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. The Fund is governed by a board of advisors from the student cooperative housing community and makes loans to student cooperatives for the purchase and rehabilitation of property that is or will become student cooperative housing.
The Kagawa Student Co-op Reinvestment Fund, which was started by CDF in 1997 and managed by CDF through 2009, received nine investments and made 18 loans. These loans enabled student co-op organizations to start a business, purchase and rehab or convert properties, and add to the operating reserve in California, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Ontario, Canada. These loans allowed borrowers to leverage more than six times the loan amounts and have provided affordable housing for more than 520 students each academic year.
Student co-op housing has significant benefits:
- Affordable housing provided by a co-op often makes the difference in being able to afford college or not.
- Students living in a co-op learn not only about cooperatives but also about finance and management.
- Students living in a co-op have a heightened sense of community.