15-member cleaning cooperative is made plain, providing the perfect example of worker empowerment.

Queens Cleaning Ladies form Workers Cooperative 

By Tobias Salinger, New York Daily News

They were tired of being taken to the cleaners by their bosses — so they’re taking out the trash on their own.

Pa’lante Green Cleaning, a 15-member Jackson Heights cleaning cooperative owned and operating by the cleaning ladies themselves, celebrated its grand opening Wednesday.

“Now that I’m part of this project, I’m very excited to be an owner as well as an employee,” said Claudia Leon, a 36-year-old Mexican immigrant who was earning just $20 a day as a waitress at a taqueria in Jackson Heights.

Pa’lante Green Cleaning will be among just 25 so-called worker cooperatives in the city and only the fourth employee-owned cleaning service, according to Make the Road New York, a nonprofit that collaborated with the workers over the course of two years to form the new company.

“The overwhelming majority of them have had experiences of wage theft and exploitation on the job, and that’s one of the main reasons they’re coming together in this worker cooperative,” said Saduf Syal, an organizer with Make the Road. “Basically they’re cutting out the middle man — the cleaning service owners — and keeping 100% of the profits.”

Pa’lante members hope to boost their wages from the $8 to $12 per hour they were earning at established cleaning services to $20 per hour by trimming supervisory expenses and by acting as their own board of directors.

Read more: 

2014 Cooperative Issues Forum! Registration Open!

The Cooperative Development Foundation invites you to attend the Fourth Annual Cooperative Issues Forum on May 7, 2014 from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm EST at the renowned National Press Club in Washington, DC. This year the forum will feature a Keynote Address by Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). In addition to the keynote there will be various updates on domestic cooperative development and technical assistance plans. You won't want to miss a special panel moderated by NCBA CLUSA president Mike Beall as he engages with the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees. Click here for the full agenda. Space is limited! Register online today by clicking here. We look forward to seeing you!

The Cooperative Development Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation headquartered in Washington, DC. CDF's mission is to promote community, economic and social development through cooperative enterprises.

See agenda below:

Cooperative Issues Forum
The National Press Club
May 7, 2014
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm


Agenda


1:30 – 1:45                                             Welcome and Introduction
                                                                            Gap Kovach, Chair, Cooperative Development Foundation


1:45 – 2:15 pm                                        Keynote Address
                                                                            Dame Pauline Green, President,
                                                                            International Cooperative Alliance


2:15 – 2:45 pm                                        Cooperative Development Leadership Reports
                                                                            National Cooperative Development Technical Assistance Delivery System
                                                                                                           Deb Trocha, Executive Director, Indiana Cooperative Development Center, Indianapolis, IN (invited)
                                                                            NCB Capital Impact
                                                                                                           Terry Simonette, President and CEO, Capital Impact Partners, Washington, DC


2:45 – 4:15 pm                                        Hall of Fame Inductees Forum
                                                                           Moderator: Mike Beall, President & CEO, NCBA CLUSA
                                                                           Harriet May, Retired President & CEO, Government Employees Credit Union
                                                                           Barry Silver, Executive Vice President, NCB
                                                                           Martin Lowery, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, NRECA
                                                                           Pape Sene, Senior Technical Advisor, NCBA CLUSA


4:15 – 4:30 pm                                        Closing Remarks

 

Register for this forum online at heroes.coop/about/about-the-issues-forum

 

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

Our Work

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.

International Development

Following World War II, NCBA became involved in the promotion of the spirit of cooperation internationally, through its CLUSA International Program.  NCBA’s CLUSA International Program’s history includes work on hundred projects in more than 100 countries.  Early in our history, NCBA’s CLUSA International Program focused primarily on creating and strengthening cooperative businesses overseas, but in recent decades, we have broadened our focus to work with groups and group-enterprises in many different sectors to utilize their newly found strength as a group to improve its members’ lives. CLUSA works in the following sectors: Cooperative Development, Agriculture and Food Security, Democracy and Governance, Natural Resource Management (NRM), Community-Based Health. CLUSA’s comparative advantage stems from the organization of effective grassroots institutions, through the expert guidance of our professional staff empowering the groups to create change, be they agricultural cooperatives, village health committees, civil society organizations, or resource management committees, to name just a few.  CLUSA’s work in institutional capacity building and technical expertise provides an invaluable mechanism to achieve sustainable results, leading to long term positive change for people all over the world. Cooperative Development Program Agriculture and Food Security Democracy and Governance Natural Resource Management Community-Based Health Volunteer for Farmer-to-Farmer

International Development

Webinars

Upcoming NCBA CLUSA Webinars December 11, 2013: Utilizing Reverse Auctions to Maximize Your Co-op ROIIn today’s economy, cooperatives across all sectors are aggressively pursuing new opportunities to reduce costs and to incur huge savings in their buying efforts.   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

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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
Anthony La Creta

Anthony La Creta

Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

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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