The new Cooperative Governance Research Initiative is filling a critical knowledge gap


Strong governance is essential in cooperatives’ success in realizing social, environmental and economic impacts. However, there is no research that systematically examines governance of U.S. cooperatives across sectors and over time. The Cooperative Governance Research Initiative (CGRI) will begin to fill this critical knowledge gap in 2021 by gathering key cooperative governance data that empowers cooperatives of all types to reflect upon and improve their governance structures, processes, and culture.

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives is launching CGRI with generous seed funding from CoBank and the Cooperative Development Foundation along with technical support from a volunteer Advisory Committee made up of representatives from across the co-op community. As a proud member of the CGRI Advisory Committee, NCBA CLUSA is committed to ensuring the research is timely, rigorous and relevant to cooperatives in the real world.

As a mixed methods study, CGRI will involve online surveys of a diverse sample of cooperatives and follow-up interviews with a small group of respondents. All data collected will remain confidential and no individual cooperative will be identifiable in the final results. The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives will share findings through information and tools that help cooperatives benchmark, reflect on and improve their governance practices.

Cooperative leaders who have been selected to participate will receive additional information by email in late summer 2021. If you are interested in being part of CGRI as a research participant, funder or thought partner, please contact project director Laura Hanson Schlachter at

Learn more about CGRI

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