From 2010 through 2014 the Fund will be primarily focused on affordable housing and international cooperative development. The Co-op Innovation Fund was established in 2010 by the National Cooperative Business Association, ncb (formerly National Cooperative Bank), Nationwide, and the United Housing Foundation. It combines what were CDF’s NCBA, Sollars, and Hillman-Dubinsky Funds. The remaining assets of the United Housing Foundation were added in 2011. From 2010 through 2014 the Fund will be primarily focused on affordable housing and international cooperative development. Beginning in 2015 the Fund’s focus will be determined by its board of advisors and CDF’s board of directors.
The Fund is undergoing a strategic planning process and will not make any grants until this process has been completed. The Co-op Innovation Fund is an endowment fund. Grant size and number of grants are based on need, merit, and amount of funding available. Individuals receiving a grant become ineligible for funding for five years. Upon completion of their project, recipients must submit a report to CDF. Applications are considered during the quarterly meetings of the Fund’s advisors. These meetings are usually held in February, May, August, and November. All applications recommended by the advisors must be approved by CDF’s board of directors.
The NCBA Fund was established the late 1980s to support NCBA’s domestic and international cooperative development programs and various other cooperative endeavors. It gave 70 grants totaling $1,832,229, including $30,000 to National Productions for the co-op documentary, $15,000 to the Credit Union Foundation to promote business opportunities between credit unions and other types of co-ops, $100,000 to NCBA for the CLUSA Institute, $3,318 for co-op colleagues from Nicaragua to visit D.C., $7,500 to NCBA for the .coop application process, $21,500 to NCBA for its AMKENI project, $9,500 to NCBA for the Equity Task Forces’ feasibility study, and $10,000 to NCBA for the research project on the impact of co-ops in the U.S.
The Sollars Fund was established in 1990 to honor Frank Sollars, a lifelong promoter of international cooperation and former chair of NCBA, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and ncb. The Fund supported travel by U.S. volunteer cooperators to visit, teach, and learn from cooperators overseas. It gave 33 grants totaling $98,180, including $3,071 to send two volunteers to Russia to present co-ops as an alternative way of development, $5,251 to send four representatives to the ICA Forum for Women Cooperators, $3,100 to the Cooperative Housing Foundation to send volunteers to the Philippines and Poland, $5,140 to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives to visit southern Africa to investigate trade opportunities and provide technical assistance, $1,600 to support a stop in Japan by the NASCO delegation to an ICA meeting, and $5,000 to Partners Worldwide to send volunteers to Senegal to assist a women’s dairy co-op.
The Hillman-Dubinsky Fund was established in the early 1990s to honor co-op labor leaders Sidney Hillman and David Dubinsky by providing pre-development loans for affordable, limited equity co-op housing for working men and women and their families. It made five loans totaling $40,000:
- $10,000 to the Center for Cooperative Housing to determine the feasibility of converting a building to cooperative ownership
- $10,000 to the National Association of Housing Cooperatives for a prefeasibility study on co-op conversion-$10,000 to the National Association of Housing Cooperatives to determine the feasibility of converting a building to cooperative ownership
- $5,000 to Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund to expand their ability to lend for co-o housing- $5,000 to Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund as an equity investment to help get a $230,000 grant that will be lent to co-ops