WASHINGTON (9/23/10)--The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and cooperatives--including credit unions--across the nation will celebrate the cooperative difference and business model during October, which is Co-op Month. The theme for Co-op Month 2010 is "Local. Trusted. Serving You." The theme highlights that cooperatives are trusted and focused on their local communities, said a press release from NCBA on Yahoo! News
(Sept. 22). "Now more than ever people need locally owned and controlled cooperatives to be a strong foundation to our economy," said Paul Hazen, NCBA president/CEO. "We should all take time to celebrate the ways that co-ops continue to stabilize our local communities during hard times." This year, Co-op Month is being coordinated with other events, including International Credit Union Day on Oct. 21 and Co-op Week, on Oct. 17-23. Many co-ops will host open house events during Co-op Week. Some statistics to consider:
* More than 29,000 cooperative businesses in the U.S. generate more than two million jobs and create more that $74 billion in wages annually, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. * Co-ops account for more than $654 billion in revenue, representing a strong business model that contributes to national and local economies, keeps profits local and pays local taxes to help support community services. * The nation's 8,200 credit unions are cooperatives, with 92 million members. * More than 900 electric cooperatives deliver electricity in the U.S. to 42 million people in 47 states--equal to 12% of the nation's population. * In the U.S. more than 1.2 million families of all income levels live in homes owned and operated through cooperative associations. * Farmer co-ops provide more than 250,000 jobs, with a total payroll over $8 billion. Total profits for farmer co-ops in 2008 were $4.2 billion, which was either returned to farmer members or reinvested in the co-op to benefit members and local communities. * More than 50 million Americans are served by insurance companies owned by or affiliated with cooperatives. * More than 20 cooperatives have annual sales in excess of $1 billion, including Land O' Lakes Inc.; Cabot Creamery, which sponsors the Credit Union National Association's Home and Family Finance Radio Show; Ocean Spray; and ACE Hardware. * Food cooperatives have been a favorite for healthy food for more than 30 years.