Since 1930, cooperatives across the United States have joined together in October to celebrate our collective history and shared impact as a movement. Various co-ops recognize this holiday in different ways: some organize educational events, others throw parties, even more use this as an opportunity for community outreach, the Cooperative Development Foundation holds a 5 kilometer race through Washington DC, and we’re holding a Co-op Photo Contest!
We invite you to share your plans with us as you celebrate Co-op Month, or Co-op Week in Canada (October 11-18)! Share photos of your co-op celebrating #CoopMonth with the NASCO community on Facebook or Twitter, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes will be announced at NASCO Institute!
In May 2015, the Student Cooperative Organization and NASCO Properties purchased a new co-op house in Athens Ohio. The Student Cooperative Organization was established 25 years ago to serve students at Ohio University, and has operated an 8 bedroom coop in Athens since that time.
With the purchase of a second house in Athens, the number of co-op spaces available has doubled to 16. Members of the coop have finished moving into their new house, dubbed and are beginning to settle in and create an identity for the new house - including selecting a name for the new house, “Firehouse 69.”
In addition to the two houses operated by Student Cooperative Organization and NASCO Properties, Athens is also home to a worker-owned cooperative restaurant, as well as a cooperative co-working space for professionals. With this much local interest in cooperatives, we hope to see more co-op development in Athens in the near future!
We're pleased to announce that the program for the 2015 Staff & Managers Pre-Conference has been finalized! This all-day program, held on Friday October 30th, serves as a networking and learning forum for co-op staff, managers, and administrators from across Canada and the United States. The Staff and Managers Pre-Conference supplements NASCO Institute programming offered on Saturday and Sunday and allows more space for participants to connect with one another and dig deeper into specific issues.
The pre-conference will feature a four-hour interactive workshop, led by Matt Hancock of the Praxis Consulting Group, that will engage participants in exploring how their co-ops can be developing a culture of collective leadership, share best practices from cooperatives in the United States, Spain and Italy, and explore the role that leadership plays in a co-op’s success as a profitable business. This session will focus on ways of incorporating mentorship (staff-to-staff and staff-to-members) into the process of leadership development and the vision of collective leadership.
In the last few months, the primary focus of NASCO’s staff has been preparation for NASCO Institute, which is just around the corner! Registration and scholarship applications are open, the conference schedule and course list are on our website, and posters have been mailed to hundreds of co-ops and organizations across North America. We’ve finalized programming for the Staff & Managers Pre-Conference, recruited keynote and plenary speakers, wrapped up Hall of Fame inductions, and are confirming the route for the Detroit Tour. This is shaping up to be an excellent conference, and we hope you’ll be joining us in Ann Arbor next month!
After a year-long process that involved demolishing a co-op and rebuilding it from the ground up, we’re pleased to share that Fourth Street Housing Co-op in Minneapolis, Minnesota has reopened its doors! This co-op, which is governed by a 16 member board and managed by Riverton Community Housing, belongs to a system of five cooperatives that offer apartment-style, affordable housing to students since 1973. The new, modern Fourth Street Co-op offers 66 units of apartment-style cooperative housing. Check out local news coverage of the co-op’s renovation here and here!
The NASCO Cooperative Hall of Fame, created in 1989, honors the best of our movement. We use the Hall of Fame as a means for NASCO member co-ops to provide broader recognition to individuals who have made a truly significant impact. This year, a committee of former Hall of Fame inductees and current NASCO board members selected two individuals to join the Hall of Fame:
Ben Pearl will be inducted under the category of Local Hero for his dedication to supporting cooperatives in Davis, CA for the past twelve years. Ben guided the Solar Community Housing Association through multiple expansion projects, helped to prevent the closure of The Domes Co-op, and built alliances between various cooperatives, bridging between local co-ops and external institutions. Ben was nominated by April Kamen and Justin Ellerby.
We're excited to announce that nominations are now open for NASCO's board of directors. This is an opportunity to be part of the governance of a bi-national cooperative organization. In order to run for the board, you must be nominated by either one Active Member cooperative, two Associate Member organizations, or five Individual Members of NASCO. Nominations must be received by November 6, 2015. Active members can download the nomination packet and nomination form. (If you are an Associate Member, you can use this nomination packet and nomination form, and if you are an Individual Member, you can use this nomination packet and nomination form).
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.