Raised on a small dairy farm in east central Minnesota, Dennis Johnson learned early on the integral role the cooperative business model plays in rural America. Under his leadership, the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives was a leader in financing and supporting cooperatives and new cooperative formation, thereby encouraging the application of the cooperative business model to rural economic development.
Recognizing the need for technical resources to support cooperative development, Johnson was an early supporter of the cooperative development center known today as Cooperative Development Services and helped secure U.S. congressional authorization and appropriations for federal funding of cooperative development. He contributed to helping emerging democracies in Eastern Europe move to free market economies through his work with ACDI and as a board member of WNISEF.
Johnson has long played a leading role in the senior cooperative housing sector, beginning with Homestead Housing Center in the mid-1990s. He was a founding member of the Senior Cooperative Foundation. He strengthened Cooperative Housing Resources, the nation’s only lender focused solely on financing senior housing cooperatives. Johnson organized the first annual Senior Cooperative Housing Conference and developed the Senior Cooperative Housing Education Program. He worked with senior housing cooperatives to incorporate SCH Purchasing Cooperative to leverage their buying power.
Cooperatives have always been a part of his life and Dennis Johnson holds a pivotal place in cross-sector cooperative history.
To place a congratulatory message or add your name to the Friends of Dennis Johnson page in the Hall of Fame program, contact Cassandra Durand at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, April 22.