Federation Brings CUs, Coops Together as Part of International Year of Cooperatives

Contact: Rafael O. Morales, Public Affairs & West Coast Program Officer ● 212-809-1850, ext. 206 ●

More than 125 representatives from cooperatives across New York City gathered at the Ford Foundation yesterday for the launch of New York: Building a Cooperative City, a year-long campaign that seeks to bring the various cooperative sectors in New York City together to learn, collaborate and promote the cooperative model. The initial host committee for the campaign was convened by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation), and the launch followed by one day the proclamation by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of 2012 being the International Year of Cooperatives.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney was among the credit union dignitaries on-hand to address the group. He described the excitement the International Year of Cooperatives is generating locally and across the globe. “It is an uplifting experience to celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives at the United Nations and here at this event in New York City,” he said. “What better time to showcase the cooperative spirit, than during this special year?”

Participants also heard from New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a strong supporter of community development credit unions (CDCUs), and community development in general, across the Big Apple. Quinn spoke to the assembled group and presented a proclamation declaring Tuesday as Cooperative Day in the 5 Boroughs. The proclamation was co-signed by 20 council members, demonstrating the broad and deep support cooperatives enjoy across New York.

Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal described the significance of the gathering. “For the first time, we have brought together representatives from across cooperative sectors in New York: credit unions; food, housing, and worker co-ops; and others,” he said. “We estimate that between us all, more than one-million New Yorkers are members of cooperatives.”

One of the main goals of the campaign is to raise awareness of the role co-ops play in people’s lives. “Many people actually do not fully realize that they are members and owners of their cooperatives,” Rosenthal continued. “Not all credit unions market prominently the fact that they are financial cooperatives, and we think this is a huge opportunity to spread that message to the masses,” Rosenthal said.

A highlight for many at the event was hearing from international cooperative leaders, including Charles Gould, Director-General of the International Cooperative Alliance, and Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Cooperative Alliance.  The program opened with Gould, who described the goals of the International Year of Cooperatives, and ended with an arousing speech by Dame Green.

The day prior, Rosenthal, Cheney, CDCU representatives and leaders from the National Cooperative Business Association attended the International Year of Cooperatives launch ceremonies at the United Nations. “Nearly 300 representatives of cooperatives from 52 countries came to the United Nations and 19 member states delivered messages of support and solidarity for our movement,” explained Rosenthal. “It was truly inspiring to hear the diversity of cooperative voices from across the globe and the common ideals that unite us all.”

Other guests of note at the Federation event included Mary Martha Fortney, CEO of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) and Charles E. Snyder, President & CEO of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank (NCB). 

The launch of New York: Building a Cooperative City was supported by the Council of New York Housing Cooperatives and the National Cooperative Bank.


The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) is a certified CDFI Intermediary representing more than 240 community development credit unions (CDCUs).  The Federation’s member CDCUs provide credit, savings, transaction services and financial education to more than 1.7 million residents of low-income urban, rural and reservation-based communities across the United States, and hold over $11 billion in community-controlled assets.  The Federation also represents 50 Community Development Partners, some of the nation’s largest credit unions with a special commitment to serving low-income communities.  Founded in 1974, the Federation is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Colorado Springs, CO; Madison, WI; and San Francisco, CA.   The Federation offers a wide range of advocacy, educational, training, investment, marketing, and outreach programs to support and assist CDCUs.  For more information about the Federation and its programs, please visit:


© 2011 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

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