CDF’s Mission: To promote self-help and mutual aid in community, economic and social development through cooperative enterprise. While CDF engages in educational programming and public outreach activities, a substantial amount of its work involves management of grant and loan funds.
The following list describes the nature of that grant and loan activity, as well as some of the other program initiatives in which CDF engages on a regular basis:
- Scholarships for co-op staff and board of directors training (The Howard Bowers Fund for the food cooperative community);
- Pre-development financing from a revolving loan fund for affordable senior housing cooperative projects, in both urban and rural settings ( The Jacob Kaplan Fund);
- Gap financing from a revolving loan fund for acquisition of, or repair of student housing cooperatives (the Kagawa Funds);
- Grant awards for feasibility studies and technical assistance for innovative cooperative development initiatives that address the needs of seniors in rural America (The MSC Fund);
- Recognition of outstanding cooperative leaders through the Cooperative Hall of Fame (www.heroes.coop );
- Educational programming that both enables networking among co-op development practitioners and raises awareness about cooperatives in the public policy arena (in 2005, a Forum on Cooperative Solutions for Seniors; in 2006 and 2007, an online auction profiling the work of the U.S. art and craft cooperative community);
- Served as a fiscal agent for organizations engaged in cooperative development such as: Central American coffee cooperative, Cooperation Works!, and the network of U.S. cooperative development centers interested in agriculture;
- Management of United Co-op Appeal, a workplace giving program that annually raises unrestricted funds for more than a dozen organizations engaged in domestic and international cooperative development;
- In response to recent natural disasters, CDF also raised close to $200,000 for economic recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian Tsunami. In both cases, the funds are being used for economic and community recovery, repairs to cooperative businesses, cooperative education, and the creation of new cooperative businesses as part of the total recovery from these disasters.
- CDF has recently added the Jim Jones Fund and the Melbah Smith Scholarship Fund in the past six months. These are educational funds that are directed toward ensuring that younger generations can become cooperative leaders.
- CDF initiates the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame, a ceremony that honors Cooperative heroes each and every year. This event not only spreads the teachings of cooperation across the nation, but it serves as a major fundraiser for CDF.
- CDF also raises money for their efforts in cooperative development with their annual 5k race held sometime during Co-op month (October). The race offers plenty of prizes, fun, and some luxuries that other races don’t (we’ve had former Washington, DC, Mayor Adrian Fenty come to the race).