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Building the Field

The Cooperative Education Fund supports cooperative research, sponsors cooperative education events and scholarships and develops cooperative education materials and programs.

Each year, the Cooperative Education Fund offers:

  • 10-15 grants to support cooperative education programs

  • 6-10 event sponsorships

  • Individual scholarship support through a grant to the Ralph K. Morris Foundation

The Fund provides $90,000 - $100,000 in grants, scholarships, and sponsorships annually. Over $1,000,000 has been donated in the past ten years

Grant Cycles

  • May 1

  • October 1

OUR GRANT PRIORITIES

  • Research about cooperatives

  • Development and distribution of cooperative education materials and programs

    • The fund will not support the development of proprietary materials. Materials developed with support from the Cooperative Education Fund must be available to all at little or no cost

  • Scholarships

    • Organizations hosting education events may apply for scholarships. The fund does not provide scholarships to individuals

  • Sponsorships of National or Regional events related to cooperatives.

What else do you need to know? 

  • The Cooperative Education Fund will not give grants for:

    • Capital expenditures, general operating expenses or endowments

    • Sponsorships of local events

    • Projects outside the U.S.

    • Projects or programs that have already occurred

  • Grants range between $1000 to $10,000.  The typical grant is within the range of $1000 to $5000.

  • Contact us prior to applying to assure your project fits our criteria.

  • Grant evaluations must be submitted within 30 days of the program/project completion. The evaluation is a narrative report on the program/project and must be submitted online. An organization must submit an evaluation to be considered for a future grant.

Unsung Heroes Research Grants

CDF’s Cooperative Education Fund will offer small grants to individuals interested in conducting research to identify and provide documentation for nominations of individuals from groups of people whose work and achievements in advancing cooperatives have gone unrecognized. If you are interested in finding out more about the research grants, please contact Kirstie Boyette at kboyette@ncba.coop.

Meet the Cooperative Education Fund Grantees

Building Blocks for a Cooperative Economy
Building Blocks for a Cooperative Economy
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Worker Co-op Week
Worker Co-op Week

Worker Co-op Week is a virtual conference and meeting space for worker-owners to share skills, organize and connect with peers through leading relevant and thoughtful discussions, panel sessions, presentations and more.

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Solidarity Economy Series
Solidarity Economy Series

Through a series of educational events, the primary purpose of the event series is to offer participants an in-depth understanding of cooperatives and the solidarity economy landscape at a national and regional level, in order to spark conversations around how to bring solidarity economy initiatives to fruition in their community.

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Development Without Displacement
Development Without Displacement

This campaign to convert an 8-plex housing unit at 652 Sherburne (herein “The Sherburne Project”) into a Housing Cooperative will include the co-creation of multicultural education and training materials centered on how to sustain and support a community-owned, democratically-controlled housing cooperative that is affordable and culturally inclusive, while also nurturing the authentic leadership development of local residents.

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Development of education materials on cooperative development
Development of education materials on cooperative development

reate accessible printed materials for our advanced coop development workshops in the form of a workbook. The workbooks are a tool to guide cooperative start up teams with a series of tasks and instructions for success: Practicing Democracy; Sustainable Business Model Canvas; Mission/Purpose; Elements of a Business Plan; Feasibility Plans; Co-op Financials; Start-Up Budgets/Raising Capital/Timebanking; Legal considerations.

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With Our Powers Combined: Strengthening NYC's Solidarity Economy - Research
With Our Powers Combined: Strengthening NYC's Solidarity Economy - Research

UHAB, NYC NoWC, and CEANYC hosted a three-part workshop series that brought together co-op members across that identified multiple opportunities for cross sector cooperatives collaboration. This research phase will draw from the conversations about policy and value chains to develop and support the formation of a stronger citywide cooperative network.

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Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference
Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference

The Up & Coming Food Co-op Conference was created to address the issues facing start-up food co-ops and is the only such conference in the country. Food co-ops serve as important business organizations that contribute to the increase in the density of local food networks. Food co-ops also expand the reach of local food markets to a variety of consumers: from “core” to “periphery” consumers.

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2021 North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship
2021 North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship

The North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship (North Star) is a six-month fellowship focused on Black American Cooperative Economics. The North Star is centered on the history of Black cooperative economic thought and practice. We place priority on applicants who share the ancestry of Enslaved Africans in the United States and place value on their legacy of cooperative economics and collective care.

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Webinar Series Study Guide
Webinar Series Study Guide

Comprehensive training programs for staff are lacking in the food co-op environment -the Study Guides used in combination with the Webinar Series will offer an easily available and engaging, yet comprehensive tool to teach staff, co-op boards and potentially member-owners about cooperatives. The Study Guides will take the burden off individual co-ops, particularly smaller co-ops with fewer resources, in creating co-op training materials.

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Include Education Fund Fundraising into your food co-op events
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The “Neighboring Co-operator Award” acknowledges special contributions made to the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) and the advancement of our vision. As part of the award, the NFCA makes a contribution to the Education Fund in honor of the recipient and invites other co-ops, organizations and individuals to do so as well.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Cooperative Education Fund in honor of our Neighboring Co-operators, please use the "Donate" button below!

At our 11th Annual Meeting in 2022, the NFCA honored Glenn Lower, General Manager at Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, with the award, acknowledging his leadership and contribution to our collaborative efforts to grow food co-op startups in the Northeast and nationwide.

Past recipients of the award, launched in 2015, have included Alex Gyori, former General Manager of Brattleboro Food Co-op (VT); Terry Appleby, General Manager of Hanover Co-op Food Stores (NH & VT); Kay Litten, NFCA Board Member and longtime Director of Hanover Co-op Food Stores (NH & VT), Roger Noonan, President of the New England Farmers Union; Patrice Lockert Anthony, President of GreenStar Co-op Markets (NY); Joanne Todd, Director at Willimantic Food Co-op (CT) and CEO, Northeast Family Credit Union; and JQ Hannah, Assistant Director at Food Co-op Initiative (FCI).

Glenn Lower, General Manager, Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op

2022 Neighboring Co-operator Award recipient

The Neighboring Food Co-op Association raises funds for the Education Fund with its Neighboring Cooperator Award

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