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.
Both international and domestic co-ops are eligible. To be eligible for a loan a co-op must meet all of the following criteria:
Be one of the following types of co-ops:
Supply chain cooperatives working directly with a food cooperative
Have access to resources (e.g., technical assistance or purchasing agreements that can support the co-op's recovery.)
Experienced effects resulting from a qualifying event within sixty days prior to applying for a loan (e.g., within sixty days of restored electric, cellular or internet services following a qualifying event.)
Serve one of the following charitable purposes that combat community deterioration and lessen the burden on government through continuation of applicant's business by:
Retaining local markets for agricultural products
Keeping low-income residents employed
Providing food in communities that would be denied reasonable access to food if the applicant was not operational.
The qualifying event has harmed or disrupted the co-op’s operations so that it cannot serve one or more of the charitable purposes above. This includes, but is not limited to, damage to a facility or a necessary piece of equipment, loss of inventory, or loss of a marketing outlet that threatens the livelihood of local producers and the economic health of the community.
Fund Requests: Process and Timeline
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:
Co-ops must submit an application to determine their eligibility to receive disaster relief funds. Co-ops may apply for funds for themselves and/or a local co-op in their supply chain. All applications must be received within 60 days of the aftermath of a Qualifying Event. Co-ops may submit applications to receive disaster funds in any of the following ways:
Co-ops not affiliated with NCG may apply directly by visiting the CDF website at www.cdf.coop.
Accommodations for NCG affiliated cooperatives
Although it is not necessary, NCG co-op designated representatives (DRs) can notify their NCG corridor advisor(s) as soon as practical that a Qualifying Event is likely to occur or has already occurred. NCG purchasing staff can notify the Advocacy Manager of Qualifying Events affecting national supply chain cooperatives.
If an NCG co-op is not able to complete an application online, a co-op DR may contact their Corridor Advisor or NCG’s Advocacy Manager at a safe and convenient time to complete the application over the phone. Upon receipt, the applications will be forwarded to the Loan Committee established to evaluate eligibility. All applicants must attest that the information they provide on the application is true and correct.
Evaluation & Approval
CDF’s Loan Committee will review and evaluate each application within 30 business days of its receipt. If a co-op is approved for a disaster relief loan, the co-op will be required to sign a loan agreement with CDF prior to disbursement of the funds.
If approved to receive a loan from the Fund, co-ops can anticipate receiving a check within 20 days after approval.
Interest free loans
Payment begin five years after signing of loan agreement
Payments scheduled over 60 months
Co-ops may repay the loan before it is due without penalty