Celebrate the co-op difference

It seems to be a recent fad for every type of food to have its own day of celebration—National Cheesecake Day, National Spaghetti Day—or even an entire month (looking at you, pizza), but Co-op Month has been nationally recognized since October 1964.

The celebration’s roots trace back even further to 1948, when Minnesota was the first state to declare an official Co-op Month proclamation. It’s a month to raise public awareness of co-ops, celebrate their accomplishments and reflect upon their impact on the communities they serve.

For electric cooperatives that means recognizing the vital role they play in bringing power to 56% of the nation’s landmass; the 20 million businesses, homes, schools and farms they serve; and the economic impact of the $12 billion they annually invest in local economies.

But electric co-ops are just one piece of the co-op puzzle. More than 100 million Americans belong to a credit union. Co-op farmers provide more than 190,000 jobs and annual wages of over $8 billion. More than 1.5 million families live in cooperative housing. While the industries vary, the seven principles guide them all.

“Co-ops don’t answer to outside shareholders; they care about meeting their members’ needs,” said Mark Fagan, vice president and chief corporate & member services officer at Great River Energy. “They represent democracy in action with control exercised by a board of directors elected from the members. Co-ops promote local job creation through economic development activities and take part in community involvement programs, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience.”

Studies show that consumers want to do business with companies whose values mirror their own, making today’s environment ideal for co-ops and their commitment to the communities where their members live and work. It’s the cooperative difference—the member-driven structure—that has led electric co-ops to receiving the highest consumer-satisfaction scores within the electric industry.

Visit greatriverenergy.com/we-are-a-cooperative to learn more about the cooperative difference and how Great River Energy supports its communities.