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Bill Gessner Legacy Grants Support Food Co-ops


The legacy of cooperative developer and Hall of Fame member Bill Gessner lives on with grants to create an annual award for excellence in start-up cooperative development, provide scholarships to CCMA, and offer coaching to food co-op general managers. The Bill Gessner Legacy Fund, organized by friends and colleagues and administered by CDF, was formed to celebrate the life and work of Bill Gessner by supporting the growth and sustainability of start-up and existing food cooperatives. CDF’s board of directors approved the recommendation of the Legacy Fund to provide the following grants totaling $80,000:   


  • The creation and administration of a new annual award to recognize excellence in startup co-op development. The award will be administered by the Food Co-op Initiative and seeks to increase the number, success, and sustainability of new food cooperatives delivering access to healthy food in diverse communities. 

  • Support scholarships to CCMA for 10 years. The Howard Bowers Fund will administer the scholarships as part of its existing CCMA scholarship program.

  • An annual award to provide coaching to a general manager of a food co-op. The program will be administered by National Co+op Grocers.


"Bill Gessner was a Cooperative Hero. With his untimely death last year, the cooperative community came together to memorialize his life and to support the work most near and dear to his heart" said Marilyn Scholl, Manager, CDS Consulting. "After raising over $80,000, the planning committee is pleased to fund these three grant programs. We are grateful to all who contributed to honor Bill and his immense contribution to the food co-op community."

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