October Is Co-op Month

Focus on community contributions, commitments

Cooperatives nationwide will highlight their economic and charitable contributions to their communities as part of the annual October marking of Co-op Month.

The community theme was selected for the annual celebration in light of a substantial current focus on the state of the economy. “Co-ops care about their communities,” said Roger Eldridge of the National Milk Producers Federation, chair of the National Co-op Month Planning Committee for 2004. “That gives them a different perspective from businesses owned by distant investors.”

The co-op month committee is providing an electronic toolkit on its website, including an updated logo, fact sheets, print advertisements, and draft editorials. Food co-ops are encouraged to reach out to media and local officeholders with information on their charitable contributions, community investments, employment, and other beneficial impacts.

Co-ops can find ideas and tips, as well as case studies of how co-ops benefit their communities, at www.coopmonth.coop.

Last year, with attention focused on corporate scandals, the co-op month committee commissioned a nationwide survey; findings underscored that consumers overwhelmingly prefer businesses that are owned and governed by their customers. Among other things, the survey found that consumers feel co-ops are more trustworthy than investor-owned businesses and are more likely to have the customer’s best interests in mind.

This year, the co-op month committee is focusing more on local activities. The committee contracts with the National Cooperative Business Association to coordinate work on Co-op Month.

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