Co-op Legacy

Legacy is the challenge of having the thrust of your life or your organization's be perpetuated beyond an individual lifetime. Children offer this to many individuals, and we gamely try to pass our values to them. Leaders of the food co-op community must ask what we're doing to perpetuate cooperatives. Are we actively recruiting and training young people as members, staff, and directors? Do we support efforts to develop cooperatives? What will our legacy be?

A dear friend of co-ops, Kris Olsen, died in April 1998. He was an inspiration to many and the catalyst for many of the co-ops that pepper the Upper Midwest. He believed that co-ops are a great way to bring about a happier, more just world. Consistent with those values, upon Kris' death a donation was made to the Cooperative Foundation to further efforts to train the current generation of cooperators and to provide support for a new generation of leaders. Others before him have shown similar generosity, and we are all beneficiaries of their legacies.

Below are some organizations dedicated to furthering cooperatives in the U.S. Whether you choose one of these groups or some other, please consider making annual gifts to programs that support co-op growth and development. You might also include them in your estate plan. If you can't afford a donation, put some of your cash to work by investing in a co-op loan fund.

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Cooperative Development Foundation
1401 New York Av. NW, Washington DC 20005 202/383-5459 Supports education of directors and managers of food co-ops and provides scholarships to CCMA attendees. Tax exempt.

The Cooperative Foundation
PO Box 64047, St. Paul MN 55164 651/451-5481 Supports cooperative education, development, lending in the Midwest Tax exempt.

Cooperative Fund of New England
PO Box 412, Hartford CT 06141 910/395-6008 Provides loans to co-ops and non-profits in New England and New York. Tax exempt.

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF)
20 Park Plaza #1127, Boston MA 02116 617/542-5363 Nationwide lending to worker-owned and community-based businesses. Tax exempt.

Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund
1219 University AV SE, Minneapolis MN 55414 612/331-9103 Provides loans to co-ops in ten Upper Midwest states. Loan Fund.

Puget Sound Development Foundation
4201 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle WA 98105 206/632-4559 Provides assistance to co-ops in several sectors. Tax exempt.

See other articles from this issue: #081 March - April - 1999