Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Beaumont at Bryn Mawr

Beaumont is a resident-owned, resident-governed cooperative continuing care retirement community designed to fulfill the social, recreational, and health needs of adults aged 60 and older.  Committed to reducing its environmental and carbon footprint, Beaumont composts nearly 50 pounds of biodegradables on a daily basis (which it then converts into organic compost for its gardens), relies on geothermal wells to augment traditional heating and cooling systems, and uses LEDs in all common area and exterior lighting, among other eco-focused practices.  Beaumont has about 300 owner-residents.

Ardent Credit Union

Founded in 1977, Ardent Credit Union now holds $631 million in assets and has 32,000 members.  To support its members, the credit union awards ten scholarships every year to members pursuing higher education and runs numerous seminars focused on financial education.  Committed to its employees, Ardent offers staff up to $6,000 a year to cover job-related tuition expenses, has an on-site nutritionist, and has been recognized as one of the best credit unions to work for by CU Journal.

Democratic Public Ownership for the 21st Century

The Cooperative Party

Noting that a majority of British residents support public ownership of the railways and key utilities, this new paper from the Co-Operative Party calls for modern forms of democratic public ownership. The authors outline how democratic public ownership can lead to productivity gains and protection from government underinvestment in critical infrastructure. The paper outlines what ownership could look like across rail, water, and energy, making actionable recommendations in each sector

Employee Ownership: A Triple Win Solution

Democracy at Work Institute

This one-pager from the Democracy at Work Institute and the National Urban League provides a succinct summary of the benefits that employee ownership provides to employees, businesses, and local economies. Noting that the number of minority-owned businesses is increasing but that many of these businesses lack a succession plan, the info sheet highlights the opportunity to help these businesses convert to employee ownership to retain jobs and stabilize communities.

Legacy Credit Union

Founded in 1955 to serve the University of Alabama at Birmingham community, Legacy Credit Union now has over 38,000 members across the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area and holds over $420 million in assets.  Committed to financial education, Legacy participates in a range of educational initiatives at local businesses, colleges, and high schools, and has developed an in-depth, 12-month financial literacy program for young adults.


Established in 1934 with just $70 in assets and a mission to serve telephone company employees, Avadian has grown into an institution holding roughly $750 million in assets.  Headquartered in Birmingham, Avadian serves over 78,000 members through 20 branches across the state.  To help its members develop and reach their financial goals, the credit union offers numerous programs including youth savings initiatives and free one-on-one financial management consultations.  Committed to the community, Avadian also sponsors a range of area events and nonprofits, and has a particular focus on supporting efforts focused on education, financial literacy, and fostering connections between the community and chambers of commerce.

Neighbors Credit Union

Founded in 1928 to serve area postal workers, Neighbors Credit Union now serves over 48,000 people living across the St. Louis region and holds over $352 million in assets.  To encourage savings, the credit union runs several “clubs,” including Camp Cash, which rewards members 12 years and younger for every $10 they deposit.  To support the community, Neighbors provides four college scholarships on an annual basis, and donates money and items to a range of community organizations.

First Community Credit Union

First Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Missouri with over $2.2 billion in assets, over 270,000 members, and 35 branches.  Serving residents across St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Franklin County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, Warren County, and three Illinois counties, the credit union strives to help members improve their economic and social conditions.  Committed to the St. Louis region, First Community sponsors a range of local events and nonprofit organizations.

Innovation Priorities and Practices in Cooperatives

Eric Brat, Inmaculada Buendía Martínez and Nabila Ouchene
International Summit of Cooperatives

Elmwood Homeowners Cooperative

One of three resident-owned communities (ROCs) in the Tacoma area, Elmwood is a 41-site mobile home park.  Concerned about the security of the land under their homes, Elmwood’s residents formed a cooperative in 2015, which enabled them to collectively purchase the land and infrastructure, and thus guarantee the park’s long-term affordability.

Sound Credit Union

Established in 1940 by a group of telephone workers, Sound Credit Union has grown into a financial institution with $1.42 billion in assets, 115,000 members, and 24 branches across northwest Washington.  In 2016, the credit union made donations to 120 nonprofits and awarded $120,000 in scholarships to area students.  It also provides its employees with an annual paid day off if they choose to volunteer in the community.