This is the time of year when we take stock of what we’ve accomplished in 2012 and lay the groundwork for the year ahead. 2012 has been an intense year for the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) and we are proud of what we have accomplished! I’d like to share some of the highlights with you.
- 2012 has been a special year for the worldwide cooperative community thanks to the declaration by the United Nations that the year be observed as The International Year of the Cooperative (IYC). The theme of the observance has been “Cooperatives Build a Better World” and nowhere is this more evident than in the American cooperative community. We were pleased to participate in that observance by hosting a Forum in May 2012 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC that profiled the overseas development work of the US cooperative community.
- Grants and scholarships awarded totaling $95,086 in 2012 through our named funds (Howard Bowers Fund, MSC Fund, Shirley Sullivan Fund and the Co-op Innovation Fund) enabled us to support substantive development work, public awareness initiatives and educational opportunities related to cooperative governance and management.
- A 2012 grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, enabled us to expand upon our own portfolio of development work (MSC Fund) related to cooperative home care and cooperative housing. What’s most exciting about this work is the new visibility it has allowed us to bring to the cooperative business model, as well as the collaborations and new partnerships that are happening as a result that involve organizations outside the cooperative community.
- The 6th Co-op Principle – co-ops helping other co-ops – continues to provide inspiration for our own work on behalf of our colleagues in the U.S. cooperative community. Through our administration of United Co-op Appeal, an annual workplace giving program, we were pleased to raise more than $65,000 on behalf of our sister cooperative development organizations. And, through our Emergency Fund, CDF has been fundraising and awarding grants ($170,000) to cooperatives severely damaged by disastrous storms around the world (Japan) and here in the U.S. (Hurricanes Irene and Sandy). CDF takes no administrative fee for its work related to both of these initiatives so that 100% of the funds raised directly benefit the cooperative organizations themselves.
We are especially proud of the role we are playing in helping to get visibility and traction for the cooperative model and nowhere has that been more satisfying than in the development that’s happened around rural cooperative home care and housing. Through our MSC Fund, we are pleased to have played a supporting role over the past 7 years in the growth and development of as many as 15 rural cooperatives: 11 mobile home parks converted to cooperative ownership, 3 rural home care cooperatives supported during different stages of development, and a rural social services group that reorganized itself to become a cooperative. And it’s only one example of the power of the cooperative model to provide jobs, to add value to local economies, and to provide marketplace and quality of life solutions! We’re looking forward to continuing this work in 2013 and I encourage you to view our website further for more information on this and all the activities in which CDF engages.
I hope that you are as proud of these accomplishments as we are! After all, you have been an important part of our work through your generous support throughout the years. While CDF’s assets support our grant/loan programs, we have to raise the funds for our own operations (including our fundraising on behalf of others) through special events and through generous contributions from supporters like you. I can’t thank you enough for your past support and I hope that you are able to make a tax-deductible contribution again this year.
Yours in cooperation,