SOURCE: National Cooperative Business Association

National Cooperative Business Association

December 16, 2011 10:24 ET

National Cooperative Development Act Will Create Jobs and Strengthen Communities in Need, Says NCBA CEO

Breakthrough Legislation Supports Urban and Rural Cooperative Development

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Dec 16, 2011) - Small, independent businesses anchor local communities, generate jobs, support economic development and keep wealth local. As community supported, member-owned businesses, cooperatives offer communities a sustainable solution to the economic crisis. Today, the US Congress took a step toward economically empowering Americans and strengthening communities with the introduction of H.R. 3677, the National Cooperative Development Act. Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.) and three co-sponsors introduced the legislation.

"I thank Representative Fattah and the other co-sponsors of the National Cooperative Development Act for their leadership," said National Cooperative Business Association President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Hazen. "They recognize that America needs more co-ops to bring jobs, strengthen communities and keep wealth local. This breakthrough legislation supports communities in both urban and rural areas by providing resources and tools for cooperative development. As the United States continues to struggle with unemployment, these leaders recognize that cooperative enterprise holds a key to building our economy," he continued.

The National Cooperative Development Act would establish a National Cooperative Development Center to provide capital, training and other resources to foster cooperative development. Addressing economic development though cooperative development will advance the economic stability of local areas; increase the circulation of capital locally; and develop, attract and anchor new productive capital in urban and rural underserved communities.

"It's high time for cooperatives -- a great idea that has come up from our urban neighborhoods and rural communities -- to move onto our national radar," said Congressman Fattah. "This legislation brings federal resources and policy priority to that effort. Cooperatives benefit the communities they serve while building opportunities for shared wealth. Cooperatives are truly vehicles for moving people into the middle class and creating economic growth," he continued.

Cooperatives are values-based, businesses owned and controlled by those that use the cooperative's services. In the United States, more than 29,000 cooperatives operate in every sector of the economy and in every congressional district; Americans hold over 350 million co-op memberships. US cooperatives generate 2 million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the US economy with annual sales of $652 billion and possessing assets of $3 trillion.

Congressman Robert Brady (D-Penn.), a co-sponsor of the National Cooperative Development Act, commented that "cooperatives are an important part of the national fabric and they provide vital support for struggling underserved communities. And, when it comes to the challenge of food hardship, cooperatives have the unique ability to offer on the ground solutions for on the ground problems. The NCDA represents the kind of fundamental investment that keeps on giving, and I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this important legislation."

Co-sponsor Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said, "The Bay Area continues to benefit from the economic development generated by cooperatives. Cooperatives are a strong business model for job growth in this troubled economy and are powerful tools to building prosperous communities."

"The National Cooperative Development Act comes along as the world prepares to celebrate social and economic contributions of cooperatives through the International Year of Cooperatives," said Hazen. "Cooperative enterprises do build a better world, and this bill offers Americans an opportunity to build better communities and create sustainable jobs."

Cooperatives are a major economic force in developed countries and a powerful business model in developing ones. Worldwide, over 1 billion people are members of cooperatives. The economic activity of the largest 300 cooperatives in the world equals the 9th largest national economy.

ABOUT NCBA
Founded in 1916, the National Cooperative Business Association is the national voice for cooperative enterprise in the United States and has a mission to develop, advance and protect cooperative business. NCBA provides a strong, unified voice on Capitol Hill and diligently works with lawmakers to enact legislation that supports the development and growth of cooperatives. NCBA's comprehensive programs help co-ops strengthen their businesses so they can better serve their members and transform the global economy. NCBA also creates connections across all sectors of the nation's more than 29,000 cooperative businesses, including agriculture, food distribution and retailing, childcare, credit unions, purchasing, worker-owned, housing, healthcare, energy and telecommunications cooperatives. NCBA's CLUSA International Program has helped develop cooperatives and other sustainable businesses in over 100 countries since 1953. CLUSA currently implements 23 projects in 10 countries. In the 2012, cooperatives around the world will celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives. Cooperative enterprises build a better world. To learn more about NCBA, please visit www.ncba.coop. To learn more about the US observance of the International Year of Cooperatives, visit www.usa2012.coop.

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