Inaugural Co-op IMPACT Conference to Explore State of the Co-op Economy, Funding Development, Measuring Impact and More!


NCBA CLUSA is gearing up for the inaugural Co-op IMPACT Conference, and we’re excited to announce some of the compelling programming we’re lining up to make this conference a premier networking and learning event for co-op members, practitioners and advocates, as well as a unique opportunity to advance the shared interests of the cooperative ecosystem.

Scheduled for October 4 – 6, 2017 at the Hilton-Old Town Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia, this pivotal conference will—for the first time—bring together a broad spectrum of cooperative sectors to build on and amplify the economic impact co-ops have in the U.S. and around the world. Register now and take advantage of early-bird rates!

We’ll kick the conference off with a keynote presentation and panel discussion featuring members of NCBA CLUSA’s Council of Cooperative Economists. They’ll explore the geography of co-ops and their collective economic impact nationwide.

Our panel will also consider how key cooperative sectors influence the economy and society, including credit unions, which are owned by and benefit more than 100 million Americans; rural electric cooperatives that provide power to 18 million homes, schools and businesses; agriculture co-ops that account for 80 percent of milk production in the U.S.; and the emerging worker co-op sector—already generating more than $500 million in annual revenue.

IMPACT 2017 will also address funding for cooperative development. Our funding panel will consider diverse types of resources available to support co-op development and consider how various organizations make funding decisions. The panel will also explore how funders and the development community can work together to ensure that cooperatives make the deepest impact possible in their communities and for their members.

Also on the docket is a discussion of measurement and evaluation. How do cooperatives know the level of impact they are making, whether here in the U.S. or through international development work? This panel will look at cutting-edge work from experts in the cooperative sector on how to measure and evaluate a co-op’s benefit to their members and the broader community. The panel will discuss how these different measures can meet not only reporting requirements for funders and regulators, but how data can best tell the compelling story of how cooperatives build a better world.

A major theme of IMPACT 2017 will be how co-ops contribute to a more inclusive economy. Leading institutions and thinkers have made clear that an economy that excludes many facets of society is not only inequitable, but also threatens national economic growth. More of these leaders are pointing toward the need for a more inclusive economy—“one in which there is expanded opportunity for more broadly shared prosperity, especially for those facing the greatest barriers to advancing their well-being,” as defined by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The cooperative community understands that co-ops are one of the most effective strategies to empower people in their businesses and in their communities. This panel will feature voices from outside the cooperative community from people and institutions who are leading the work on inclusive economic growth.

IMPACT 2017 will also address the global impact of U.S. cooperatives. As part of an effort to support cooperatives and development around the world, U.S. cooperative organizations are actively engaged around the world in fostering more inclusive and equitable economies; achieving food security and better nutrition; empowering women, youth and smallholder farmers; improving access to finance, energy and technology; and strengthening cooperative and group businesses.

This interview-style conversation will highlight insights and learning from the vast global experiences of key U.S. cooperative organizations working in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. It will also consider what the future looks like for continued engagement.

Stay tuned for details on forthcoming topics around worker cooperatives, a mayors’ panel and other special programming.

We hope you’ll join us in October for this incredible learning event, as well as our Co-op Festival on the National Mall September 30 and October 1 and the Co-op 5K on October 7. Subscribe to Co-op Weekly today to get the latest announcements about these events delivered straight to your inbox.

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