Across the country students, faculty, staff and communities are organizing Next System Teach-Ins because they're tired of the status quo and want to be part of building a new more equitable, democratic and sustainable future. It's only been a month since launching this initiative and already hundreds have signed up to take part and 12 official teach-ins are in the works with many more to come.
From New York to Seattle, Detroit to Santa Barbara, communities are gearing up to explore system change and plot the next steps their community can take to deepen ties between existing projects and movements, as well as spark new initiatives based on each campus or community's needs.
Recognizing that problems like mass incarceration, climate change, student debt and growing inequality are problems of system design, the Next System Teach-Ins will provide a forum for discussion, debate and community building around concrete, systemic solutions.
The past year was a very exciting one for co-op development. There is currently a lot of interest in creating new cooperatives, and we’re happy that we have been able to increase our capacity to provide advice and support to more of these groups. During the 2014-15 year, NASCO provided free technical assistance to over 30 groups and has worked with four groups to coordinate purchases. Over half of the groups we worked with were startup groups.
The Genesee Valley Cooperative in Geneseo, NY was one startup group that we first met in the spring of 2013, when their members still lived in campus housing and “The Co-op” felt like a distant dream. They started renting their first property in the fall of 2014. We worked with GVC throughout the year to create member labor systems, bylaws, and plan for the future. In the fall of 2015, GVC was able to expand to renting a second building.
Last month, we invited all supporters of NASCO to help create more co-ops, change the ways that cities think about affordable housing, and build the cooperative movement with our End of Year fundraising campaign. You all went above and beyond! We received donations from fifty individuals and raised a total of $6,240.
We’re touched by this support, because of the large, diverse crowd of people that chose to make NASCO a priority in their lives: from NASCO founders and co-op newbies, members of co-ops, staff of co-ops, even from parents of people who used to live in a co-op. It's powerful when so many people join together. It tells us that there is a common element to all of our co-op experiences, and that we can work together to make a meaningful difference in each others' lives.
Thank you very much for supporting our work, we’re going to continue doing great things together!
We are pleased to announce that NASCO has been awarded two grants through the CHS Foundation’s 2016 Cooperative Education Grants Program. We have been generously awarded $10,000 to support NASCO’s annual Cooperative Education & Training Institute, and a $16,000 capacity building grant to grow NASCO's resource and program development capacity to more sustainable levels. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of the CHS Foundation and are excited for the many ways that this funding will strengthen our organization and our movement.
The CHS Foundation is the major giving entity of CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP), the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation is committed to investing in the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development.
NASCO has seven open seats on its board, and all Active Members and Individual Members are able to vote in the election to fill these seats. All members have been sent ballots. If you did not receive yours, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The candidate statements can be read here. Ballots must be cast by January 31, 2016.
Is your inner-cooperative-educator looking for a creative outlet? Do you have an academic paper about co-ops that you’re hoping to share with the world? Check out these Requests for Proposals from various upcoming co-op conferences:
NASCO has received a $3,000 grant from the Cooperative Foundation to update the content and structure of the NASCO Co-op Organizer’s Handbook, transferring this comprehensive 60 page manual to a much more accessible web-based format! The Organizer's Handbook is a comprehensive guide to creating group-equity housing cooperatives, and is an essential resource for the student or community organizer focusing on housing issues.
See the full list of 2015 grants here.
Did you miss NASCO Institute this year? Maybe you lost your notes, or missed a workshop that sounded really exciting? Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered! We have uploaded course materials from forty-five different workshops from this year’s conference. Check them out here! We’ll be posting videos from the event to our website soon, too. Enjoy!
After providing member cooperatives a two week extension to submit their annual dues in order to vote in the Annual General Meeting, ballots have been counted and results are in! We are please to announce that the new Active Member Representative, serving from March 2016 to March 2017, will be Carina Mata, from ICC Austin!
It was a very close election (7x6x4x2), which reflects that commitment and enthusiasm that all of the candidates displayed. Thank you all for participating, and congratulations Carina!