The Building Blocks of Co-ops
There are more than 29,000 cooperatives in the United States. Many co-ops from different sectors join together during National Co-op Month (October) to educate members in the community about the uniqueness of a cooperative. According to the latest data, more than 130 million people belong to a co-op in the U.S. alone, and co-ops employ more than 2 million Americans. So what does all this mean to you? It’s important to you, as a member of Nolin RECC, to realize how valuable your role is at the cooperative. Your share of ownership is the same as the other 34,000 Nolin members – one member, one vote! And you have nearly 100 local people working to make your life better. Your co-op employees will all agree that our members are our first priority! “Cooperatives Build” is the theme of this year’s National Cooperative Month. This theme is excellent, because there are so many ways that cooperatives help to build a stronger rural America.
Cooperatives Build Trust
Co-ops adhere to seven key cooperative principles, which combine to help build trust between the co-op, its members, and the community. For example, the first principle is Voluntary and Open Membership, which means that we are a voluntary organization open to all people to use our services and willing to accept the responsibility of membership. The second principle, Democratic Member Control, gives members a voice in the cooperative’s policies and decisions. Through the fifth principle, Education, Training and Information, we empower members with knowledge about their co-op and educate them on ways to enhance their lives.
Cooperatives Build Community
The seventh cooperative principle is Concern for Community. Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through employee involvement in local organizations, through charitable contributions to community efforts, and through support for schools.
Cooperatives Build Jobs
Cooperatives generate jobs in their communities, keep profits local, and pay local taxes to help support community services. Cooperatives often take part in community improvement programs, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience.
Cooperatives Build a Better World
One of the first slogans associated with cooperatives is “People Helping People” and it is still used today. Since cooperatives are not for profit, they are focused on people and not a bottom line margin. Co-ops stress the importance of ownership and the value of belonging to a business that cares about the needs of their members. This speaks to the heart of why we must take every opportunity to celebrate and teach others about the cooperative business model – we’re helping to build a better world! In recognition of National Co-op Month, Nolin is giving all members an LED light bulb. You must present the coupon on page 28C to receive your free LED. Supplies are limited to one bulb per member please.