Host of the leading weekly national radio program for the U.S. cooperative community reasons for consumers to reevaluate where they spend and to support cooperatives during the holidays
Vernon Oakes, General Partner in Everything.Coop Communications and host of the leading weekly national radio program for the U.S. cooperative community shares five tips on why we should support cooperative during the holiday season and all year long.
First, it is important to share what a cooperative is. A cooperative, often shortened to “co-op,” is a business that is owned and operated by and for the benefit of its members. Cooperatives are all around us, there are over 64,000 cooperatives in the US and most are likely right in your neighborhood and brands you can purchase in your local stores. From consumer-owned rural utility co-ops that provide electrical power to financial co-ops to co-ops that operate food stores, hardware, and building supply businesses, provide education, daycare and health services, food brands among many other things, co-ops are all around us.
Some coops you may be familiar with include companies such as ACE Hardware, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, REI, FTD Florists and your local credit unions. When we support Cooperatives, we support its members and in turn support our community. This is important all year long and something to consider when we evaluate how we will spend our money during the holiday season and in the new year.
- Cooperatives Help the Economy Cooperatives build stronger communities by keeping money, resources, and jobs local while increasing the communities’ economic power. Cooperatives havethe ability to create more jobs than a traditional business model, and they also ensure that wealth distributes more evenly. When you support a cooperative you are supporting economic growth in your community.
- Cooperatives foster equity and social inclusion- Within the structure of cooperatives, there is a shared value of equity for all, with equal voting rights, this structure encourages contribution and shared responsibility among its members. Co-operatives are democratic organizations, focused on delivering their mission to their members rather than only focusing on the return to investors. When you purchase with a cooperative, you can be confident that the profits are going right to the members that have shared ownership.
- Cooperatives help build a sustainable community– Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities. Generally, cooperatives support inclusive and equitable membership for all people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, and persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples and youth. This structure allows for accessible lifelong learning opportunities which in turn empowers communities with the knowledge and skills needed to participate fully in society.
- Business Sustainability – Cooperatives have the ability to be anchors in the community, cooperatives promote economic growth through stable local jobs, consistent services, high industry standards and increased community investment.
- Shared Values. All co-ops operate under a set of shared values that include self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Cooperatives help to build a stronger community and to sustain that strength long term Support your community by supporting a cooperative this holiday season. To learn more about Cooperatives listen to Everything.Coop on Apple Podcasts
Vernon Oakes hosts the leading weekly national radio program for the U.S. cooperative community. He is General Partner in Everything.Coop Communications, LLC, a media company that promotes cooperative business models by providing education and resources specifically for under resourced Americans and their communities and he is a member of the Cooperative Consulting Group, Columinate.