US co-op seeks applicants for scholarship and grant fund

Hanover Consumer Co-operative Society is offering funds to assist those seeking co-op education in Vermont and New Hampshire’s Upper Valley

New Hampshire and Vermont-based Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society has launched a new scholarship and grant fund.

The Gerstenberger Scholarship Fund and Community Project Grants as the latest project in the Hanover Cooperative Community Fund (HCCF), which, thanks to the efforts of members and colleagues at the society, has been raising funds since 2001.

Funds support the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, which invests in co-op development throughout the country. Interest from the endowment is returned to HCCF to help fund local non-profit organisations.

The Gerstenberger Scholarship – named in honour of the Hanover Coop’s long-serving general managers, Harry and Arthur Gerstenberger, and first education director Sally Gerstenberger – has been set up to help members deepen their understanding of the co-op movement and sharpen their skills as directors or employees.

It’s open to members of the Hanover Coop as well as members of co-operatives and credit unions in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont.

It is designed to assist those who are:

  • continuing their cooperative education as employees or board members of their local cooperatives and/or credit unions;
  • pursuing academic research in how co-operatives can best meet societal needs; or
  • planning or developing businesses that follow the co-op model of innovation and ownership. As such, GSF considers applicants from across the co-op sector: food, housing, agriculture, daycare and preschool, credit, medical and dental, automotive, and other co-op enterprises.

The deadline for applications is 1 December. More information—including an application—is available here.

“I can’t think of a better way to honour the legacy of the Gerstenberger families,” said Hanover’s former general mananger Terry Appleby. “They helped the Hanover Co-op prosper in some challenging times. In many ways, the Gerstenbergers helped build the foundation we now stand on.”

The Gerstenbergers were also staunch advocates of sustainable, organic farming and gardening, a theme reflected in HCCF’s second project: small-scale grants ($500 – $2,500) to Upper Valley non-profits.

HCCF community project grants will be available to local organisations whose work is aligned with Hanover’s charitable giving goals: supporting food assistance and access; community building, including support for agriculture; enhancing co-operative principles and activities; or promoting sustainable environmental practices. More information – including a grant application – is available here.


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