Cooperatives
Making It Possible

"A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise."


In plain terms, a cooperative is an organization controlled by the people who use it, exists for the member's benefit and is a democratic financial entity whose earnings and assets belong to its members. Cooperatives are based on values of self-help, collective responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.


We’re not always aware of cooperatives because they exist in so many forms throughout the world. There are food, worker, bookstore, bicycle, agriculture, artist and energy cooperatives. Credit unions are basically cooperative banks. You can find different forms of cooperatives just about everywhere you look.


BCL is a housing cooperative. In a housing, each resident is a member of the cooperative. Members, collectively and democratically, control their living space and assets by vote.


Housing cooperatives may consist of various parts of a general community and are fairly common near university campuses. They seek to provide an affordable, alternative living space to dorms, sororities, fraternities, apartments and traditional residential housing.

Cooperative Community

We are a member of The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) formed in 1968 as a federation of housing cooperatives in North America. Traditionally, NASCO was associated with student housing, though non-student cooperatives have become more common.


NASCO encourages the development of new and existing cooperatives as an advocate for its members to government, universities and community organizations. It teaches leadership skills and serves as a central link in facilitating the cooperative vision. Through our membership in NASCO, we are tied to the larger cooperative movement.


At Institute, a NASCO gathering every fall, hundreds of cooperators gather to learn new skills, attend workshops, share ideas and discuss issues facing the cooperative movement. BCL attends Institute each year bringing back new ideas on how to advance the BCL mission.


FAMILY

The NASCO Family organizes and educates affordable group equity cooperatives and their members for the purpose of promoting a community-oriented cooperative movement.


MISSION

NASCO furthers its vision with cooperatives by providing resources, assisting in development and encouraging cooperatives to continue active participation in the cooperative sector.


VISION

To achieve socially and financially responsible values, NASCO encourages each cooperative to participate in the economic sector for all people and organizations interested in applying the principles and practices of cooperation.

Cooperative Principles

1st PRINCIPLE

VOLUNTARY AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.


2nd PRINCIPLE

DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Humans serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. 


3rd PRINCIPLE

MEMBER ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the purposes to benefit the organization and it's members.


4th PRINCIPLES

AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.


5th PRINCIPLES

EDUCATION, TRAINING AND INFORMATION

Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. 


6th PRINCIPLE

COOPERATION AMONG COOPERATIVES

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.


7th PRINCIPLE

CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Cooperative Movements

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