The following is just out from U.S. House Representative Chaka Fattah's office. Congressman Fattah (D-PA) introduced bill HR 3677 with co-sponsors including Robert Brady (D-PA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and John Tierney (D-MA).
If passed, this bill could provide assistance for cooperative enterprises across the United States. Technical assistance grants paired with low cost financing allow for projects to reach sufficient scale before external funding is removed. The successful enterprises ultimately renew the tax base and pay for themselves. Matching funding, as a built-in requirement for the grants, ensures this program is not an extension of government, but instead a partnership between Federal and Cooperative enterprises seeking to achieve common goals.
This bill has been crafted in consultation with members of NASCO, and could provide significant assistance to improve and expand capacity for existing cooperatives. Critically, this legislation targets aid in specific ways to address poverty at the root.
The International Cooperative Alliance is gathering and maintaining updates on the impact of the disaster on cooperatives of all types in Japan. You can find the updates here: http://www.ica.coop/activities/tsunami/japan2011.html
NASCO has sent a letter expressing solidarity to the National Federation of University Cooperatives in Japan, with which we've maintained strong relations since their inception in 1947. Updates on the status of student cooperatives in Japan will be posted here as reports roll in. NFUCA's membership inclues ~1,480,000 students throughout Japan, and pools purchasing power for books, supplies, food, and other services at every university and college. The Japanese Consumer Cooperatives Union (JCCU) will also post updates on their site here: http://jccu.coop/eng/news/ns_20110313_01.php
For details on the JCCU's Earthquake Task Force and Earthquake Relief Fund Raising, check out their link here: http://jccu.coop/eng/news/ns_20110315_01.php