The Kagawa Fund for Student Cooperative Development was created in 1989 to meet the need for democratically-controlled and affordable housing for students across North America. The seed money was a gift from the Japanese Consumers Cooperative Union in honor of Dr. Toyohito Kagawa, a prominent Japanese cooperative pioneer and educator. Dr. Kagawa started cooperatives in Japan, helped educate a generation of student cooperators in the 1930s, and was an inspirational force in the creation of the student cooperative movement in North America. In 1990 the Ray Arvio Memorial Fund was added. Mr. Arvio was a cooperative activist and educator who shared Dr. Kagawa’s philosophy. In 1997 the Art Danforth Cooperative Education Fund was added.
To read an article about Dr. Kawaga, North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), and the Kawaga Fund Click Here
From 1997 through 2009 the Kagawa Student Co-op Reinvestment Fund, a social investment Fund for student cooperatives, was part of the Kagawa Fund. From 1989 through 2009, the “combined” Kagawa Fund made 35 loans totaling $827,772 for one student co-op business, two student co-ops’ reserves, and 32 for the purchase and/or rehabilitation and construction of student co-op housing. These loans went to student co-op organizations in 13 states and one Canadian province and leveraged more than $1 million in student co-op housing. All but one were repaid with interest.
The Kagawa Fund is governed by a board of advisors from the student cooperative housing community. The current advisors are Brian Donovan of ICC in Austin, Gary Ellis of Riverton Community Housing in Minneapolis, and Alan Robinson of College Houses in Austin. Loan applications are accepted year round and must be recommended by the advisors to the CDF board, which makes the final decision. The CDF board will meet in 2013 in the spring, August, and November.
Why is student co-op housing better?
- The lower cost of co-op housing often makes the difference in being able to afford college or not.
- Since a cooperative is a business that is owned and governed by its member/owners, students living in a co-op gain knowledge and experience of co-ops, management, finance, and leadership.
- As all are member/owners who manage the co-op together, there is a heightened sense of community.
Some of the loans made by the Kagawa Funds:
- $30,000 to NASCO to purchase a house in Buffalo, NY
- $35,000 to Portland Collective Housing Syndicate to purchase a property
- $45,000 to Boston Community Co-op to purchase a property
- $20,000 to the University of Kansas Student Housing Association to renovate a property
- $24,500 to Bloomington Cooperative Living to purchase and renovate a fourth house in Bloomington, IN
- $23,000 to NASCO to purchase and rehab a house in Kalamazoo, MI