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Co-op Governance Survey supported by CoBank Advised Fund

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives is launching the first national, cross-sectoral study on cooperative governance practices with the support of the CoBank University Giving Fund, a donor advised fund of CDF. The Cooperative Governance Research Initiative will address a critical knowledge gap for cooperative researchers, practitioners, and policymakers and help cooperatives reflect on and improve governance practices. The biennial survey of member-owned businesses will examine a range of cooperative governance topics including board diversity, board compensation, and the board-management relationship.

"Funding for this research will benefit cooperatives in all industries, providing management, researchers, educators and policy makers with vital information regarding governance practices that will help to support the success of cooperatives across the country," said Sherry Johnson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, CoBank.

Industry leaders from across the cooperative community will help shape the research questions, increase survey participation, and generate long-term support for the project.

"It's an honor to serve on this advisory committee, said Tamela Blalock, Vice President Cooperative Relations, NCBA CLUSA. "The research on governance practices has been incomplete for far too long. Corporate governance is an often studied practice with a primary focus on serving shareholders. The study of cooperative governance practice should reveal the nuances of serving a member-ownership community."

The Fund also awarded grants to:

  • Dakota College at Bottineau, Bottineau, ND, to support the Spirit Lake Community Food Systems Project

  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, to support the AgrAbility and Tribal Local Foods program on the Pine Ridge reservation

The CoBank University Giving Fund is a donor advised fund administered by CDF that provides financial support to university programs involving research, development or coursework that strengthen U.S. agriculture, cooperatives, agribusiness and rural infrastructure.

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