We encourage you to donate to the Cooperative Development Foundation in the memory of Rick Merrill, the husband of NCBA CLUSA President and CEO Judy Ziewacz.

Rick suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2005 leaving him in need of full-time home care.

His accident set Judy on a mission to use the cooperative model to improve the quality of home care jobs, with the goal of creating an environment of stable, reliable and more consistent care that meets the needs of those being cared for and stability for those providing the care.

That is why when Rick died on June 9, Judy designated the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) as the recipient of memorials in his name.

CDF is at the forefront of using the cooperative model to develop and strengthen home care cooperatives that improve worker job quality and wages. Your contribution will be used to educate and inform those working to build this vital sector of the cooperative economy by providing travel and lodging support for home care cooperative board members to attend the 2nd Annual CDF National Home Care Cooperative Conference.

Most of us will not face the challenges met by Rick and Judy.  However, we will likely all need home care services for ourselves or a loved one at some point.

Today 52% of people age 65 or older require some form of long-term care.  Home care workers provide services that allow seniors and people with disabilities to remain in their homes, closer to their families and support groups.

Unfortunately, that option may not be available if the home care profession cannot attract and retain qualified workers.  Demand for direct care services such as home care are projected to grow faster than any other occupation in the next 10 years. However low wages, few benefits, poor supervision, demanding workloads, inconsistent scheduling, isolation, lack of training and support, and limited advancement opportunities threaten to derail this growth.

Without a reliable direct care workforce, seniors and people with disabilities will not get the care they need. Families will be forced to give up outside employment to care for loved ones.

Judy’s service to NCBA was only possible because she had access to quality home care services.  “For the past 12 years, caring, reliable home care provided peace of mind and improved quality of life for both Rick and I,” Judy shared. “ Unfortunately, our experience is the exception and not the rule in an industry plagued with low wages and high turnover. Cooperatives offer the potential to provide quality jobs, wages and care. Worker owned cooperative give members a voice in how the business is run and better quality, full time employment; have lower turnover which supports person-centered care, and create alternative paths to ownership and wealth creation for workers.”

Please join us in making a contribution to CDF in the memory of Rick Merrill and in appreciation of Judy’s commitment to cooperatives.  The Cooperative Development Foundation is a public charity exempt from taxation under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contribution to the fund may be tax deductible. All contributions over $25 will be acknowledged in writing.