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May 2015 Newsletter

Cooperative Job Postings

Three NASCO member cooperatives are actively hiring for five great positions. You are invited to review the position postings on our website and forward them to any potential applicants:

NASCO Institute 2015: "Common Interest: Co-ops Investing in Community Wealth"

Communities around the world are working together to create more just, resilient, and sustainable economies that nourish people and the planet. Students are calling for their universities to move their funds to more ethical investments; communities are creating healthy, just, local, and sustainable food systems; and cities across the United States and Canada are using Participatory Budgeting processes to engage people in direct democracy for decisions about public funds.

Cooperatives, as member-controlled enterprises, see investment as more than just generating money: it’s about increasing economic democracy, building community wealth, and sustaining our communities. As cooperators, we understand that resilient movements invest in education, we see the firsthand results of investing in our broader communities through our labor and our resources, we know that we must invest in youth and leadership, and our cooperatives invest in one another because we know that we cannot do this work alone.

How is your cooperative investing in the future? Do you support developing leaders and encourage people to take on new responsibilities? Are you building the economic power to survive and grow for future members? How does your cooperative support and engage with the communities where you are located? What legacy are we leaving the next generation of cooperators, just as we inherited the labors of our movement elders? The next wave of the cooperative movement is building, and you’re a part of it.

More information about NASCO Institute will be posted online in the coming weeks.

Co-op Expansion: Horizontal Housing

In 2010, a small group of folks found a neglected patch of Baltimore that was was ripe for growing food and community.  They formed the Baltimore Free Farm collective to begin working the vacant lots, growing and distributing food, and fixing up derelict and abandoned properties in the area.  After visiting their friends at the Red Clover Collective, a housing co-op that NASCO had recently assisted in organizing, they decided that they too should use the tools of cooperation to ensure that residential properties could be permanently used to provide affordable housing in a way that supported and enhanced the community.  In 2013, they formed a cooperative, Horizontal Housing, and set out to purchase 3 adjacent row houses that were at the heart of the community farming efforts and could house 10 people.

Last Tuesday, two years after forming, they now own two of the properties and master lease the third from a collective member.  With technical assistance and training from NASCO and financing from Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, the Kagawa Student Co-op Reinvestment Fund, and individual supporters, Horizontal Housing has been able to create a cooperative that will anchor this dynamic project to re-envision urban community space.

This summer's big project will now be to renovate the long incomplete "Middle" house that had been tied up in foreclosure and tax-liens for 10 years.  The members will be undertaking significant work to drywall and finish the property and plan to move-in by early fall.

Kim Garmany Elected to NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors

We are happy and proud to announce that Kim Garmany has been elected to the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) board of directors. Kim was nominated to this board by NASCO, College Houses, and the Austin Cooperative Business Association. In what ended up being a very close election, Kim was elected with the support of the NASCO community. We are very excited for the perspective that Kim will bring to this board from our sector and the strength that Kim’s position will add to the partnership between NASCO and NCBA CLUSA.

Kim currently serves as Director of Membership and Development at College Houses, a NASCO member co-op that serves 532 members in Austin, Texas. Kim served on the steering committee of the Austin Co-op Think Tank, which partnered with NCBA CLUSA to establish the first cross-sector regional cooperative business association. Kim became a founding board member of ACBA and later served as board president. Kim has also served on the NASCO board and is a regular NASCO Institute presenter.

Youth Leaders Attend National Co-op Conference

Earlier this month, five youth cooperative leaders travelled to Washington D.C. to attend the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) Annual Conference. These first-time attendees were funded by the CHS Foundation, through a program organized by NCBA CLUSA and supported by NASCO, the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops, CoFED, the U.S. Cooperative Youth Council and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Additional participants were supported by the U.S. Cooperative Youth Council. The inclusion of new voices at the conference made a notable impact in D.C., and we look forward to growing programs like this in future years to continue to amplify youth voices at a movement-wide level.

Upcoming Events

Canadian Association for Studies in Cooperation (CASC) Conference
Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) Conference
Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy (ECWD)
Association of Cooperative Educators Institute
Western Worker Cooperative Conference
NASCO Cooperative Education and Training Institute
NCBA 2015 Cooperative Professionals Conference

NASCO Staff & Board Update

In the 2014-2015 fiscal year, NASCO provided free development assistance to 30 groups across the United States. We are currently working with existing and forming co-ops in Chicago (IL), Houston (TX), East Lansing (MI), Athens (OH), Lawrence (KS), Minneapolis (MN), and Ann Arbor (MI). It is exciting to see so many groups making progress toward purchasing properties.
NASCO Properties has concluded its RFP process and is actively engaged in purchasing new properties for The Vine Co-op and the University of Kansas Student Housing Association.
The NASCO Staff and Managers Conference was held March 30 and 31, 2015, in Austin, TX - there were 24 attendees from 12 cooperatives, which was the highest conference attendance in over a decade.
Out of a pool of forty-four applicants, the Cooperative Internship Network matched eight interns with seven hosting organizations. The hosts include Boulder Housing Collective, College Houses, Cooperative Development Institute, Twin Oaks, and the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance.
The west coast regional co-op conference, WestCo, was held from April 24-26, 2015 in Berkeley, CA. The conference was hosted by the Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC) and, for the second consecutive year, NASCO provided organizing and logistical support for this conference.
NASCO staff rounded out the fiscal year with a flurry of member visits, supported a cohort of youth attending the NCBA Annual Conference, and presented at the Austin Co-op Summit.
We are now shifting our attention toward planning NASCO Institute 2015, which will focus on the theme of “Common Interest: Co-ops Investing in Community Wealth” and will be held in Ann Arbor October 30 - November 01. Additional details, along with a request for workshop proposals, will be posted online in the coming weeks.
All three NASCO Family boards met in-person in March and approved their annual budgets. They are currently preparing for their summer in-person meetings.

Featured Resources

Many co-ops don't think much about Fair Housing laws. After all, we all care deeply about social justice, and want to use our coops as a model for a better way to live, and most of us would never dream of committing housing discrimination.

There are some details of the Fair Housing Act that might conflict with some membership practices, though, and the punishments for violating the Fair Housing Act can be huge.

To learn more about the the U.S. Fair Housing Act and its applications in housing cooperatives, feel free to explore this video series and set of supporting documents prepared by NASCO staff.

Donate to NASCO

How can you promote affordable, community-oriented cooperatives and support the next generation of cooperative leaders? Donate to NASCO! We depend on a broad community of people who see cooperatives as a critical part of our future to support our efforts to educate and organize cooperatives and their thousands of dedicated members. NASCO provides free and low-cost training and consulting for youth-led cooperatives that are creating the leaders of tomorrow. But we can't do it without you. Join us in cooperation!

Submit Resources to our Library

One of the most valuable assets of the cooperative movement is our collective knowledge, and NASCO’s Shared Resource Library, a constantly growing collection of documents and files, is a tool for sharing that knowledge. Our library relies upon your contributions. Please follow this link to share your co-op’s governance documents, member education materials, and resources.

Member Discount: Communities Magazine

What is it like to live in an ecovillage, cohousing neighborhood, or another intentional community?

How do you start one, sustain it, grow it, and solve the hardest challenges?

Communities magazine exists to address these questions and to share new models for sustainability.

For over 40 years this publication has connected people to the pulse of the communities movement, by chronicling the people, organizations, ideas, and methods making it happen. Discover inspiring examples of cooperation and creativity, as people work together to solve problems and create a better, more equitable, and ecological world.

Each quarterly issue focuses on a different theme, such as:

  • Spring - Baby Boomers in Community (now available!)
  • Summer - Food and Community
  • Fall - Community and the Law
  • Winter - The Many Faces of Community

Issues are in full color, printed on recycled paper, and also available in digital form:

Special Offer - $5 off any subscription - use this code at checkout: NASCO

Or mention this coupon code when you call 1-800-462-8240 or write

Copyright 2015, North American Students of Cooperation, All rights reserved.

The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) Family [of associations] organizes and educates affordable group equity co-ops and their members for the purpose of promoting a community oriented cooperative movement.

Our mailing address is:

2150 S Canalport Ave STE 3A-6
Chicago, IL 60608

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