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.


NCBA CLUSA and Partners to Establish Regional Farmers Market in the Mississippi Delta

Marks Ribbon CuttingMarks Ribbon CuttingBy Patricia Brownell Sterner, COO, National Cooperative Business Association

Seven years ago Shreveport Federal Credit Union opened a branch in Marks, Mississippi to expand their services to the broader community in the Mississippi Delta region. The credit union’s leadership embraced their unique position as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and began building alliances with other cooperative organizations with a focus on using their collective resources to address the many needs and opportunities of the region.

The credit union’s initial work led them to discussions about the establishment of a regional farmers’ market located in Marks, Mississippi. Joining with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the primary cooperative development expert in the rural south, Shreveport FCU worked with local community leaders to further explore opportunities for community engagement.

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 resulting consensus has been the establishment of the Delta Regional Market as a means to overcome these challenges by providing the venue for farmers, artisans, and others to bring items to market inexpensively, allowing them to realize the financial benefits resulting from their labors and creativity. 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.

Partnering with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and NCBA CLUSA, Shreveport FCU recently hosted a daylong community planning session in Marks, Mississippi to build out the concept for the market, engage community support, and set in motion the plans to launch the market by the end of this calendar year.

Marks Opening GroupMarks Opening GroupFrom left to right: Dr. Birdex Copeland, Board Chairman, Shreveport Federal Credit Union; Ben Burkett, local Mississippi farmer; Patricia Brownell Sterner, COO, National Cooperative Business Association; Helen Godfrey-Smith, President and CEO, Shreveport Federal Credit UnionLed by Mrs. Helen Godfrey-Smith, CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union, and Dr. Birdex Copeland, the credit union’s Chairman of the Board, the group made a visit to the proposed site for the Market in the old Barth Manufacturing Building near the southern edge of Marks, MS.  This spot is ideal because it is highly visible from the main highway and directions are simple from as far away as Memphis TN or other area towns. Climate control equipped with heating for the fall and winter and air-conditioning for the spring and summer, the Market can be open year round, which will 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.

As Mrs. Godfrey-Smith said during the community meeting “We see this as a glimmer of hope for the region and thus a movement toward a revived Delta Spirit.”


NCBA CLUSA in Search of a ‘HERO’ to Demonstrate Credit Union Acts of Valor with Members in Distress

NCBA CLUSA in Search of a ‘HERO’ to Demonstrate Credit Union
Acts of Valor with Members in Distress

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) has created a new possibility for generating good in the world with the Honor a HERO contest. This nationwide campaign to search for a HERO provides a public venue for a cooperative or credit union employee – or the business itself – to share a compelling story about helping members/consumers in financial distress and, in turn, helping them to help themselves.

In 200 words or less, credit unions and co-ops can share their stories of how a member of their staff or the credit union itself has been a HERO to:

  • an individual
  • a cause in their area
  • their entire community

This summertime campaign runs from June 24 to August 24, 2013. Written entries can be submitted online. Winners will be announced in early September 2013.

This campaign stems from the new HERO Counseling service, a Community Development Certified Financial Counseling (CDCFC) course certified by the NCBA CLUSA. HERO Counseling will help credit unions provide better financial guidance to their low-income communities – becoming HEROES to their members, board, and bottom line.

Hero2Hero2Check out HERO Counseling on Facebook, where stories will be posted of HEROES to help inspire others – along with announcing the winner.

The winning credit union receives HERO Counseling staff training, certification and software – from CU Strategic Planning and NCBA CLUSA for the entire credit union staff. Second and third runners-up receive HERO Counseling training for their department or branch of choice.

“This is a fantastic campaign that we are proud to launch to inspire cooperatives to act boldly and to empower consumers across our country,” says NCBA CLUSA President and CEO Mike Beall. “As the largest group of cooperatives, credit unions have an opportunity to inspire great change in their member’s lives. Co-ops and their employees do amazing work each and every day. This is a chance for these stories to be shared, for these heroes to receive recognition and to revitalize our communities. We want to highlight their stories.”

“Over the years I’ve heard many stories about credit union employees and cooperatives that are heroes,” says CU Strategic Planning Founder Jamie Chase, whose company is donating the HERO software prize valued up to $500,000. “All they have to do is share their story now. They deserved to be recognized and honored. Our company is excited to donate a very valuable prize so that their whole cooperative benefits from their heroism.”

“Credit unions’ people-first mission-based focus make them a hero every day in people’s lives, says CU Strategic Planning President Stacy Augustine “This contest just recognizes the work that credit unions do for their members and their communities on a daily basis.”


The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the trade association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, technical assistance, 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 have in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has worked in over 100 countries in the areas of food security, agricultural development, strengthening of communities and farmer organizations, community-based health, natural resources management, and empowerment of smallholder farmers, women, and youth. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

About CU Strategic Planning (

Headquartered in Tacoma, WA, with satellite offices in San Diego and Boston, CU Strategic Planning is the only strategic planning facilitator in the United States with the mission to help credit unions realize their potential through the International Credit Union Operating Principles. It is widely considered the #1 writer of credit union Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) grant applications. No firm serving credit unions writes and wins more CDFI awards than CU Strategic Planning. Its “Miracle Makers” have 100 percent success with CDFI certification.

Austin Recognized as Cooperative 'Hotbed'

Austin Cooperative HotbedAustin Cooperative HotbedBy Dan Zehr, Austin American-Statesman

Like most of his partners at the 4th Tap Brewing Co-ops, Dariush Griffin started dabbling with beer and mead production back in college.

They got older and settled into careers and life, but never stopped brewing. Soon enough, friends started asking them to whip up a batch for weddings and other celebrations.

Austin Becoming 'Hotbed of the Cooperative Economy' | Austin American-Statesman








Fri May 25 22:14:01 +0000 2018

Great piece from fellow @usocdc member @LandOLakesID - why social capital #trust can help predict a co-ops strength…
Fri May 25 20:29:03 +0000 2018

New issue of the #Cooperative Business Journal is out! #Innovations for #Growth dives into stories from…
Fri May 25 12:24:01 +0000 2018

We added another track at #CoopImpact for all the great content! Check out a preview of the agenda and join us in O…



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