With all the talk about the need for credit unions to collaborate with like-minded organizations and connect with young cooperative entrepreneurs, the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive may offer the first proactive shift into action.
CoFED is looking for credit union employees to work with and mentor college students working with campus food cooperatives.
Mentors will be associated with projects on campuses in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Pacific Northwest and California, connecting with students and creating opportunities to expand their younger membership.
In addition, mentors will support small local businesses and connect with the greater co-op community.
The move is part of a bigger mission of building a movement of cooperative pioneers, as mentors support young leaders as they build thriving cooperative food movements on college campuses.
Plans are under way to launch a training program for people in the food and cooperative movements this August. Six future food movement leaders will be recruited for an immersive professional development experience. They will support students growing cooperative and sustainable food businesses on their campuses.
According to The Cooperative Trust founder Brent Dixon, who serves as vice chairman of the CoFED board, fellows need expert help from credit union mentors in financial literacy for small businesses, financial management and general business development.
He added, the time commitment is minimal at two hours per month, of short 20- to 30- minute calls or brief emails with teams and regional organizers.
CoFED will feature mentor credit unions at www.cofed.coop.
Credit unions interested in mentoring should email CoFed Director of Communications Megan Svoboda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since launching nationally in late 2010, CoFED said, it has worked with over 300 students starting or operating cooperative, sustainable food ventures on over 35 campuses across the country.