Video of NCBA CLUSA’s 100th anniversary kickoff press conference now available

kickoff pressclub 500 4f5a7kickoff pressclub 500 4f5a7NCBA CLUSA kicked off its 100th Anniversary at the National Press Club earlier this month with the formal launch of the bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and testimonials from a broad spectrum of co-op advocates ranging from top co-op executives to an Organic Valley farmer leading the “Generation Organic” revolution among new family farmers in the U.S. Video of the full press conference is now available. Click here to watch.

The video includes remarks from Judy Ziewacz, interim president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA; Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), caucus co-chair; Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI); caucus co-chair; Lillian Salerno, deputy under secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development; and Meegan Moriarty, legal support for USDA – Rural Development.

The video also features testimonials from the co-op sector, including Gina Schaefer, owner of 11 Ace Hardware stores in the Washington, D.C. area; Chuck Snyder, president of the National Cooperative Bank; Bruce Carrozzi, Divisional vice president of Retail Growth for True Value; Terry Ingram, an Organic Valley farmer; Dan Arnett, general manager of Central Co-op; and Molly Moisan, director of Outreach for Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.

CHS Inc. corporate citizenship, foundation head to retire in March

william nelson CHS web 9439dwilliam nelson CHS web 9439d

CHS Inc., the nation's leading cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods business, announced January 21 that William Nelson will retire March 1 as vice president of Corporate Citizenship and president of the CHS Foundation.

"During William's more than two decades with CHS, he has led the growth of our stewardship activities, focusing on opportunities that positively impact CHS and its owners," said Linda Tank, senior vice president of CHS Communications and Public Affairs. "He has helped put CHS at the forefront of agriculture safety and the development of next generation agricultural and rural leaders through partnerships with universities and colleges, our unique cooperative education grants designed to help tell the cooperative story, and FFA's National Teach Ag initiative."

Nelson helped develop the company's New Leader Forum for next generation producers and also contributed to the growth and development of successful CHS employee volunteerism programs in support of the cooperative's commitment to stewardship in the communities in which it does business. He also served numerous roles with external CHS partners, building strong relationships with universities, associations and the cooperative community. Among his current positions are the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives' Executive Education Committee, the National Cooperative Business Association Board of Directors and the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America Board.

Nelson joined CHS in 1992 after serving 13 years as a University of Minnesota faculty member and administrator. He has been awarded FFA's Honorary American Farmer Degree and in 2015 was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.

Tank said CHS will conduct a search for a successor in the coming months with a commitment to continuing to add value for our employees, owners and rural communities through CHS stewardship programs. In 2015, CHS and the CHS Foundation contributed $15.5 million to shape the future through developing ag leaders, building strong rural communities and improving agriculture safety.

CHS Inc. is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

Cooperative loan fund changes its name

shared cap coop 500 1477fshared cap coop 500 1477fNorthcountry Cooperative Development Fund announced this month that it has changed its name to Shared Capital Cooperative. The Minneapolis-based loan fund specializes in providing loans and business assistance to small businesses and affordable housing that are owned cooperatively.

“The new name reflects the growth of our mission and our commitment. It is not at all a change of direction,” said Christina Jennings, Shared Capital Cooperative’s Executive Director. “Over the past decade, we have responded to a growing opportunity to support cooperative ownership in local communities throughout the U.S. Now it is time for our name to better reflect the broader geographic scope of our work and our membership.”

Shared Capital provides financing to a variety of cooperative businesses including worker-owned companies, community-owned grocery stores, small farmer co-ops and multi-family housing owned by residents. Shared Capital’s loans range in size from $5,000 micro loans up to $500,000. Shared Capital currently has over $9.5 million in loans out to cooperatives in more than two dozen states. In 2015, Shared Capital made loans totaling over $4.5 million to co-ops in twelve states, with two-thirds of the money going to co-ops organized in low-income communities.  

The Fund was formed in 1978 by several Minneapolis-St. Paul cooperatives. Finding that they often couldn’t qualify for bank loans, the co-ops decided to create their own self-help, revolving loan fund where they could invest their extra cash and borrow when they needed a loan. Today, Shared Capital, which is organized as a cooperative association, is owned by almost 200 cooperatives across 30 states. The funds capital comes from investments by member cooperatives, as well as from foundations, religious congregations and other groups that support their work.

The cooperative business model is based on democratic ownership by a group of people with a shared interest in the business, whether as consumers, employees or other stakeholders. Decision-making is based on a democratic structure of one member one vote, rather than exercising power based on the size of a financial investment.

Jennings explains, “The cooperative business model is an excellent tool for community development. It is a self-help model that allows individuals to come together to address a shared need or respond to a business opportunity, and then to share in the rewards of that work.”

“The cooperatives we have financed play important roles in their communities, generating good jobs, building affordable places to live and engaging their members in democratic decision-making at a grassroots level,” Jennings said. The businesses financed by Shared Capital Cooperative over the past two years provide almost 900 jobs in their communities—more than 30 full-time jobs per business on average.

Jennings noted that there has been renewed interest in cooperative business models in recent years as people look for alternatives to the models that lead to the Great Recession. “Our role is as important as ever,” Jennings said. “As a cooperative ourselves, we also have a shared understanding of the cooperative business model and of cooperative capital structures. And even more importantly, we are not just providing co-ops with access to capital, but access to co-op friendly financing that supports the democratic ownership structures of their cooperatives.”

About Shared Capital
Shared Capital Cooperative is a national loan fund that provides financing and technical assistance to cooperatively owned small businesses and affordable housing in order to build economic democracy. Federally certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), loans and assistance from Shared Capital Cooperative are primarily focused in low-income communities that build economic opportunity through democratic ownership.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shared Capital is organized as a cooperative association and is owned by nearly 200 cooperatives across 30 states that borrow from and invest in the fund. Since its founding in 1978, Shared Capital Cooperative has provided more than 800 loans to cooperatives totaling more than $40 million.

Food For Change filmmaker Steve Alves planning free online release in October

story of coops 500 952a9story of coops 500 952a9In an ambitious plan to educate more Americans about the value and impact of cooperatives, filmmaker and NCBA CLUSA member Steve Alves is aiming to make his documentary, Food For Change, available for free online beginning October 1, 2016.

Dubbed “the Ben Hur of co-op movies” by cooperative historian David Thompson, Food For Change explores food co-ops and their influence on social and economic change in the U.S., making the case that food co-ops are the authentic choice in a marketplace increasingly flooded with natural foods.

New elements to accompany the anticipated online release include:

•    A new trailer and three 15-second spots announcing the film’s online release
•    A team of 3 – 5 journalists who cover election year issues from the co-op perspective
•    Articles in national and local newspapers about the story of co-ops
•    Radio and television interviews with the filmmaker
•    Articles from Food For Change sent to co-ops to publish in their newsletters
•    A framed movie poster for co-ops advertising the film’s online release date
•    Continuous feeds from Food For Change for social media channels
•    Release of clips from the film that have potential to go viral
•    Screenings in 30 cities nationwide with congressional representatives and other civic leaders in attendance.

A Spanish language version of Food For Change is also on the docket.

Click here to learn more about this project, watch a trailer of Food For Change or schedule a screening at your co-op, startup or community group.

NCBA CLUSA is seeking Knowledge Management, Monitoring & Evaluation system; click through to submit proposal

database 500 0ea5bdatabase 500 0ea5bNCBA CLUSA is seeking proposals for a database that will support knowledge management, monitoring & evaluation and project management and collaboration requirements, while aggregating information to look across projects and track commonalities, trends and more.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is designed to solicit proposals from competent, experienced organizations, firms and/or individuals interested in designing a system that would allow NCBA CLUSA to track progress on indicators and disseminate the knowledge and materials generated during program implementation to a wider audience.

Click here to read the full RFP and submit your proposal. Proposals are due February 22; clarifying questions are due February 5.


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