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

Governor Brown signs California Worker Cooperative Act

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(August 17, 2015)

California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed the California Worker Co-op Act into law, part of a growing movement in the state to create jobs and spur economic growth by supporting small businesses that are democratically owned and operated by their workers.

NCBA CLUSA welcomes this move as an example of the incorporation and enabling legislation needed nationwide to create a legal environment conducive to cooperative growth. Currently, only half of the states in the U.S. have co-op statutes. NCBA CLUSA's upcoming Cooperative Professionals Conference advocates for a 50-state approach to cooperative law.

The Sustainable Economies Law Center published this news release:  
  

Governor Jerry Brown announced August 12 that he signed a bill into law to facilitate the creation of worker-owned cooperative businesses in California. The new law, Assembly Bill 816, will remove unnecessary barriers to the creation of new worker cooperatives in California and improve operations for some existing worker cooperatives.

“AB 816, the California Worker Cooperative Act, provides a clear legal template for the formation of worker-owned businesses,” said East Bay Community Law Center staff attorney Sushil Jacob. “By providing a pathway to incorporation and a clear legal structure, AB 816 will encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs that build the assets of working people throughout the state.”

State Assemblymember Rob Bonta, who introduced the bill, called worker-owned businesses "central" to a full economic recovery and a solution to the income-inequality gap. “As low-income communities continue to struggle with the dual problems of high rates of unemployment and low-wages, worker-owned, worker-managed small businesses have emerged as an effective way to rebuild the local economy and address economic inequality.”

The law is the result of a multi-year effort on the part of a coalition called the California Worker Cooperative Policy Coalition, which includes representation from the Sustainable Economies Law Center, the East Bay Community Law Center, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the Democracy at Work Institute, the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives, the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, and several individual members and supporters of cooperatives.

AB 816 is the latest example of a growing movement to strengthen local economies through the creation of small businesses that are democratically owned and operated by their workers. Specifically, AB 816 establishes a worker cooperative corporate entity, a statutory definition of a “worker cooperative", and eases barriers to raising investment capital from within the local community. AB 816 mandates that a worker cooperative have a class of worker-members, and that the worker-members control the cooperative.

Anya Kamenskaya, a worker-owner at Oakland-based DIG Cooperative, Inc., said the new law was necessary to help expand her business, a graywater installation and servicing company. DIG Cooperative, Inc.," Kamenskaya said, was incorporated in 2006 using the consumer cooperative statute because there was no way to legally form as a worker cooperative. "The language in the existing statute did not accurately portray the organizational structure of a worker-owned coop. The updated provisions in AB 816 will enable our business to more easily raise operation and expansion capital by securing securities exemptions. This, in turn, will increase our capacity to employ Oakland residents at a workplace that puts the well-being of our members first," she said. 

To read the full text of the bill at the State Legislature's website, click here


Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton backs co-ops for economic development

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(August 17, 2015)

U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton this month reiterated her support for cooperative development. As secretary of state, Clinton visited numerous cooperatives worldwide, including Cooperative Cafe Timor, established with support from NCBA CLUSA in 1994 and now East Timor's leading private-sector employer and one of the largest single-source suppliers of certified organic Arabica coffee in the world. During that visit, Clinton applauded CCT's role in creating economic opportunity and transforming rural communities.  Reporter Anca Voinea wrote this news release about Clinton's recent support of co-ops for Co-operative News

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is backing rural electric cooperatives as a means to boost local economies.

In an interview with the Daily Times Herald Sunday, Clinton talked about her role as senator of New York from 2001 to 2009. The state’s second-biggest industry was agriculture, and Clinton highlighted the important role played by rural electric co-ops across the state’s rural areas.

She called for more cooperatives in the retail sector to cut costs and “channel some of those saved resources into economic development and into a broader market outreach by small towns." Clinton also said there was a need to reinvent cooperatives for the future, allowing them to help entrepreneurs work together to share resources or staff.

During her time as senator, Clinton worked on a number of e-commerce initiatives to help small businesses market their products. In 2003, along with the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, she developed the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative (NATC).

This helped small, rural businesses expand their markets via the Internet through training and professional support. Known as the ‘eBay project’, NATC linked artisans and small business owners with technology such as eBay to reach national markets.

Between January 2009 and February 2013, while she served as secretary of state, Clinton visited cooperative enterprises in Africa and Asia funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Clinton is not the only presidential candidate to express support for the cooperative business model; Bernie Sanders, from Vermont, is also a keen supporter of co-ops and employee-owned enterprises.

In 2014, Sanders introduced a two-bill package to help workers who want to form their own businesses or set up worker-owned cooperatives. His economic agenda includes developing new economic models to increase job creation and provide assistance to employees who want to buy their business by setting up worker co-ops.


Federation of Southern Cooperatives Honors Lifetime Achievement of Civil Rights Leader and Activist, Reverend C. T. Vivian

Federation 46th Anniversary 350x350Federation 46th Anniversary 350x350On Friday, August 16, 2013 the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund held their 12th Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner and 46th Anniversary Celebration. Serving as Honorary Chairman for the 46th Annual Celebration Activities was NCBA CLUSA board member, William J. Nelson, vice president of Corporate Citizenship for CHS Inc. and president of the CHS Foundation. Also in attendance from NCBA CLUSA were Wilson Beebe, board chair and president of Thanexus, Inc.; Michael Beall, president and CEO; R.L. Condra, vice president of advocacy; and Tom Decker, director of domestic cooperative development.

Being honored as the 2013 recipient of the Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award was The Reverend C. T. Vivian. Reverend Vivian’s accomplishments are far too numerous to mention here, but he is best known for his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While serving with Dr. King he was national director of affiliates and strategist for every Southern Christian Leadership Conference (S.C.L.C.) organization. His work in Birmingham helped win the Civil Rights Bill; in Selma, the Voting Rights Bill; and he was deeply involved in other movements in Nashville, TN; Danville, VA; St. Augustine, FL; and Chicago, IL. Dr. Vivian won his first non-violent direct action movement in 1947 opening restaurants in Peoria, IL.

The Federation’s 46th Annual meeting was held in Epes, Alabama at the Rural Training and Research Center. The two-day meeting included a number of workshops and plenaries focusing on the ongoing Farm Bill negotiations, cooperative and rural development programs, and an update from USDA.

NCBA CLUSA is proud of its longtime association and collaboration with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund and looks forward to supporting the organization in its very important work. Please join us in congratulating The Reverend C. T. Vivian, as well as the Federation’s executive director Ralph Paige and director of field operations Cornelius Blanding, both of whom are NCBA CLUSA board members.

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