Fattah Introduces Bill to Support Co-ops
He wants to create a National Cooperative Development Center.
Rep. Chaka Fattah has introduced a bill to support cooperatives across the country.
The National Cooperative Development Act would authorize $25 million a year through 2016 to create and fund the National Cooperative Development Center.
“It’s high time for cooperatives—a great idea that has emerged from and gained success in our urban neighborhoods as well as rural communities – to move onto the national radar,” Fattah said. “This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to the effort."
Fattah's district includes Weavers Way Co-op, which has locations in both Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.
“We have food deserts in low-income urban areas where food cooperatives are often the only enterprises willing to bring food security and nutrition while anchoring the buy-local campaigns we see happening everywhere,” Fattah said. “Every new or expanded cooperative, regardless of the goods or services it provides, will be a job creator and an economic engine where it’s most needed.”
The National Cooperative Development Center will (according to a news release):
- Award grants to non-profit organizations, colleges, and universities so that they can provide technical assistance to operating cooperatives or groups that are attempting to form cooperatives.
- Provide guidance, information on best practices and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives.
- Provide funding for training of providers of technical assistance and supporting existing professional development training for organizations engaged in cooperative development.
- Establish cooperative development centers in areas that currently do not have them.
- Create a revolving loan fund to provide loans and seed capital to groups who are attempting to form cooperatives;
If the center becomes a reality, Weavers Way could benefit as an existing co-op by getting various forms of assistance from the center.
It could also theoretically help establish other co-ops throughout Northwest Philadelphia. Not every neighborhood has one.