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Community Reinvestment Fund

You may know that this is the time of year when we begin soliciting applications from local non-profit groups for grant funding from our Community Reinvestment Fund. Every year since 1992 we have been contributing to the quality and well-being of our community by supporting a diverse array of projects in the areas of food, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, cooperative education and social change.

What you may not be sure about, though, is where that funding comes from. The money for the grants actually comes from the equity—the Fair Share payments—of former Owners who have left town or otherwise dropped out of contact with us.  Periodically (every year or few years) we place advertisements and send notices to the last known address of Owners who haven’t shopped in the store for over three years and who haven’t kept current in making any Fair Share payments.

If theyrespond, these Owners have the option to renew their ownership status by making any necessary equity payments, or to ask for a refund. If there is no response by a certain date, any payments that they have made are legally considered abandoned property. Now there are rules established by the state regarding abandoned property like this (as well as things like old bank accounts or safe deposit boxes, for example). Normally this abandoned property has to be turned over to the state, but there are specific exemptions for cooperatives that allow us to keep these funds, provided they are used exclusively for educational or charitable purposes. And so it is this abandoned equity that is the money that we then use to fund these Community Reinvestment grants.

How to apply
Information about applying for one of these grants is available on our website or by calling the store and asking for Lynn Olson, Cooperative Services Manager. The deadline for applications this year is February 28th. After that time a committee made up of staff and Owners will review the applications and make a recommendation to the Board for its approval. A total of $14,000 in grants will be made available this coming year and the awards will be announced at the beginning of May. Typically this will be split among more than a dozen different projects, depending on what is being requested.

November meeting highlights

  • The Board enjoyed a fascinating education session at the beginning of their November Board meeting, planned by Board member Kathleen Doherty and lead by ZingTrain’s Stas Kazierski.
  • The Board reviewed the plan for an Owner Bond Drive should a second store location be chosen.
  • Assignments for the annual GM evaluation were made.

January meeting

  • The Board will conduct the annual General Manager evaluation.

Ongoing projects

  • The Board’s one standing committee—the Finance Committee—reviews monthly financial reports at each of its meetings. The Finance Committee will be reviewing its annual calendar and setting long-range visioning plans.
  • The Board’s Retreat Planning Committee has selected a facilitator for the annual Board retreat (February) and is working to set an agenda.
  • The Patronage Refund and Non-Owner Surcharge Committee continues to look into the advantages and disadvantages of the non-Owner surcharge. This committee wants to knowwhat you think. Please refer to the article on page 13.
  • Expansion opportunities in the greater Madison area continue to be explored.
  • Educational Sessions
  • The Board will be engaging in educational sessions from 6:00-6:45pm, immediately prior to the Board meeting. The topic for January is: Board Relationship with Community Stakeholders. All Owners are welcome to attend!
  • Communicate with the Board!
  • Want to communicate your ideas, concerns, praises or complaints to the Board? The next Owner Forum will take place on Tuesday, January 19th from 5:30pm–6:00pm in front of the housewares display across from the bulk coffee. Snacks will be provided. Come meet your Board reps and make your voice heard! You can write them anytime at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Remember, you can always catch play-by-play board minutes at: