We LOVE working with our clients - and we wanted to hear what they love about working with us. We asked 6 of our clients to introduce themselves and tell us what they have accomplished through their collaboration with the Keystone Development Center. Their organizations include Leadership that Works, the MontCo Union Taxi Co-op, MARC - Feeding PA, and Tuscarora Organic Growers. Click here to check out the video - we hope you love it as much as we do!
The Keystone Development Center Board of Directors has established a fund to assist in the development of Urban Cooperatives in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Urban Cooperative Match Grant will provide match funding to assist in the development and expansion of urban cooperative startups and established cooperatives who require education & training or intensive technical assistance.
KDC: Cooperative Solutions (KDC) invites proposals from cooperative businesses based in urban areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for match grants to support the development of our region’s cooperative economy. Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded for education and technical assistance for projects that will strengthen and diversify our regional urban cooperative economy. Eligible applicants must comply with all standards set forth in this document as well as further requirements determined by KDC as necessary. KDC retains sole discretion with respect to the approval or disapproval of any proposal.
The Keystone Development Center has a mission to sustain communities, economies, and resources through cooperatively-owned businesses. We are a non-profit corporation, incorporated on March 24, 1999 with a mission to provide technical and research assistance to groups who wish to organize as cooperatives. Through these efforts we strive to meet the economic and business development needs of rural and non-rural areas in the multi-state area of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware.
We believe that the cooperative-business model can enable people to mitigate business risk and provide themselves with services at an economic advantage. We give priority to new and emerging groups, especially in areas that are under-served and financially challenged. KDC provides these groups with technical assistance, access to financial resources, and links to other supporting organizations. The Urban Match Grant is intended to cover the cost of KDC: Cooperative Solutions consultants to provide direct technical support to groups of people striving to develop or strengthen cooperatively owned community businesses. Grants will range in size from $275 to $2,500.
Eligibility and Criteria
EXAMPLES OF ELIGIBLE PROGRAMS FOR WHICH THE FUNDS MAY BE USED INCLUDE:
Application Deadline: June 30, 2017
Awards will be announced July 31, 2017
Funds must be expended within 12 months of award notice
Urban Grant Committee
Keystone Development Center
108F N. Reading Road
Ephrata, PA 17522
The Fund is administered and managed by Keystone Development Center.
All eligible recipients will be approved within the limits of the Fund as stated above and as long as funds are available (on an annual basis) for distribution.
Notification of the status of each request will be sent via e-mail or regular postal service when a decision is made.
Recipients must participate in a year-end survey evaluating the technical assistance services provided.
Please find the grant application form here
KDC is offering a FREE Series of online recorded workshops in 2017. Everyone and anyone interested in learning more about co-ops and co-op development is welcome to attend! All interested clients who are not yet incorporated and/or otherwise operating on a cooperative basis will be asked to attend these workshops as a preliminary step to gaining assistance from a member of our team. If the timeslots available do not work for you please email email@example.com for other options.
Co-op 101: Introduction to Cooperatives
Co-op 201: How to Start a Co-op
KDC is a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing technical and research assistance to groups who wish to organize as cooperatives as well as established cooperatives and businesses. Our experienced team of cooperative and business development specialists can support you and your group from development through to operations. Through this we meet the economic and business development needs of rural and non-rural areas in the multi-state area of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. Typically, we support approximately 15 clients each year. For a list of client highlights click here.
We are a very small organization with a big impact. Our board consists leaders from multiple cooperative, economic development, non-profit, government, educational and agricultural organizations. Click here to see our current board representatives.
At this phase of our growth we are specifically looking for individuals who will bring at least one of the following skills to our organization: finance, fundraising, marketing, and human resources. Enthusiasm for the mission is a key qualification and we will be especially thrilled with candidates who have board experience and/or experience in local and regional food systems issues.
Board Member Requirements
Peggy Fogarty, Executive Director
Interview with Lori Burge, the new Cooperative Development Facilitator at KDC
We’re proud to introduce a new member of the KDC Team, Lori Burge. She has completed both the Cooperation Works! Cooperative Business Development Training Program and the Democracy At Work Network Peer Advisor Training Program. Lori brings with her two decades of cooperative business and community organizing experience. She joined our team this month and has already jumped on board with several KDC Clients.
KDC: Describe your role and responsibilities at KDC.
LB: At KDC, I will work with emerging and existing co-ops to provide technical assistance in all areas of cooperative development from start-ups and expansions revising bylaws and adopting policies to developing and strengthening nuts and bolts operational systems. I bring with me a specialty in Urban Co-op Development operating within historically underserved communities. As KDC’s administrative support person, I will be the first person people talk to when they reach out to KDC.
KDC: What attracted you to the cooperative model?
LB: I cut my teeth doing community organizing with environmental, labor, consumer protection, and social justice organizations. After learning extensively about co-ops, I enrolled in a class called Economic Democracy Now! which focused on the co-op model as a viable economic alternative to business as usual and quite possibly, a more just economic system. I was inspired by the Rochdale Pioneers in England, Mondragon in Spain, the Emilia Romanga region in Italy and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, in Mississippi.
I love that co-ops are mission-driven operating from a multiple bottom line approach to achieve sustainable profits, communities and environments. They serve member-owner and community needs. Co-ops provide communities opportunities to take control of their livelihoods by cultivating leadership in populations which have often been overlooked. I’m privileged to a role in creating positive change impacting people’s lives today, tomorrow, and for generations to come!
KDC: What is your background and how did you come to be in your current position?
LB: I’ve been working with co-ops and other democratically controlled entities for the past 20 years, so I’m what you might call “a co-op lifer.” In 1997, I got my start working in co-ops by volunteering with my housemate in produce department at a nearby community-owned grocery called People’s Food Co-op in Portland. I held several positions at People’s including Produce Manager, Development Manager and as a member of the Finance Team. While working at People’s I got deeply involved in the local, regional, and national co-op movement. Assisting neighboring communities to start food co-ops compelled me to enroll in training in Cooperative Development.
I served as the first General Manager at New Orleans Food Co-op (NOFC), a start-up co-op in a long-standing underserved area. The community had been working to organize a co-op for 10 years, since before Hurricane Katrina. In my five and a half years there, I learned to navigate the challenges inherent in opening and operating a cooperatively owned and governed grocery in a long-standing food desert.
I recently moved to Philadelphia after my partner was offered a position at a Mariposa Food Co-op, bringing us much closer to extended family. I am a longtime colleague of KDC’s Peggy and Jim through Cooperation Works and Democracy at Work Institute. It is a natural fit for me to move into Co-op Development full time! I am so happy to be here!
KDC: As you look to the future what do you see as the greatest opportunities and trends for cooperatives?
LB: If there is an economic need, there is an opportunity. There is no end to the types of services a co-op can provide its member-owners, and its community.
In recent years, I have heard more communities working to address food insecurity or other complex social challenges through co-ops. For example, we have seen increased development of social services type co-ops such as Home Health Care cooperatives. We have seen a noticeable trend of food co-ops opening areas abandoned or avoided by larger grocers. Co-ops open to meet the need against all odds, where it is needed most, is a plight to which I have a deep affinity.
We are also seeing the food co-op sector working hard to streamline systems and tighten up margins to compete with the conventional grocers. Co-ops are getting much better talking about our positive impacts, which is heartening. In the 80’s we saw a lot of co-ops buckling under pressure and abandoning the word co-op from their names. Today we celebrate the cooperative difference. Technology allows us to share our metrics, our trends, and our experience with other cooperators in our sectors so we can evolve together, but completely independently.
KDC: What do you see as the biggest challenges?
LB: One of the biggest challenges is not heeding to the internal and sometimes external pressure to open shop before completing the necessary steps, creating a clear governance structure and raising adequate initial starting capital. Another challenge in an ever-evolving economy where larger companies are encroaching on niche markets. By marketing and branding to emphasize a mission and values, co-ops are getting better at communicating the cooperative difference, something social media has helped put within reach on a tighter budget. I would like to focus on improving analysis, financial projections and business plans to mitigate challenges and improve their likelihood of success.
KDC: What keeps you inspired?
LB: I love hearing people’s stories. I am eternally motivated by seeing the cooperative difference as it plays out in communities, and upon individuals lives, both economically and personally by cultivating skills and leadership abilities. Listening to the extraordinary accomplishments ordinary people have been able to achieve through their co-ops is so motivating. What a joy it is to work with so many amazing people committed to strengthening communities using a model we can all say “yes” to!
From cooperative banks, rural electric, purchasing and marketing cooperatives, Pennsylvania farmers have historically depended on the cooperative economy to work together for the benefit of their communities. Agricultural cooperatives have provided farm families economic sustainability, thereby preserving farming as a viable way of life.
Keystone Development Center (KDC), a non-profit corporation with a mission to provide technical and research assistance to groups who wish to organize as cooperatives, believe that the cooperative-business model can enable people to mitigate business risk and provide themselves with services at an economic advantage.
KDC will be conducting research on the economic contributions and rural impacts of agriculture cooperatives on preserving working farms in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, through the partnership between all levels of government and non-profit agencies, has shown commitment and leadership nationally in preserving farmland through the easement purchase of more than 4951 farms totaling more than 520,619 acres. Farm businesses return far more to Pennsylvania’s economy than the Commonwealth invested in the preservation of farmland.
Combining farmland preservation achievements with efforts to organize and strengthen agricultural cooperatives moves us closer to the goal of growing, maintaining and supporting farmers and working agricultural lands in the Commonwealth. What has never been accounted for is the overall economic impact of cooperatives in Pennsylvania in terms of jobs, wages and salary and total income.
Keystone Development Center is concerned with the holistic reality of the regional economy and the critical contributions of agriculture to regional food security, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. KDC has received $20,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to support their newest research project. This award was matched with supporting funds from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant which supports KDC’s general operating budget for $200,000.
Many cooperatives work to build and strengthen local and regional food systems by developing capacity along the food chain, building relationships that create mutual benefit between and among cooperatives across sectors and between urban and rural communities.
KDC is excited to further investigate the agricultural co-op sector as part of this year’s Cooperative Census. “We estimate that there are 66 agricultural marketing cooperatives currently operating in Pennsylvania.” states Peggy Fogarty, Executive Director of KDC. “We hope to identify strategies to promote business growth and create conditions that will allow these communities to thrive economically.”
Keystone Development Center’s Cooperative Census presents an excellent opportunity to go beyond the information customarily gathered around size, structure, revenue, etc. of the cooperatives they serve, to dig deeper into the agricultural sector of co-ops, and to engage co-op members - not just organizations.
KDC plans to interview member producers from key agricultural cooperatives in Pennsylvania. They will identify cooperative member farmers who are farming on preserved land, and conduct in-depth interviews with them, gaining insights and first-person narratives that will illuminate the relationships between the impact of preserving farmland and of agricultural cooperatives in the Commonwealth.
Keystone Development Center’s census has three key objectives:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is awarding 29 grants totaling $5.8 million to help rural cooperatives create jobs and support business expansion. The funds are provided through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, which helps fund non-profit groups, such as rural cooperative development centers & higher education institutions. KDC is the proud recipient of one of these grants and is looking forward to supporting cooperative development through 2017. Read The Grant Announcement Here!
Want more? Click here to read an article from National Co-op month discussing our award and the work we have done with Tuscarora Organic Growers!
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