Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to think about what we all do to show our love and appreciation for one another. Our Co-op is comprised of a wonderful and giving community, and it surely shines in our willingness to give not only to those we know, but also to those we don’t. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by such thoughtful people.

HELPING FIGHT HUNGER OVER THE HOLIDAYS
Co-op patrons were very generous in fighting hunger over the holidays. Our donation shelves at both Willy East and Willy West were brimming with non-perishable donations for Goodman Community Center, Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, Lussier Community Education Center, and the Middleton Outreach Ministry Food Pantry. Willy East patrons also took the opportunity to donate an additional $1,630 in Co-op gift cards to Goodman Community Center via the registers, and Willy West donated 3,479 pounds of produce to Second Harvest this past December. Thank you for supporting the local community and fighting hunger.

DONATING TO THE MILLIONS AFFECTED BY TYPHOON HAIYAN
It is simply an honor to announce that thanks to the kindness of our patrons, and the steadfast efforts of our cashiers and Customer Service staff, Willy Street Co-op raised a grand total of $16,585 to donate to World Food Program (WFP) USA during a six-and-a-half-week cash register campaign. WFP used the funds to provide immediate food relief in the form of high-energy biscuits and other emergency food commodities that were light and easy to transport and did not require cooking. 100% of all funds received in response to the disaster in the Philippines were deployed to stabilize the nutrition situation and meet immediate food needs.

Those of you who may not have had an opportunity to donate to the relief effort at the registers may still donate funds to WFP USA. Visit wfpusa.org to find out how to donate online or mail a check to the organization directly.

Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity; your help made a difference where it certainly mattered most.

CONTINUING RECOVERY EFFORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES: DONATE TO COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT FUND
After the immediate need to deploy food and water to the estimated two-and a-half-million people in need of aid in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines will need to turn towards rebuilding their infrastructure and communities. Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) has spent over 65 years supporting cooperative businesses worldwide, and they are currently accepting funds to help recover and rebuild cooperatives and cooperators (including cooperative housing organizations) impacted by the storm. CDF is committed to working with partners in both the U.S. and the Philippines to find the cooperatives in the region that will make the most effective use of their contributions. To make a donation, simply visit www.cdf.coop/drf. Recovery from disaster goes beyond food and water. Shelter and community matters, and we hope our Owners will continue their efforts to stabilize the Filipino community.

CONTINUE GIVING AT THE REGISTERS TO LOCAL NONPROFITS OR CO-OPS: DONATE YOUR PATRONAGE REFUND store credit
Speaking of generosity at the registers, there are a couple great opportunities for Owners to make a difference right here at home, with their Patronage Refund Store Credit. Due to a profitable Fiscal Year 2013, those who spent $371 or more during that time received letters in January announcing that a store credit was available to use on purchases, for donation or cash back. If you haven’t utilized your refund yet, please consider using the store credit to make a donation. We are currently offering the opportunity donate at the register in two ways: by donation to Community Shares via the CHIP Program or to Food Cooperative Initiative: a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to developing new retail grocery co-ops. Donations of Owners’ store credit donations to FCI will be committed to local startup grocery co-ops (in Wisconsin or within 150 miles of the state capitol). Donating is an easy way to do your part to support Co-op Principle Six: Cooperation amongst Co-ops and Co-op Principle Seven: Concern for the Community.

DONATION EFFORTS AT THE REGISTERS: HOW THEY WORK
Whenever we engage in cash register donation campaigns, we often receive suggestions from Owners regarding other efforts we could be funding. There are many that are worth funding, we are always open to the many thoughtful suggestions we hear, and it is challenging to decide which efforts to engage. We realistically can’t fundraise for all of them. Community Shares is our primary focus; we love being able to CHIP and have our generous patrons fund many nonprofits all over the community at once. When we engage in relief efforts for natural disasters, we typically contribute to one cause at a time to keep transactions at the registers simple, and not dilute the impact of the efforts we are making. We weigh our decisions based on timing, what those impacted need the most, the reputation and credibility of organizations championing the relief efforts, and the number of people impacted by the disaster who need help. If there are causes you are committed to that we are unable to service at the registers, please consider making your own personal contribution to those causes, most donations can be make with just a few clicks online.

2014 COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT FUND: ONE MORE MONTH TO COMPLETE GRANT APPLICATIONS
It’s indeed that time of year again, time for organizations to apply for Community Reinvestment Fund grants. The Community Reinvestment Fund is funded by unclaimed and abandoned equity money that has accumulated over time. Our bylaws mandate that we dedicate these unclaimed funds to educational and charitable purposes. Owners with equity invested who have become inactive are contacted and given the option to either renew their Fair Share contract, withdraw their equity, or donate the equity to our Community Reinvestment Fund. Since 1992 this fund has supported Co-op Principle Seven: Concern for the Community by contributing $283,000 to a number of developmental and educational efforts and events in the area. The funding primarily focuses on providing grants to local nonprofits with limited access to funding. Priority is given to organizations working on projects benefiting the Madison and Middleton metropolitan areas. The deadline to apply for this grant is February 28, and more information can be found at www.willystreet.coop/community-reinvestment-fund.

Thank you for being a generous co-op community!

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