Friday, June 21, 2013

Co-op Jobs Act Introduced: HR 2437

Many thanks to Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) for re-introducing a bill to foster cooperative development throughout the country, H.R. 2437, the Creating Jobs Through Cooperatives Act. See

Monday, June 17, 2013

Food Co-op Initiative Announces Grant Opportunity


Contact: Stuart Reid   

Food Co-op Initiative Announces Grant Opportunity

Food Co-op Initiative today announced they are accepting applications for grants up to $10,000 for development of new grocery co-ops. The Seed Grant program provides a cash award along with proven resources to help organizations achieve success. Food Co-op Initiative advisers will work closely with awardees throughout their organizing process, including making at least one in-person visit to the community.

Food Co-op Initiative’s Seed Grant program is designed to streamline the startup process to foster the maximum number of successful, sustainable co-ops. These competitive grants must be matched by the co-op with funds raised locally. Grants may be used for payment to professional consultants, registration fees and expenses to attend training opportunities, and initiatives supporting member recruitment, capital-raising, community outreach, or other aspects of organizing the co-op.

Food Co-op Initiative was founded in 2010 in response to a continuing wave of interest in establishing new retail food co-ops. The Initiative provides a range of services to the hundreds of volunteer groups working to bring improved access to food and the other economic and social benefits of cooperatives to their communities.

In 2012, Food Co-op Initiative awarded $100,000 to 14 organizations in 12 states. Grants are funded by the USDA, Blooming Prairie Foundation, and the kind support of cooperators nationwide. Applications and guidelines are downloadable at Deadline for applications to be received is August 1st. Awards will be announced by September 1st.


About Food Co-op Initiative: Food Co-op Initiative is a non-profit foundation created to provide resources and support for communities that want to start new food co-ops. Food Co-op Initiative provides support, referrals, and training to help communities nationwide create successful grocery cooperatives.

Friday, June 7, 2013

reRoute: Building Youth and Student Power for a New Economy, July 19-21, New York City

Announcing reRoute: Building Youth and Student Power for a New Economy

This summer join a diverse new generation of practitioners and organizers from across the US and Canada to share strategies, tools, and stories about our work creating a solidarity economy from the ground up in our communities and on our campuses. reRoute: Building Youth and Student Power for a New Economy will bring together under-40 activists dedicated to systemic change for three days, July 19-21 at New York University. 

The event is sliding scale and scholarships are available. Housing deadline is June 12th. You can learn more at www.neweconomicsinstitute/reroute or by emailing

Full convergence program TBA but confirmed panels and workshops include:

*Pathways to a New Economy
with David Woods, Institute for Responsible Investment; Maliha Safiri, US Solidarity Economy Network; Alexa Bradley, On the Commons; Ed Whitfield, Fund for Democratic Communities, moderated by Atlee McFellin, Symcenter

*Making a Living in the New Economy
with Elandria Williams, Highlander Center; Farah Tanis, Black Women's Blueprint; Jessie Reilly, TimebanksNYC; Juliet Schor, Boston College, moderated by Joshua Stephens, NYC-based co-op developer

*Financing a New Economy
with Deyanira del Rio, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project; Steve Wong, the Working World; Lauren Ressler, Responsible Endowments Coalition, moderated by Kenneth Edusei, SolidarityNYC

*Teaching and Learning a New Economics
with Renaud Girac, University of Quebec; Brian Kelly, US Society for Ecological Economics; Olivia Geiger, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, moderated by Keith Harrington, New School

*Success Stories from the New Economics Institute Campus Network
with Sachie Hopkins Hayakawa, Swarthmore Mountain Justice; Marcie Hawkins-Smith, North Carolina Student New Economy Coalition; Joel Williams, the Oak Tree Spokane; David Porinchok, Northern Arizona University Action Research Program, moderated by Farhad Ebrahimi, The Chorus Foundation

Fossil Fuel Divestment and Beyond – Responsible Endowments Coalition
Possibilities For Participatory Budgeting – Participatory Budgeting Greensboro
Food Justice and The New Economy – CoFED and Mariposa Food Co-op
Building Political Power for a New Economy– SolidarityNYC/Philadelphia 
Co-op Alliance
Can The Economics Curriculum Be Reformed?  Lessons From Activists In France and Quebec – PEPS / Horizons Economiques
Universities As Anchors For A Sustainable And Just Food Economy – Real Food Challenge
Mapping The New Economy – Shareable/Data Commons Project/Solidarity NYC
How To Start A Worker Co-op – Cooperative Development Institute
Non-hierarchical Staffing Structures – North American Students Of Cooperation
Bringing Solidarity Home: creating alternative housing economies through 
cooperative living – NASCO
Timebanks From New York to California – Timebanks NYC/Bay Area Community Exchange
Cooperative and Democratic Leadership--AORTA

We'll also be offering solidarity economy tours of Brooklyn on Friday.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Webinar: Improving Your Cooperative’s Annual Meeting

Please forward this information on to all of your cooperative contacts and/or state council contacts.

Please join us for a FREE Webinar!

“Improving Your Cooperative’s Annual Meeting”

When: Thursday, June 13, 2013
4:00-5:00 pm ET/3:00-4:00 pm CT/2:00-3:00 pm MT/1:00 pm-2:00 pm PT

Most cooperative bylaws require an annual meeting. Your annual meeting can be a routine formality or it can be your major promotional event that stimulates good will and membership understanding. OnThursday, June 13 from 3:00-4:00 pm Central Time (CT), the eXtension Cooperatives Community of Practice, in conjunction with USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs and various state Cooperative Councils, will host a free webinar on improving annual meetings. Cooperative managers, employees, board members, and other stakeholders involved with planning and implementing your annual meeting are invited.
A panel of experts from various cooperative industry sectors will give their perspectives on how to improve your annual meeting. All of the speakers will take part in a discussion session responding to your questions as well discussing timely topics, including:
*     What is the best venue and format?
*     How to fill the room with active members!
*     How to create a culture of excitement!
*     Classic annual meeting mistakes to avoid!
Panel: David Swank, CEO, Central Rural Electric Cooperative, Stillwater, OK; Brian Ingulsrud, Vice President of Administration, American Crystal Sugar Company, Moorhead, MN; Tommy Engleke, Executive Vice President, Texas Agricultural Cooperative Council
Moderator: Phil Kenkel, Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair, Oklahoma State University
Webinar Link: (Enter as guest.)

Participants who pre-register by contacting will receive a copy of the presentation material and discussion summary.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Job Posting: Maine Housing Program Organizer, part-time

Cooperative Development Institute ( is seeking a new hire to join its New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) Program. The main work of the program is to assist the residents in the nearly 1200 manufactured home parks in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine to purchase their communities and manage them as resident-owned cooperatives. The program is part of the highly successful ROC USA Network (

This position will focus primarily on providing technical assistance to manufactured housing communities throughout the state of Maine. The successful candidate will be enthusiastic, a good communicator, a self-starter, ready to learn, able to travel and work on some evenings and weekends. The housing program work is part-time (20 hrs/week). A new hire may also have the option of supplementing this work by taking on fee-for-service cooperative development projects that the Cooperative Development Institute is working on outside of the NEROC program.

See job description below. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume with references to This position will remain open until filled.

Job Title: Housing Program Organizer (Part Time).
Reports to: Executive Director, Housing Program Manager
Base Salary Compensation: $18-20/hour plus benefits (Exempt)
Part-time Position: 20 hours/week
Position Overview:Provides all manner of training and assistance to new and existing resident-owned manufactured home communities, both individually and in groups; helps members understand their roles and responsibilities in order to more effectively manage their resident owned community; fosters a sense of empowerment and community spirit. Occasionally assists the Housing Program Manager in organizing manufactured home park residents to form cooperatives to purchase their park.
Housing Program Organizer
Essential Job Functions
  1. Assists in resident association board meetings, including preparation, agenda setting, running efficient meetings, follow-up, and review of minutes and financial statements.
  2. Provides organizational, administrative and reporting assistance to the Housing Program Manager
  3. Provides direct support and organizational training to cooperative board members, committees and residents.
  4. In each developing co-op, trains committees and facilitates the production of:
  • Bylaws
  • Community Rules
  • Membership committee policies and procedures
  • Policies for general governance of Associations
  1. Contributes to the development and implementation of workshops for board and community members on range of topics including: board and members’ roles and responsibilities, working in teams, infrastructure and planning for the future, best practices in managing contractors, community building, motivating volunteers, corporate finances and communication.
  2. Work with co-ops to maintain meticulous recordkeeping and filing systems and ensure they are up to date on loan compliance responsibilities as well as other legal, financial and regulatory compliance responsibilities.
  3. As needed, assists struggling cooperatives to assess their organizational health, identify problems, and develop goals and a plan of action.
  4. Other tasks and special projects, as assigned by the Program Manager.
Organizational Expectations:
  1. Responsible for conducting all activities within the prescribed policy and budgetary guidelines as set by the Board and administered by the Executive Director.
  2. Functions as a participant in CDI's Cooperative Development Team, sharing information effectively to assist others in doing CDI's work. Builds positive and strong relationships with other CDI staff.
  3. Demonstrates personal responsibility in job performance.
  4. Responsible for role modeling professional standard of behavior. Takes this role within the organization, is consistently respectful and professional with staff and clients.
  5. May be required to perform additional, related duties or functions of lesser or greater responsibility as negotiated to meet the ongoing needs of the organization.
Minimum Requirements
  1. 3 to 5 years of cooperative business experience, including project management experience in for-profit, non-profit community or economic development organizations.
  2. Experience with group facilitation, coaching a group through an autonomous decision-making process, and coping with conflict situations.
Knowledge Skills/Abilities
  1. Advanced degree in related field welcomed, minimum of Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  2. Must be extremely well organized with exceptional recordkeeping skills.
  3. Strong knowledge of fiscal management, strategic planning and general business practices.
  4. Working understanding of budgeting, real estate and financing.
  5. Strong knowledge of and commitment to cooperatives and cooperative development.
  6. Well-developed partnership, process development and integration and planning skills.
  7. Excellent communication skills, including public speaking, consensus-building and facilitation skills.
  8. Proactive and team-oriented leadership required.
  9. Ability to think critically and solve problems creatively with small and large groups.
  10. Demonstrated experience working effectively on a team.
  11. Demonstrated success in community building and organizing.
  12. Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  13. Demonstrated experience in working remotely/independently.
  14. Computer literacy required.
  15. Ability to work with diverse groups of residents as well as attorneys, engineers, and other professionals.
  16. Available evenings and occasional weekends.
  17. Ability to travel.
  18. Experience with cooperative governance structures and working with boards of directors preferred.
  19. Experience with meeting process, property management, or contractor negotiations a bonus.
  1. Well spoken and articulate.
  2. Calm demeanor; able to perform under pressure during difficult interpersonal conflict.
  3. Plans ahead, able to complete tasks and meet tight deadlines.
  4. Able to understand and manage multiple complex tasks.
  5. Works collaboratively, self-motivated, flexible, enthusiastic.

In accordance with Federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the base of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (voice and TDD).