New US co-op development strategy to be discussed at Impact Conference

Coop Impact – organised by sector body NCBA Clusa – runs from 5-9 October

The Coop Impact Conference (5-9 October) starts on Monday with US co-op representatives gathering to look at ways to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive movement.

Sector body NCBA Clusa, the organiser of the event – to be held online because of Covid-19 – said: “This year’s conference will amplify how co-0operatives are addressing their obligations to create diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and boards, and how co-ops can better meet the needs of communities that have been excluded from economic participation and advancement.”

There will also be discussion of the intersection of domestic and international co-operative development, and pre-conference course on “Excellence in Member-Centric Governance and Management” from the International Centre for Co-operative Management at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada.

Sessions include a discussion of policy strategies to build a more inclusive economy through co-op. This follows a series of regional roundtables held around the country by NCBA Clusa, the Cooperative Development Foundation and local stakeholders.

These conversations were part of ongoing research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to quantify the social and economic impact of co-operatives.

This work began with a framework for measuring co-op impact developed in partnership with the Urban Institute.

The conference session – at 1.30pm on Monday, 5 October – will be moderated by NCBA Clusa president and CEO Doug O’Brien with panelists Diane Gasaway, president and CEO of the Northwest Cooperative Development Center; Brett Theodos, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute; and Monica Rainge, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, this panel will look at what new policies could jumpstart cooperative development and expansion to address contemporary issues.

The policy objectives presented in the report are intended not only to grow the co-operative sector, but also to enhance the work of co-ops that address economic and racial disparities in the US.