October has been declared “Co-Op Month in Iowa” by Kim Reynolds. In the proclamation, the Governor mentions:
- Concern for the community is a core guiding cooperative principle
- Cooperatives dedicate substantial human and financial resources to serve their communities beyond their core business functions, including: charitable giving that meets the needs of underserved populations, investment in community development that generates jobs and income and helps create vital services, contributions, and involvement in environmental protection activities, innovative projects improving child health, welfare and support quality education
- The community commitment of cooperatives enhances economic opportunity and improves quality of life in Iowa’s towns and cities
- During the month of October, cooperatives of all types and from all industries reaffirm their commitment and pledge continued, active involvement in the communities in which their members live and work
“Iowa credit unions are proud to be part of the cooperative movement and are committed to improving the financial lives of Iowans,” said Murray Williams, President and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League. “The credit union philosophy of “people helping people” is a value we share with our fellow cooperatives and the economic impact of our collective efforts helps grow our local communities.”
Nearly one out of every two Iowans is a member of a co-op through industries like rural electric, credit unions, rural telephone, farm credit, petroleum, retail and more. Co-ops are not-for-profit organizations that are owned and democratically controlled by their members. They exist to benefit the people who use the co-op’s services, rather than to generate profits for outside investors, and members elect their board of directors from within the membership.
“Co-ops exist for the benefit of their members, while also serving the needs of their local communities,” said Dave Holm, Executive Director of the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives.
Co-ops benefit both rural and urban Iowa, serving more than 1.5 million members throughout the state. In rural communities alone, co-ops pay approximately $60 million in property taxes and help support critical infrastructure. Iowa cooperatives also employ more than 12,000 Iowans.
“Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives are proud of our legacy of powering lives and empowering communities. Our mission is to provide cooperative member-owners with safe, affordable and reliable electricity that is sustainable,” remarked Chuck Soderberg, EVP and general manager of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.