New Hampshire Co-ops: Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Three food co-ops in New Hampshire are leading the way in transformative actions that carry out Principle 6 of the International Cooperative Alliance. The sixth principle, “Cooperation among Cooperatives” encourages cooperatives to work together to strengthen each other. First, the Hanover Food Co-op, then the Littleton Food Co-op and now the Monadnock Food Co-op have all joined the national Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) program within the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation (TPCF). The members and boards of the co-ops have built their CCF funds into three endowments that in total amount to over $470,000. You will be amazed at what this active cooperation has achieved for tens of thousands of people in New Hampshire.

On its part, TPCF invests the joint funds only in the development of cooperatives. The full $3.5 million in TPCF funds cycles only within our family of cooperatives and leverages $35 million in additional dollars for the development of cooperatives. TPCF’s CCF policy is to invest its funds to spur cooperative development in the regions proportionate to where the funds come from. There are no dollars invested in the Stock Market but millions of dollars in Co-op Markets and other types of co-ops.

For example, TPCF has $700,000 invested in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (Community Loan Fund). The major program of the Community Loan Fund is to help residents of mobile home parks in New Hampshire form cooperatives to buy the parks they rent in. As of the end of 2017 the Community Loan Fund has funded 20,000 residents of New Hampshire buying the 123 mobile home parks they once rented in.

Photo Credit Steve Sheehan. In January, 2017 the 79 families formerly renting at Polly Ann Park in Dover, NH started the year as cooperative owners of their park. The Community Loan Fund funded the purchase using some of the $700,000 dollars invested by TPCF.

The Community Loan Fund has helped the residents of Cheshire County buy eleven parks as co-ops, and Cheshire County is the home of the Monadnock Food Co-op. The Community Loan Fund has helped the residents of eleven parks in Grafton County become resident owned cooperatives. Grafton County is the home of both the Hanover Co-op and the Littleton Food Co-op. The Community Loan Fund also helped the residents of Coos County buy six parks as co-ops. The Littleton Food Co-op serves many people from next door Coos County.

By helping those New Hampshire residents buy 123 mobile home parks, the Community Loan Fund has helped almost 7,000 NH families to own not only their own home but cooperatively the land beneath their home. The Community Loan Fund has transformed 20,000 residents of NH from being permanent renters to being owners of their own parks.

When the Community Loan Fund first began, one of its earliest loans was to the Concord Food Co-op and one of its most recent loans in 2016 was to expand the Littleton Food Co-op.  If we keep cooperative money in our cooperative circle we truly create Cooperation Among Cooperatives!

So, think about that dollar you can give at the register of your local food co-op as part of a Round-Up program, or the patronage refund you can give back to your local CCF. Think about how each dollar given to a CCF immediately leverages ten dollars for the development of cooperatives locally and in your own state. How’s that for cooperation. Please “Give Where You Live” at your local food co-op.

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The three 2017-2018 Gold Sponsors of the Cooperative Community Fund Program are Frontier Co-op, National Cooperative Bank and Organic Valley. Their $35,000 in Challenge Matches for the year are greatly appreciated.

Run by the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation (TPCF), the Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) program “Give Where You Live” is operated locally by 45 food co-ops all across the USA. The CCF funds are endowments grown by each of the food co-ops where the annual interest earned is given by those 45 food co-ops to nonprofits in their community.

David J. Thompson is President of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation which is the largest single co-op equity investor in cooperative development organizations in the USA. Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation is a long-term investor and the largest single co-op investor in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. 


Co-ops by County (Mobile Home Co-ops in NH)

Belknap 12, Carroll 6, Cheshire 11, Coos 6, Grafton 13, Hillsborough14, Merrimack 17, Rockingham 20, Stafford 16, Sullivan 7.