In recognition of 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), four local cooperatives — Rogue Federal Credit Union, Grange Co-op, Medford Food Co-op and Ashland Food Co-op — are joining together to create “Rogue Co-ops.” The unique coalition of cooperatives will celebrate the theme “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World,” and focus on the concept of cooperatives putting people first, innovating to meet member’s needs, and providing local service while being part of a global network.
The United National General Assembly, which proclaimed the year 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, recognizes that cooperatives, in their various forms, promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people, including women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples. Cooperatives are a major factor in economic and social development around the world and contribute to the eradication of poverty.Locally, Rogue Federal Credit Union, Grange Co-op, Medford Food Co-op and Ashland Food Co-op create approximately 600 jobs and provide high quality products and services to thousands of Southern Oregon and Northern California residents.
Cooperatives are unique businesses owned and democratically controlled by their members, or the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods. Co-op members elect their board of directors from within the membership. Other unique aspects include the concept that co-ops return surplus revenues (income over expenses and investment) to members proportionate to their use of the cooperative, not proportionate to their “investment” or ownership share.
According to a study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, more than 29,000 cooperatives operate in every sector of the economy, and Americans hold over 350 million co-op memberships. U.S. cooperatives generate 2 million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy with annual sales of $652 billion and possessing assets of $3 trillion. Cooperatives operate across all sectors of the US economy and include agriculture, food distribution and retailing, childcare, credit unions, purchasing, worker-owned, housing, health care, energy and telecommunications cooperatives.