Almost one year ago exactly we wrote about a congressional briefing being hosted by Congressman Chaka Fattah, whose district includes both Weavers Way and Mariposa co-ops. The briefing was prelude to a bill known as the National Cooperative Development Act (H.R. 3677) that Fattah introduced in mid-December and which has been cosponsored by Congressman Brady and Congresswoman Schwartz along with six other members of Congress. Full text of the bill can be found here. The bill, summed up nicely by The Campaign for Cooperation will:
- Provide loans and seed capital to groups who are attempting to form cooperatives;
- Award grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities so that they can provide technical assistance to operating cooperatives or groups that are attempting to form cooperatives;
- Provide guidance, information on best practices, and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives;
- Provide funding for training of providers of technical assistance and supporting existing professional development training for organizations engaged in cooperative development;
- Establish cooperative development centers in areas that currently do not have them; and
- Authorize $25 million yearly for four years.