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

NCBA CLUSA Supports Youth Cooperative Movement Before Puerto Rican House of Representatives

NCBA CLUSA Supports Youth Cooperative Movement Before
Puerto Rican House of Representatives

(SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO)—In a meeting with the Commission on Cooperatives and Non-profit Organizations today in San Juan, NCBA CLUSA Chief Operating Officer, Amy Coughenour Betancourt, supported a newly formed youth cooperative—Coopare— focused on advancing youth development and leadership among Puerto Rican youth. The meeting with the Commission was intended to promote the mission of Coopare and seek resources and support.

“Puerto Rico has a rich and long history in the cooperative movement, and in many ways, has been a pioneer. However, it is important to continue to foster the next generation of leaders, and Coopare is a great vehicle for this,” explains Coughenour.

Coopare focuses on the development of the arts, recreation, and business among youth. It formed with the support of COSIANI, an early childhood education services cooperative that provides professional development, training, and services within the early childhood education field.

Puerto Rico Congressional VisitPuerto Rico Congressional VisitLeft to Right: Meeting with NCBA CLUSA, Coopare, and the Puerto Rican Commission for Cooperatives and Non-profit Organizations of the House of Representatives. Amy Coughenour Betancourt, COO, NCBA CLUSA; Leonel Rodriguez, Member; Gian Franco Vazquez, Member; Jessica Carnivali, Secretary; Jose Miguel Ortiz, Vice President; Jan Milton Bayon, President; Michael Rivera De Jesus, Commission Technical Officer; Gisela Crespo, Member.Coopare got its start by addressing two particular needs—first, the need for quality summer camps for children, and the need for Puerto Rican youth to develop job and leadership skills. They worked with COSIANI to support its network of summer camps by recruiting and vetting youth volunteers. These camps are carried out in collaboration with the housing cooperative sector.

As Coopare developed, it recognized the need for leadership training and the provision of services to organizations interested in reaching the youth segment. It began delivering workshops, training, and other outreach services to help young people develop their skills.

Now, the 42 youth member owners of Coopare have a bigger vision. “We want to bring together the youth cooperatives around Puerto Rico and create a network of cooperative development and leadership,” shared Coopare’s President, Jan Milton Bayón. DeMarie Valentin, Director of COSIANI added: "This vision includes learning from one another and connecting with other youth cooperatives in other parts of the world."

“The potential of this group is tremendous,” stated Michael Rivera de Jesus, technical officer of the Commission. “There is a big demand for the services that they provide.”

“NCBA CLUSA’s role today is to lend our organization’s voice in support of this youth-led effort, just like we do in many other parts of the world, such as Kenya, Mozambique, and 13 other countries,” stated Coughenour. With the support of the Commission and the rest of the cooperative community in Puerto Rico, I believe Coopare can have a very bright future.”

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 working in areas such as food security, climate-smart agriculture, and cooperative development. 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 the improved economic and social well-being of millions of farmers and their families in over 100 countries.

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NCBA Launches Financial Counseling Certification as Part of Community Development Initiative

NCBA Launches Financial Counseling Certification as Part of Community Development InitiativeNCBA Launches Financial Counseling Certification as Part of Community Development Initiative

Washington, DC – February 19, 2013 – Today, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) announced a community development initiative that launches with a program to certify credit union staff as financial counselors, ready to protect their most vulnerable members from predatory lenders. The Community Development Certified Financial Counseling (CDCFC) program trains credit union staff to identify financial distress and work directly with members to prevent financial catastrophe. CU Strategic Planning created the CDCFC training, and NCBA CLUSA is the certifying body for the program.

“Working people have been having a difficult time in this economy,” said NCBA CLUSA President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Beall. “All cooperatives—especially credit unions—have a role to play in improving the lives of their members. Having a concern for the community is one of the core principles of cooperatives. Credit union staff members that participate in the CDCFC program will understand how best to support working people that are finding it hard to make ends meet. Without this type of support from the credit union, these people can fall victim to predatory lenders.”

The national member association representing cooperatives in the United States, NCBA CLUSA provides to its members a variety of tools and resources to assist in strengthening and developing cooperatives. The community development initiative complements existing programs by providing practical tools, training, and capacity building that aid cooperatives in becoming more capable of participating and succeeding in community development work. 

Beall considers the CDCFC program a key component of NCBA CLUSA’s community development efforts. “This tool is a great piece to help us get where we want to go domestically,” he said. “NCBA CLUSA is working with cooperatives on developing community based, sustainable wealth-building strategies and increasing collaboration among cooperatives. The CDCFC program can involve credit unions in building community wealth and enable them to promote their financial products to complement established community-building efforts.” 

“Having the NCBA CLUSA as a certifying agent for our CDCFC online training program is a boon for low-income communities nationwide to have the tools to build a solid foundation of financial stability – and ultimately wealth,” says CU Strategic Planning Founder and Instigator of Goodness Jamie Chase. “We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with NCBA CLUSA to help each other assisting consumers gain a solid financial footing for their futures that ultimately transfers to more flourishing communities.” 

One credit union has recognized the value of the CDFC program as a way to assist members. Pelican State Credit Union ($200 million: 33,530 members; Baton Rouge, LA) CEO Jeff Conrad noticed that over the last five years the credit scores of Pelican’s members had dropped, sometimes leaving them ineligible for loans for which they formerly qualified. Conrad certified all of his staff through the CDFC program so that every staff member is empowered to help its members build wealth and improve their financial state. 

During an event to launch NCBA CLUSA’s community development initiative on Feb. 26, 2013, Beall will recognize Pelican State Credit Union as the nation’s first financial institution to certify its entire staff through the CDCFC training program. 

About NCBA CLUSA (www.ncba.coop)

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 (www.creditunionstrategicplanning.com)

Headquartered in Tacoma, WA, with satellite offices in San Diego, CA and Boston, MA, 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.

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