National Co+op Grocers Community Resiliency Loan Fund
The National Co+op Grocers Community Resiliency Loan Fund strengthens the resiliency of our communities and our co-op system by providing support in times of need following a disaster.
Food cooperatives are often anchor institutions, playing an over-sized role in many communities. Cooperatives prioritize local purchasing to maintain local agriculture and access to fresh fruits and vegetables, keeping farmers on the land and preserving open space. Cooperatives provide good jobs, often with benefits and wages that exceed the local average. Cooperatives are actively involved in their community, supporting local events, promoting healthy eating and contributing to food pantries. Many cooperatives maintain their downtown locations, providing stability and food within walking distance for residents. Other cooperatives have used their resources to expand to areas with limited healthy food access.
That is why when a cooperative is knocked on its heels by a disaster, the benefit of getting the business up and running again accrues to the community the cooperative serves. Employees get paid, farmers have markets and the community is stabilized.
This Fund will collect donations and make no-interest loans to aid food co-ops and cooperative supply chain partners who serve certain charitable purposes and whose viability is at risk due to a natural or human-caused disaster (a “Qualifying Event”). The loans will enable these co-ops to resume operations so they can continue to serve their communities as quickly as possible after a disaster. Because disasters present unpredictable and unprecedented circumstances, we will learn and adapt together as we develop this program.
A Qualifying Event is any natural or human-caused disaster outside an eligible co-op’s direct control. Examples of Qualifying Events include, but are not limited to, hurricanes, tornados, extreme flooding, prolonged drought, wildfire, extended power outages, and acts of violence.
The Fund is housed at and managed by the Cooperative Development Foundation.
CDF requires a co-op that is selected for a disaster relief loan to execute a loan agreement in which the recipient agrees to: i) use the loan funds only for the purposes for which they were requested; ii) submit a report to CDF that describes how loan funds were used. The loan agreement may contain other terms necessary to ensure loan funds are used for a charitable purpose.
Applications for disaster relief loans will be reviewed by a Loan Committee under the authority of CDF’s board. Aid in the form of a loan will be granted only if the committee determines that making the loan will further CDF’s charitable purposes.
The National Co+op Grocers Community Resiliency Loan Fund should not be confused with CDF’s Disaster Recovery Fund, which is open to co-ops in all sectors.
Evaluation and Approval
CDF’s Loan Committee will ensure the following before approving a loan from the Fund:
Applicant meets all Eligibility Requirements;
Notwithstanding the disaster, the applicant’s business is sustainable;
The requested loan is appropriate in amount based on the needs and resources of the eligible recipient; and
By providing a loan to a co-op, a substantial public benefit will be achieved.
The Loan Committee will document each decision and the rationale for each decision it makes.
Fund Requests: Process and Timeline
Both international and domestic co-ops are eligible. To be eligible for a loan a co-op must meet all of the following criteria:
We recognize that no two Qualifying Events will be the same and no two eligible recipients are the same, and that some flexibility will be needed to respond with compassion to those coping with disastrous circumstances. Generally, our anticipated process and timeline will be as follows: