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Co-op Community | Summer Quarterly 2019

Changing the Way We Give

Emily Walter & Laurie Talbert, Administrative Assistant & Marketing & Membership Director

When surveyed for our latest five-year strategic plan, members told us that Cooperative Principle #7, Concern for Community, is important to them and that finding ways to expand the good works the Co-op does in the community is a priority. We plan to honor our members’ wishes by bringing back a member-driven round-up program reminiscent of what the Co-op has done in the past. We will also focus on building up our Twin Pines giving fund, and revamping and breathing new life into our current Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) granting program through the Humboldt Area Foundation. We’re excited to create more ways to encourage members and shoppers to support local nonprofit organizations that are doing important work in our community.

Seeds for Change Round-Up Program

Seeds for Change is a new community-giving opportunity that allows Co-op members and customers to round-up their Co-op purchases to the nearest dollar with those extra cents given directly to a local organization that is doing amazing work to better our community. Each month, a different member-selected recipient will receive the round ups collected in the store that month. It’s a simple but powerful way to engage our members and shoppers in fulfilling North Coast Co-op’s principle of caring for the community. 

Each year, nine local nonprofit organizations will be selected by an in-store member vote. Interested nonprofit organizations can apply each summer to be considered for the Seeds for Change Round-Up Program. All qualified organizations will be put on a list for a member vote. During the first week of the Co-op’s annual board elections this September, Co-op members will be encouraged to vote for five organizations they would choose to support. The top nine organizations selected by the membership will get a spot in the program and will be announced at the Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, October 12. The first of the member-selected recipients starts in January 2020 when they will have the opportunity to share the story of their nonprofit with customers and receive all round-up funds that month.

During the remaining three months of the year the Co-op is dedicating round-ups to Food for People for their Share the Spirit campaign in December, Twin Pines Cooperative Community Foundation in October during national Co-op month, and the Co-op Pumpkin Patch in August.

Twin Pines Cooperative Community Fund

The Twin Pines Foundation is the largest single funder of cooperative development organizations in the United States. Forty-four cooperative grocers, including North Coast Co-op, participate in Twin Pines Cooperative Community Fund. The Co-op invested $40,000 in Twin Pines more than twenty years ago and with few withdrawals, and interest earned, our fund has grown to $75,000. The interest earned on the Co-op’s investment in Twin Pines can be given to local nonprofit organizations, in the same way that we grant nonprofits through our CCF fund held at the Humboldt Area Foundation. 

We plan to begin building the Twin Pines fund again, so we can share the proceeds in our local community. Doing this also helps fulfill our Cooperative Economy strategic plan goal. In honor of Co-op month, this October North Coast Co-op will encourage register round-ups to support our Twin Pines Cooperative Community Fund. Frontier Co-op, a proud sponsor and supporter of Twin Pines, will match round-ups collected at the register, up to $1,000. The Co-op will also match up to $1,000 by reinvesting the interest from our fund for this year. Beginning next October, the Co-op will begin granting from our Twin Pines fund, using the interest that we earn.   

Cooperative Community Fund

Since it was first established in 1990, the Co-op’s Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) has granted more than a half million dollars to nonprofit organizations that undertake projects supporting sustainable agriculture and food programs. CCF is largely supported by the 10-cent charge for paper bags at the Co-op’s registers. In fact, nearly 70% of the monies going to the fund each year come from paper bag sales. Another 20% comes from members who choose to donate the value of their shares when they close their memberships. Just 10% of it is generated by member donations rounding up at the registers. 

With the new Seeds for Change Round-up Program starting in January there will no longer be round-ups for CCF. However, with more giving funds generated from Seeds for Change and Twin Pines, there will be less pressure for all our giving to come solely from CCF. This will allow us to grow our CCF fund as we revamp exactly how future grant cycles will work.

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