Expanding Co-op Community Funds

Local contributions grow while combined assets support co-op development

For the coming year we have high hopes for the growth of the Cooperative Community Fund program. Looking ahead, here are the results that we anticipate:
At the end of 2005 the partner co-ops of the Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) will:
• Grow to operate 18 retail stores
• Serve over 10 million customers a year
• Conduct over $150 million a year in retail trade
• Serve 100,000 member households
• See the largest CCF at the Hanover Co-op grow to more than $120,000
• Have a combined CCF endowment of over $500,000

A Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) acts like an endowment. The annual earnings are donated by the local CCF to nonprofit and cooperative groups. By the end of 2005 the CCFs will have made donations of over $40,000 to more than 125 nonprofit groups. These donations fall into four categories of importance to co-op members: 1) sustainable agriculture, food, and hunger, 2) environment, 3) social services and community, and 4) cooperatives.

In 2004 we have eleven sponsor co-ops. In order of joining, they are: North Coast Cooperatives, Davis Food Co-op, Briarpatch Community Market, Co-opportunity, Isla Vista Food Co-op, Hanover Food Co-op, Weaver Street Market, Food Conspiracy Co-op, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, People’s Food Co-op, and Quincy Natural Foods. We expect that at least four additional food co-ops will start a Cooperative Community Fund in 2004-5.

Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation will be making available at least two $5,000 matches this fall—one to any co-op outside California and one to any food cooperative in the upper Midwest. If you would like to be notified of the availability of these funds, contact us at the addresses found at the end of this story.
 

Fund-filled facts


From inception in 1990 to 2001, North Coast Cooperatives grew its Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) from zero dollars to $700,000. In 2001 that CCF donated over $31,000 to 98 community groups. Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation began replicating the North Coast Co-op program in 1999.

The Hanover Cooperative has pioneered two unique programs that have made its fund the largest CCF. First, Hanover Co-op makes an annual donation from earnings directly to build the fund, and secondly the co-op encourages its members to donate patronage refunds to the Hanover Cooperative Community Fund. Hundreds of members donated $14,000 in 2003. Most importantly, the Hanover Co-op has set a goal of building their fund to $250,000 by 2007 and devised a plan for how to achieve that goal. Clearly educating your members is the best way to grow your CCF. HCCF is teaching us all.

The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op paid out its first patronage refund this year. In the cover letter sent out with the patronage refund check the general manager and president stated that the co-op would donate any unclaimed patronage refund check to the Sacramento Cooperative Community Fund. The unclaimed amount will be close to $8,000.

Weaver Street Market is reaching its year end and is considering donating up to $10,000 from profits to its Weaver Cooperative Community Fund. Weaver Street is giving thought to using the $10,000 to match donations to its CCF by members and customers. If that is successful, it would be adding $20,000 to its WCCF.

The Davis Food Co-op paid out its first patronage refund and the cover letter from the general manager and the president encouraged members to donate their checks to the Davis Cooperative Community Fund. Members have donated almost $2,000 so far. This year, Davis is matching all donations to its CCF up to $5,000.

Other CCF sponsors have also come up with effective tools to raise awareness within the membership. The key for any CCF is a plan to get your members to be the largest donors to building the CCF. The co-op’s image in the community is heightened by having a visible donations program. Our co-op members have the resources and interest to be proud partners in building a Cooperative Community Fund. The CCF makes a bigger difference when it develops its member donations capacity.

The Cooperative Community Funds actively and specifically fulfill two of the seven cooperative principles: “Cooperation among Cooperatives” and “Concern for Community.”
 

How assets are invested


Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation (TPCF) invests the TPCF/CCF assets primarily in cooperative development funds and also in credit unions and local community-owned banks which support cooperatives. The TPCF/CCF assets build our cooperative sector.

In just five short years our cooperatives working together are achieving tremendous success. Among cooperative organizations in the U.S., TPCF/CCF is now the second largest funder of cooperative development organizations. As of this writing, TPCF and CCF has invested $520,000 of their combined assets in co-op development:
• $220,000 in the Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund
• $100,000 in the Cooperative Fund of New England
• $200,000 in the Institute for Community Economics Loan Fund

CCF assets are now funding the development of cooperatives in all fifty states. Every dollar invested by the TPCF/CCF program creates at least four dollars of bank financing. Therefore, TPCF/CCF dollars have generated over $2 million of lending to cooperatives. The more CCFs there are, the more donations made to nonprofits at the local level and the more funds are generated to support and leverage cooperative development at the regional and national level.

Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization established
in 1964: TPCF, 216 F. Street, P.O. Box 1844, Davis, CA 95616 or call 530-757-2233.
You can find us at: www.communityfund.coop.

The Co-op Community Fund program thanks the following groups for generously funding and partnering in our efforts:

National Sponsor and Supporter
Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation

National Supporters
National Cooperative Bank/NCBDC
The MSI Fund

Regional Sponsors
Northcountry Cooperative
Development Fund
Cooperative Fund of New England

Regional Supporter
The Cooperative Foundation

See other articles from this issue: #114 September - October - 2004