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Owner Generosity Makes a Difference in Your Co-op and Community Far and Wide

Co-ops, no matter what service we offer, are about putting people front and center in our decision making. Our existence is for each other, and what we do for each other and the greater community is a mirror that reflects our core principles to be businesses by and for people. Whenever you exercise your voice through your vote or your commentary, when you shop and invest your equity or purchase Owner Bonds, or when you make donations at the registers, you demonstrate your commitment to your Co-op and your community and prove that we can help ourselves and help each other while we keep succeeding. 


It’s Co-op Month, and every other year, one of the ways we focus our attention on Co-op Month is by holding an Equity Drive. Equity is the investment you have made in the Co-op, either allat once when you signed up to become an Owner, or that you have agreed to pay by installment once a year. Starting October 1st and all month long, we are encouraging both new Owners and those Owners making annual payments to invest your equity in full by waiving the administrative fees for any equity payments made (in any amount), entering all Owners who are paid-in-full in prize drawings, and offering fun “Paid-In-Full” stickers to those who have made their full equity investment. 

Owner Economic Participation is Co-op Principle Three: “Owners contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. The economic benefits of a cooperative operation are either returned to the Owners, reinvested in the co-op, or used to provide Owner services…” Your equity guides our decisions and helps us achieve what we are trying to do together. When you invest your equity, you are purchasing your one share in the business, and when you pay more at once, or invest in full, you are positioning your Co-op to better leverage capital projects that allow us to provide better services for you, such as remodeling East, opening North, and expanding West. When more Owners invest more of their equity, it allows your Co-op to finance more expenditures from internal resources than borrowing more from others. Remember: your equity is yours and is your stake in the Co-op. Regardless of whether you have invested an annual payment or paid-in-full, you may revoke your Ownership and request your equity refunded at any time, for any reason. 

Our goal this month is to raise $50,000 in Owner equity. You can help us meet our goal three ways! 

• If you are not already paid-in-full, invest equity this month, in any amount, and have your administrative fee waived. Everyone who has paid in full can receive a sticker and be entered in a prize drawing to win one of three coupon books with six free juices or smoothies from our Juice Bar and six free made-to-order sandwiches from our Deli. That’s a year’s supply, and good news, North shoppers! We are scheduled to have our juice bar and made-to-order sandwiches available at North this fall, and so the coupons can be used at any location! 

• Share our social media posts about the Equity Drive this month. We’ll be talking about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Help us spread the word! 

• Participate in our Owner Referral Program, and tell your friends to become Owners this month. Did you know that when you refer someone to join the Co-op, we’ll give you a $25 gift card? It’s true. Tell your friends to become Owners, and make sure they tell us when they join that you gave them the referral. When we process their Owner contract, we’ll add your name to the list of people who get gift cards. 

Thank you for participating in our Equity Drive and for investing in your Co-op! Whether you are paid-in-full, or investing your equity annually until it is fully paid, each of you have an equal share in our business, which gives you an equal voice in what we do to make our Co-op a store that benefits all of you. 


Last year, we piloted bringing the City of Madison’s Double Dollars Program to the Co-op during the off-season for participating outdoor farmers’ markets. Double Dollars helps those using FoodShare/QUEST purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables. This was thanks to public funding from a USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, and our ongoing partnership with the City of Madison, Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, and Public Health Madison and Dane County. 


The pilot program was very popular, so popular that we listened to you and developed the Double Dollars Fund so that you could participate in continuing the program both at the farmers’ markets and the Co-op. Funding the program is very simple: you may either donate cash by selecting a scan card at the registers; or you may reuse bags and we’ll send 10¢ for every reusable bag and 5¢ for every disposable bag reused to theDouble Dollars Fund at no cost to you. Since we started the program last April, we have already raised $32,128 to support Double Dollars at the farmers’ markets spring through fall and at the Co-op fall through spring. Thank you for helping bring this program back! Other funding partners include the Madison Area Chef’s Network and other private funders. On behalf of the Co-op and the Double Dollars partner organizations, we are so grateful for your community support. 

Due to available funding, we are able to bring the program back in the exact same format we were able to provide last year. Every Tuesday, from October 24th-March 13th, we will be giving out Double Dollars coupons to eligible shoppers on Double Dollars Tuesdays. On Double Dollars Tuesdays, any shopper using a FoodShare/QUEST card to purchase groceries will be eligible to receive up to $20 worth of Double Dollars coupons to use during future shopping trips for any items in our Produce Department. 

Double Dollars coupons are issued after you shop, at the checkout lane. For every $5 you spend using a FoodShare/QUEST card for any FoodShare/QUEST eligible items, the Co-op will give you one $5 Double Dollar coupon, up to $20, good for any Produce department purchases. 

• If you spend $5-$9.99 on FoodShare/QUEST, you get one coupon 

• If you spend $10-$14.99 on FoodShare/QUEST you get two coupons 

• If you spend $15-$19.99 on FoodShare/QUEST, you get three coupons 

• If you spend $20+ on FoodShare/ QUEST, you get four coupons 

The Double Dollars coupons are each a value of up to $5. To receive the full value of the coupon, you must spend at least the full $5. If you spend less than $5, you will still be remitting the entire coupon. You can use as many Double Dollars coupons in one shopping trip as you like. You can also use the coupons any day of the week, at any Co-op location, in combination with other Co-op discounts and sales, and with any tenders we accept (cash, check, credit card, debit card, FoodShare/QUEST, WIC, etc.). All coupons must be used by May 31st, 2017 (the expiration date has been extended two months from last year!). Coupons may not be used anywhere but the Co-op, and the Co-op cannot accept Double Dollars vouchers from any farmers markets. 

We’re excited to bring this program back and to continue to support the program’s use at participating farmers markets as well. It’s your commitment to shopping here and to your local community that makes this program possible, and helps us contribute to a nourishing and equitable local economy. 


Finally, the weather over the past couple months has brought challenges, danger, and suffering to our neighbors in the Gulf region, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Atlantic coastline. As we have in the past, we continue to be able to depend on you to step up and make a difference for those in urgent need of assistance during natural disasters. After Hurricane Harvey, we began raising money for Central Texas Food Bank and their efforts to provide emergency food assistance to those in the greater Eastern Texas region while their partner food banks in affected areas were also recovering from the storm. And then two weeks later, after Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Katia and the earthquake in the Chiapas region of Mexico struck and impacted more people in the greater area, we were able to expand our campaign to support GlobalGiving, a nonprofit that supports businesses like ours to providefunding to local organizations responding to disasters such as these. Your support has been truly amazing: in the first 13 days of our campaign, we raised $37,050 for Central Texas Food Bank alone, and since then, we have raised an additional $10,427.91 to split between both organizations, bringing the grand total at the time of writing to $47,088, a new record for disaster relief campaigns at our registers (the campaign ended September 30th). Your giving nature during this time of international need is truly amazing and a testament to the kindness of our community. We can’t thank you enough for choosing these important causes with us. 


From selling you groceries, to helping locals improve their ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, and to lending a helping hand far and wide to victims of natural disasters, it’s your investing in us as your local grocer and contributing to the causes we support that makes all of the things your Co-op can do possible. Cheers to you this Co-op Month, for supporting us with your equity, for making contributions to the community, and for making the cooperative principles a personal practice we carry out together. We look forward to continuing to make a difference in our community and abroad with you, our fellow cooperators, in years to come. 

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