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


  • 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.

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Include Education Fund Fundraising into your food co-op events

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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