Rosemary Mahoney Honored for Cooperative Service:

Induction into Co-op Hall of Fame

From the United States to Communist Eastern Europe to West Africa, few people have made more of an impact in fostering the cooperative movement on a global scale than Rosemary Mahoney. Across her 30+ year career, she was involved in 25 start-up cooperative enterprises around the world and in the process has helped launch hundreds of businesses, create thousands of jobs, and touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people whose communities thrive as a result of these cooperatively owned organizations.

As a result of her impact Rosemary is to be inducted May 2 into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, providing the highest national recognition to co-op heroes under the auspices of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF). While Co-op Hall of Fame inductees share a common belief in the cooperative idea and a track record of accomplishment that have benefitted the co-op community, this select group is diverse in their achievements and careers. A second purpose of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is to raise money in the name of each inductee that will be used to support U.S. cooperative development. Find options to support Hall of Fame inductees and this campaign at

Rosemary was nominated by Capital Impact Partners where she currently serves as Chair of their Board of Directors and supported by many throughout the food co-op community.

Deep Contributions to Food Co-ops

While her co-op service has spanned many sectors and been diverse, Rosemary has made huge contributions to the food co-op community. In 1998, Rosemary served as the Executive Director for Cooperative Development Services (CDS), leading to her development of the ‘Common Cooperative Financial Statements’ (CoCoFiSt) program, a financial benchmarking tool which has contributed enormously to the development of the food co-op sector. Rosemary helped spin off CDS Consulting Cooperative which today is the premier source for professional, technical assistance for food cooperatives. She was also one the originators of CooperationWorks!, which evolved into the development of a national cooperative developer training program that advanced learning, collaboration and further development of cooperatives.

Rosemary’s work with Co-op Hall of Famer Walden Swanson and Kate Sumberg, who co-founded CoCoFist, has developed this as a robust management tool platform for the nation’s cooperatives. Today the system, called CoMetrics, serves over 300 organizations in eight sectors ranging from retail grocery to nonprofit affordable housing developers to impact investors.

In 2003-2004, Rosemary was an integral member of a reorganization team charged with designing and managing the national reorganization of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (now National Co+op Grocers). She was engaged by the group’s Board of Directors, following a national vote for the acquisition of nine regional groups by NCG, to coordinate the integration of all financial, organizational, personnel, and operational systems. Since that time, she has continued to serve on the NCG Board of Directors as an advisory (appointed) board member, as well as on the board of NCG’s wholly owned subsidiary, the NCG Development Co+operative.

With the growth and development of NCG in the past 14 years, the sector has developed into an integrated, robust, and mature co-op sector. Rosemary played a critical role in helping shape the organizations that enabled this growth and maturity.  It is a significant and lasting achievement. Beyond NCG, Rosemary has also served on the boards of the National Cooperative Bank and the National Cooperative Business Association, to help small cooperatives band work together as counterbalance to the big box stores.


Kevin Edberg, Executive Director of Cooperative Development Services noted "Growing up on an Illinois farm, Rosemary became aware early in life of the critical role of cooperatives in production agriculture, and this positioned her well for important roles in USDA's Cooperative Service after college."    

Terry Simonette, former President and CEO of Capital Impact Partners added, “Rosemary commenced 20 years of domestic cooperative development contributions back in 1998...through that period Rosemary’s work ran the gamut of contributions to every major cooperative industry that has been active in the U.S. economy. She became one of the ‘go to’ experts that any of us in the coop industry turned to when we needed an objective and complete viewpoint.”

As CEO of Blue Hawk Co-op (purchasing co-op), Lance Rantala cited Rosemary’s service as “…a co-op advisor for Blue Hawk Distribution in our formative years. I firmly believe our co-op would not have survived without her expertise and guidance. Honestly, our co-op model nearly imploded multiple times. Ms. Mahoney helped our founding board forge ahead to create a successful and sustainable business model.”

Judy Ziewacz, former President and Chief Executive Officer of NCBA CLUSA added, “She has a deep understanding of international development contexts and how the cooperative model is being implemented and can best be supported in Africa, Latin America, and SE Asia.... Her passion and commitment to assist small farmers and cooperatives, no matter where they are, is unparalleled.” 

And finally, her co-inductee in 2018, Marilyn Scholl, former manager of CDS Consulting Co-op said, “Rosemary Mahoney has served on so many boards it would almost be easier to list the ones she hasn’t served on! There is a difference between simply serving on a board and contributing to an organization’s success. Rosemary contributes!”

Congratulations to two food co-op heroes!

Food co-ops will see two of our heroes inducted into the national Co-op Hall of Fame in May. Both Marilyn Scholl and Rosemary Mahoney have contributed in many ways to the growth and development of many food co-ops and to NCG over their 30+ year careers. Please consider contributing to a special “Friends of Rosemary and Marilyn” ad and add your co-op’s voice to those congratulating these two great cooperative leaders. The Cooperative Development Foundation has set up a special page for co-ops that wish to add their congrats to both in a special “collaboration ad.” (This special ad is not publicized on the CDF website.) Alternatively, you can also contribute to individual congratulatory ads for Marilyn and/or Rosemary on this page (scroll down to “friend of” ad options). The deadline to make your contributions in honor of these two amazing women is April 1.

About the Co-op Hall of Fame

The Cooperative Hall of Fame provides the highest national recognition to co-op heroes under the auspices of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF). The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who are diverse in their careers and achievements and who share a common belief in the cooperative idea and a track record of accomplishments benefitting the broad co-op community. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony also raises money in the name of each inductee to support cooperative development in the U.S. Find options to support Hall of Fame inductees and this campaign at


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