What is the Grow Fund?
As part of The Food Co-op’s cooperative spirit, it is our mission to support our community in a variety of ways. One way is our commitment to sharing our prosperity to increase the positive impact we have on our community. In 2018, we decided to leverage the funds generated by our Cooperative Community Fund to grow our local food system and its impact. The Cooperative Community Fund is an endowment fund established by a group of cooperatives to support other cooperatives and to enable community giving. The Fund lends the pooled money to cooperatives. Each year, the interest generated by an individual co-op’s fund—we call ours the GROW Fund—can be donated to nonprofits and cooperatives in their community as cash grants.
The GROW Fund:
Using the interest generated by our participation in the Cooperative Community Fund, The Food Co-op will offer small grants to qualifying, local nonprofits to help them grow a healthy community. The interest this year is $1070, but that amount should increase every year.
Each year The Food Co-op will contribute to our GROW Fund in the following ways:
We will add any un-cashed member patronage dividends.
We will add any patronage dividends The Food Co-op receives as members of other cooperatives (like National Co+op of Grocers (NCG).
We will add up to $5,000 per year as determined by the general manager.
***Co-op member-owners can also make donations to the fund at any time through the registers.
We plan to focus our grant giving to local Jefferson County nonprofits and co-ops that fit within our four pillars of community sharing:
Improving food access
Sustainable agriculture (both land and sea stewardship)
Healthy kids, families and animals
Supporting the cooperative model
Each year on August 1st, we will announce the new cycle, giving nonprofits and cooperatives four weeks to complete a simple grant application to be submitted by August 31st. In mid-September, we will convene a team of five, comprised of the following:
A co-op staff person who is also a local cultivator
A co-op board member who is also on the C3 (Cooperative Connections Committee) committee
The general manager
The marketing manager
A member at large - EMAIL Marketing@FoodCoop.Coop if you are interested in sitting on this panel.
The team will meet to review the applications and make a decision based upon criteria (to be developed in the first year). Decisions will be made by a 4/5 vote of the team and announced in October.
Who has received these funds thus far?
2018 was our first year administering the Grow Fund. The Committee met in September, reviewed all of the applicants, and decided to grant $855 to the Community Wellness Project to help establish garden beds in the Chimacum School District. You can read about what the students have been up to in the gardens in our Summer 2019 Commons Newsletter.
APPLICATION PERIOD: August 1–31st.
If you are a non-profit or a co-op in Jefferson County and interested in applying for our GROW FUND, please check back on August 1st to submit your application.