One hundred fifty cooperative leaders from all sectors of the economy and corners of the nation will meet with top policymakers at the White House Friday to discuss how their organizations spur economic recovery through job creation and ongoing investments in their local communities. The event is produced by the White House Community Leaders Briefing, a weekly program that provides a forum for community leaders to speak with White House officials about issues affecting their communities.
"Every day cooperatives around the U.S. are stimulating the economy and we are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss our successes in job creation and ways to use the cooperative model to continue to strengthen communities large and small," said Liz Bailey, interim president/CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association. "Two million jobs are generated each year as a direct result of cooperatives, which illustrates the incredible impact that these organizations have on local economies."
The event will begin with a briefing by senior Obama Administration officials followed by breakout sessions where cooperative leaders will meet with members of the Administration to discuss small business development, job creation, innovative agriculture programs and financial cooperatives.
The $144 million Hope Federal Credit Union, chartered in 1995, will share its story about how it has evolved from a small church project intended to provide an alternative to predatory lenders to an institution with 16 branches in four states. The Jackson, Miss.-based Hope, located in the nation’s most impoverished region, offers a full array of financial products and services as well as education and counseling services to traditionally unbanked and under-banked residents.
There are currently 29,000 cooperative businesses nationwide spanning most industries, including agriculture, energy, financial service and credit unions, food distribution, healthcare, housing, retail and telecommunications. U.S. cooperatives account for more than $3 trillion in assets, over $500 billion in total revenue and $25 billion in wages and benefits.