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To promote self-help and mutual aid in community, economic, and social development through cooperative enterprise. We achieve our mission by raising funds to support the work of established cooperative development organizations, administering a number or restricted funds to achieve specific objectives, and acting as a catalyst to build and support coalitions among interested organizations to provide a specific service.
CDF provides ongoing support for a wide range of cooperative development activities. While CDF engages in educational programming and public outreach activities, a substantial amount of its work involves management of grant and revolving loan funds. The following list describes the nature of that grant and loan activity, as well as some of the other program initiatives in which CDF engages on a regular basis: • Scholarships for co-op staff and board of directors training (The Howard Bowers Fund, for the food cooperative community); • Pre-development financing from a revolving loan fund for affordable senior housing cooperative projects, in both urban and rural settings ( The Jacob Kaplan Fund); • Gap financing from a revolving loan fund for acquisition of or repair of student housing cooperatives (the Kagawa Funds); • Grant awards for feasibility studies and technical assistance for innovative co-op development initiatives that address the needs of seniors in rural America (The MSC Fund); • Grant awards for research/analysis to remove barriers to cooperative growth and expansion (NCBA Fund grant for work of Equity Task Force) • Grant awards for technical assistance and modest program support for co-op development initiatives around the world (the NCBA Fund and the Frank Sollars Fund) • Recognition of outstanding cooperative leaders through the Cooperative Hall of Fame (www.heroes.coop ); • Educational programming that both enables networking among co-op development practitioners and raises awareness about cooperatives in the public policy arena (in 2005, a Forum on Cooperative Solutions for Seniors; in 2006 and 2007, an online auction profiling the work of the U.S. art and craft cooperative community); • Service as fiscal agent for organizations engaged in co-op development - such as a Central American coffee cooperative and Cooperation Works!, the network of U.S. co-op development centers interested in agriculture; • Management of United Co-op Appeal, a workplace giving program that annually raises unrestricted funds for more than a dozen organizations engaged in domestic and international cooperative development; • In response to recent natural disasters, CDF also raised close to $200,000 for economic recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian Tsunami. In both cases, the funds are being used for economic and community recovery, repairs to cooperative businesses, cooperative education, and the creation of new cooperative businesses as part of the total recovery from these disasters.
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