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NCBA CLUSA's Alex Serrano wins InsideNGO Operational Excellence Award

Alex Amy Award f3c68Alex Serrano holding his award with NCBA CLUSA's Chief Operating Officer
for International, Amy Coughenour, who nominated him.

Congratulations to Alex Serrano, our Vice President of Program Development and Technical Services, on his InsideNGO Operational Excellence award! He received the 2015 Practitioner Excellence Award for Cross Operations – spanning multiple operational areas.

Serrano was nominated and selected not only for his work leading the business development team, but also for working across departments and sectors, including stepping in to lead the Mozambique program during a transition period. For 2014 he oversaw an increase in the operational budget of 18 percent, and has an impressive 60 percent win rate on submitted proposals.

“It is an honor to be a part of this community, which is growing,” Serrano said while accepting his award. Serrano started with NCBA CLUSA working in Sao Tome and Principe, then moved to Mozambique, and has now been at headquarters in Washington D.C. for the past seven years.

“This is a terrific opportunity to recognize people who don’t often get recognized…. who do a lot of work behind the scenes,” said Jim Sailor, InsideNGO’s Chairman of the Board.

These awards recognize the hard work of people who would normally be labeled as overhead, said Jacob Harold, CEO of Guidestar, who spoke during the ceremony. He noted it was “time to rebrand” – operations are not overhead, but needed infrastructure to do good work in communities around the world efficiently and effectively.

Congratulations Alex!




Less than a month left to save $$ on 2015 National Purchasing Cooperatives Conference

ncpp-logo-500 a6227There are only three weeks left to take advantage of early-bird pricing for the 2015 National Purchasing Cooperatives Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, from October 5 – 7.

Register on or before August 21 to lock in the $750 early-bird rate for NCBA CLUSA members ($850 for non-members). The Early-Bird Full Registration Package includes conference materials and admission to all sessions, networking events and meals. Groups of two or more individuals from the same organization are eligible for a discounted rate, and single-day registration is also available.   

At this year's conference, you'll learn how to shape and adopt corporate practices that spur member engagement and robust industry growth. 

Topics include: 

• Building member loyalty
• Using analytics 
• Social media marketing 
• Creating revenue opportunities for members 
• Improving the member-supplier relationship 
• Board governance 
• Strategic planning
• Succession planning
• Worker cooperatives

Conference attendees will also consider the creation, mission and potential structure of a Purchasing Co-op Association. 

To view a complete schedule of events, including presenters, topics and session descriptions, click here

NCBA CLUSA would like to thank technology and industry expertise provider LBMX, the premier sponsor of the 2015 National Purchasing Cooperatives Conference. 

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

Obama kenyaspeech APPhoto BenCurtis 23aecAP Photo/Ben Curtis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second NCBA CLUSA trip to Cuba advances U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group

shutterstock cuba-500 ba317 60fd8Nearly one year after their initial research and education trip to Cuba, the leadership of NCBA CLUSA’s U.S. – Cuba Cooperative Working Group (USCCWG) returned to the country to participate in an international workshop focused on local development, including the role of cooperatives. The team also met with Cuban organizations interested in supporting cooperative growth, their role in the Cuban economy and a partnership to exchange experiences with the U.S. cooperative sector.

Hosted by the University of Pinar del Rio on its campus in Pinar del Rio and the western municipality of Viñales, the workshop brought together close to 100 participants from civil society, academia and the private sector, along with more than 20 international participants from the Americas and Western Europe. The purpose of the workshop was to better understand the current policies and implementation around the Cuban economy, and how Cuba and other countries are developing policies and programs that facilitate cooperatives, civil society and private-sector initiatives that promote inclusive and sustainable local development.

With the recent reestablishment of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba, there is now even greater opportunity for substantive dialogue and learning exchanges between the cooperative sectors in the U.S. and Cuba. The USCCWG was presented to a larger group of Cuban and international practitioners who recognized its value as a unique platform to promote cooperatives as a vehicle for inclusive economic growth.

“NCBA CLUSA’s creation of a platform for learning and exchanges between U.S. and Cuban cooperatives couldn’t come at a more important time,” said Amy Coughenour, NCBA CLUSA’s COO for International Development, who presented on NCBA CLUSA’s work and the objectives of the USCCWG during the trip. “We have the opportunity to shape this relationship and significantly impact our cooperatives and economies for the better.”

In addition to participating in the workshop, NCBA CLUSA met with the National Association for Cuban Economists and Accountants (ANEC) to discuss a potential collaboration that would advance the USCCWG’s mission of strengthening cooperatives in both countries. In these meetings, Coughenour met with ANEC President Oscar Luis Hung Pentón, Vice President of International Relations Hugo Pons and Vice President of Administration and Treasury Mildays Tasé Cruzata to better understand each organization’s respective missions, histories and services, and to discuss potential collaboration that would bring the two countries’ cooperative sectors together in a positive and substantive way.

ANEC was founded in 1979 and has more than 80,000 members, making it one of Cuba’s largest professional organizations. The organization was instrumental in developing manuals, training and technical assistance to help facilitate Cuban cooperative development.

NCBA CLUSA also met with other Cuban NGOs with national mandates to support the cooperative sector that are interested in future joint activities, which are expected to include technical exchanges, visits to the U.S. and Cuba and a Cooperative Forum in Havana.

NCBA CLUSA’s engagement with Cuba is supported by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation and the U.S. cooperative sector.

New report by International Cooperative Alliance highlights role of co-ops in promoting gender equality

worker-coops-women-500 704bcIn the United States, worker co-ops are serving as a powerful tool to assist marginalized populations, such as women and immigrants, in gaining stable employment and securing decent wages. The nation's largest worker co-op, Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), now employs more than 2,000 staff, nearly all Latina and African-American women. Co-operative News reporter Anca Voinea explores the international impact of worker co-ops on gender equality in this article:

A new report by the International Co-operative Alliance and the International Labour Organization highlights how cooperatives help promote gender equality. The report, Advancing Gender Equality: The Co-operative Way, was released in time for the International Day of Cooperatives in July, which this year had the theme "choose co-operative, choose equality." 

The research involved an online survey, which gathered perspectives from around the world, and follow-up interviews with key informants. Overall, 581 participants responded to the survey, 64 percent in English, 23 percent in Spanish and 12 percent in French.

Around 75 percent of respondents said they believed cooperatives had improved the participation of women over the past 20 years.

In Europe and North America, interviewees reported achievements in gender equality particularly within the financial sector and in social cooperatives. In Africa, Latin America and India, interviewees reported particular progress in the agricultural sector. In other parts of Asia—where women participate primarily in consumer, credit and producer cooperatives—respondents stated that efforts to enhance women’s participation appear to be underway at all levels of cooperative institutions.

When asked how cooperatives advance the status of women, interviewees mentioned access to employment, improved working conditions and social benefits. They highlighted that cooperatives create employment opportunities by facilitating women’s access to business capital and marketplaces. Cooperatives also provide access to legal and marketing services specifically tailored to women and enable women to gain access to self-employment, they said. Through cooperatives, women also gain collective bargaining power.

The report revealed that cooperatives also facilitate various indirect effects on wom­en’s employment. In fields such as food security, finance, housing, healthcare, childcare and eldercare, cooperatives provide women with affordable and accessible services that enable them to work while meeting their basic needs and those of their families.

Cooperative-led awareness-raising activi­ties that address issues such as child labour, child marriage, HIV, gender-based violence and alcoholism are also seen as having an impact on the status of women and their livelihoods. Many respondents stated that cooperative members also gain training, skills and experience that they would not otherwise have access to.

Eighty percent of survey respondents said that cooperatives are better than other types of private businesses in advancing gender equality. Close to 75 percent stated that among the cooperatives they were most familiar with, women comprised less than 50 percent of the board members, but over 50 percent of membership and more than 50 percent of the customers. These figures suggest that women are among the most involved in and served by cooperatives, but are still among the least likely to hold high-ranking and decision-making positions.

According to survey respondents, 60 percent of the cooperatives with which they are most familiar have equality, inclusion and diversity policies or strategies in place. However, almost 50 percent of respondents said that training sessions relevant to women’s empowerment and gender equality are never held.

Survey respondents and interviewees have also suggested areas for further work to achieve greater gender equality. Respondents pointed to opportunities in areas of women in leadership, implementation of gender equality strategies, cooperation among cooperatives and the role of government. Interviewees recommended, among other things, that cooperatives should consider adopting equality action plans and internal gender equality committees and standards. Other equality measures  suggested included the promotion of spaces and events that enhance the visibility of women and men in the cooperative and subscription to national and international agreements on gender equality.


  • 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.

  • Advocacy PR
  • International Development PR
  • CBJ - PR


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

Association Services

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

Association Services


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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Co-op Jobs

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



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


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



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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.