New Support for Urban Cooperative Development

CooperationWorks! (CW) and the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) announced on Oct. 15, 2010, a new initiative for urban coopera­tive development. Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), chairman of the Congressional Urban Caucus, will lead a new proposal to support urban cooperative business development throughout the U.S. Fattah, an eight-term representative from Philadelphia, will partner with NCBA, the Washington-based federation of cooperatives from all sectors of the economy, and CW, a national trade association of cooperative development centers and individuals.

Rep. Fattah, Pennsylvania’s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, said, "Cooperatives provide an excellent means for economic development and community enrichment. This new initiative is catching on in our cities and urban areas. The cooperative movement is a perfect fit with the agenda of the bipartisan Congressional Urban Caucus, and I am pleased to provide this effort with a strong voice in Congress," Fattah said. "These cooperatives will create jobs and wealth by helping new local businesses that are owned and controlled by their members."

Cindy Bass, senior policy advisor for Rep. Fattah, said, "Our office has a record of working with the successful and well-established cooperatives in Northwest Philadelphia, such as Weavers Way food co-op. I will be assisting the Congressman as we help to advance urban cooperatives and boost our national economy."

The new initiative, as outlined by representatives of NCBA and CW, will include seeking authorization of funds for technical assistance for urban cooperatives across the United States, an effort to change Small Business Administration policies that currently prohibit participation by cooperatives in federal small business loan-guarantee programs, financial assistance for cooperative business start-ups, and pilot programs in Philadelphia and other cities.

Lisa Stolarski, CW urban circle chair, said, "A successful authorization of an urban cooperative development program could pass Congress in 2011 and could potentially be appropriated as early as 2012, the year declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Cooperatives."

Adam Schwartz, NCBA vice president of public affairs and member services, said, "The NCBA looks forward to working with Congressman Fattah and the co-op community in developing an urban cooperative development program."

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