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Hall of Fame Induction, International Staff Retreat Among Highlights of Co-op Week


NCBA CLUSA is gearing up for a full schedule of events this week as the trade association and international development organization celebrates Co-op Week, which falls every year during the first week of May.

Kicking off the week is the May 6 to 7 meeting of the NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors, the second of three board meetings NCBA CLUSA holds per year. This week’s agenda includes a full review of 2013 financial reports, a look at first quarter finances for 2014 and an in-depth report on the Uganda Conservation Farming Initiative. The USDA-funded project is boosting crop yields for 60,000 smallholder farmers in northern Uganda.

The 25-member board is chaired by Jerry McGeorge, vice president of Cooperative Affairs for the Organic Valley Family of Farms. The board welcomes its newest member, Steve Kettler of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, this week.

On May 7, the Cooperative Development Foundation will host the Cooperative Issues Forum at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The forum includes a keynote address by Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Cooperative Alliance; reports on cooperative development; and a Hall of Fame Inductees Forum.

NCBA CLUSA President and CEO Mike Beall will moderate the panel of inductees: Harriet May, retired president and CEO of the Government Employees Credit Union; Barry Silver, executive vice president of the National Cooperative Bank; Martin Lowery, executive vice president for NRECA; and Papa M. D. Sene, senior technical advisor for NCBA CLUSA.

The four honorees will be inducted the evening of May 7 in the Cooperative Hall of Fame, also at the National Press Club. Recognition by the Hall of Fame is the highest honor conferred by the U.S. cooperative community.

Inductees must demonstrate the following qualities: conviction, determination, dedication, focus, fortitude, innovation, leadership, loyalty, perseverance, sacrifice, selflessness, statesmanship and vision. They must also share a common belief in the cooperative model and serve as a driving force behind cooperative advancement.

The Cooperative Development Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of the NCBA, administers the Cooperative Hall of Fame. Nominations are received annually from across the cooperative community, representing a spectrum of candidates from volunteers to public officials and cooperative leaders. Final selection is made by the NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors on the recommendations of a selection committee of national cooperative leaders.

The Cooperative Hall of Fame gallery is on display at NCBA CLUSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and posted online at

Finally this week, NCBA CLUSA will host its annual international staff retreat in Washington, D.C., with staff members coming from as far away as Mozambique. All staff will receive training in the CLUSA Approach, a participatory method of cooperative and local development tested in the field but relevant at all levels of the organization. Staff will also help shape vision statements and organizational strategies during four days of presentations, workshops and team-building activities.

“The retreat is an ideal opportunity to hear from both the domestic and international sides of our organization. It creates an environment where we learn from and strengthen each other, essentially fulfilling cooperative principle six of working together,” said Amy Coughenour, chief operating officer for NCBA CLUSA.

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