By Alison Powers, Program Officer, Strategy, Innovation & Impact
So many qualities define the life of a Cooperative Hall of Fame hero. Conviction and focus. Vision and persistence. Innovation and leadership. All contributing to a life dedicated to cooperative development and shared prosperity.
These characteristics are a perfect way to describe Rosemary Mahoney and Paul Bradley, lifelong champions of cooperative development. This week, Rosemary and Paul join other cooperative heroes as they are inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, commemorating decades as cooperative developers. Rosemary and Paul’s contributions to the cooperative industry are undeniable; both have shaped our cooperative framework through their work and insights. It is great to have two long-term innovators in the co-op space so closely connected with Capital Impact, and we are proud to see them join this illustrious group of cooperative visionaries. A brief look at each of their histories shows why they are truly Co-op Heroes.
By Clair A. McDevitt, writer
Since Benjamin Franklin launched the first mutual fire insurance company in 1752, the cooperative sector has seen waves of success in the United States. Dairy and cheese coops were first organized in the early 1800s, and other agricultural cooperatives followed. By the Great Depression, cooperative businesses were developing in urban and rural areas, bolstered by President Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. In the late 1960s and 1970s, a new wave of consumer food co-ops grew out of the counterculture movement. In 1981 Capital Impact was born out of federal legislation to keep up that momentum. And for the last four decades, Capital Impact has sought to do this through a mix of financing, capacity building and technical support.
By Alison Powers, Program Officer
More than 10,000 low-and-moderate income homeowners are sleeping better at night thanks to our partner ROC USA. Instead of worrying about rent increases or land sales that might force them to move, residents of manufactured-home communities (what many commonly refer to as mobile home parks) across the country have purchased their land and put down roots through ROC USA’s cooperative ownership program.
Since 2008, the nonprofit social venture’s innovative model has spun off 182 resident-owned communities in 14 states, ranging in size from eight to 300 dwellings. The 10,000th home was recently secured at Turnpike Park Cooperative in Westborough, Mass.
By Clair A. McDevitt, writer
Picture it: the freezer breaks and you’re scrambling to save all your frozen food. In a home, a big cooler or the generosity of a neighbor may solve your problem – but for a grocery store, the goods in a broken freezer cannot be housed at a neighbor’s house until the freezer is fixed.
The freezer, top of the line when it was purchased in the 1970s, was just one challenge faced by First Alternative Cooperative, a community co-op market in Corvallis, Oregon. Along with replacing equipment, including its critical point-of-sale system, which was past its prime, the grocery store needed to make some building improvements and consolidate debt to improve its cash flow.