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Cooperative Economy·Crash the GAC·Mentorship·NCBA

An oldie but goodie

Our buddy, Adam Schwartz is sort of the male Mother Teresa of the cooperative world.  When we announced our Crash the GAC contests earlier this year, it made perfect sense for us to have Adam weighing in as one of the elite judges, and so we did.  Long before then, we were batting our eyes in Adam’s presence, like a little kid seeing Santa for the first time.

Here’s a little bit about him:

Adam D. Schwartz is the founder and principal of The Cooperative Way, a consulting firm dedicated to improving the operations of cooperatives by utilizing the seven cooperative principles and to solving cooperatives’ needs for capital. Adam has served cooperatives from different sectors for 20 years and has extensive knowledge of the key ingredients that lead to sustainable success for cooperative businesses.

Prior to founding The Cooperative Way, Adam served as vice president for public affairs and member services from 2005-2011 for the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), the only national cross-sector member association with a mission of developing, protecting and advancing cooperative businesses. His responsibilities included directing public policy, communications and strategic alliances.

Adam’s efforts and expertise in lobbying and public policy was critical in convincing Congress to fund the first-ever in-depth research project on the national and local economic impact of cooperatives, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives.  Adam leverages his extensive cooperative network to create workshops and seminars focusing on the cooperative culture, marketing collateral, training and articles to convey the strategic advantages cooperatives enjoy in the marketplace.  A frequent speaker, author and interviewee on cooperative business topics, Adam appeared live on CNN and MSNBC to promote cooperatives as the better business model for economic and social change.

Prior to his service at NCBA, Adam served from 2001 to 2005 as vice president of external affairs for the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative in Herndon, VA. From 1992-2001 he was a senior legislative representative for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Washington, DC.  While there he also represented the interests of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, a $20 billion co-op finance organization.

Adam has served on the boards of the American League of Lobbyists and other non-profit organizations.  Adam earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the State University of New York at Oneonta and completed all course work for a master’s degree from The George Washington University School of International Affairs.  In 2011, he completed the Credit Union Developers Education program and received his CUDE designation.  An avid hockey enthusiast, Adam resides in Springfield, VA, with his two daughters.

And here’s why he loves us:

I am 52 years old been involved with co-ops from all sectors for over 20 years and I am tired of still being one of the younger people in the room at most meetings. Without you co-ops will die. I look forward to working with you to build an economy that is cooperative.

Now the time has come to officially (and belatedly so,) welcome him as a mentor to the Cooperative Trust.  Can you join us and send him a few virtual hugs?



Collaboration·Community Development·Crash the ACUC·NCBA

A Bunk Bed Challenge…

Have you ever been a part of a bunk bed challenge? Well, now you are.

Crissy Cheney (wife of Bill Cheney, CEO of Credit Union National Association) first introduced The Cooperative Trust to a project near-and-dear to her heart during a Crasher session at ACUC in San Diego this past June. She asked for our help and we agreed to get the youth movement involved.

An orphanage in rural Kenya, called the Busia Compassionate Centre, houses 90 orphans and more than 150 foster children. Needless to say–but I’ll say it anyway– without such places, these orphaned children would have nowhere else to turn.

The World Council of Credit Unions together with the international credit union movement stepped in to provide critical support when no one else would. Now in their third year of this initiative, they’re focused on helping the orphanage become sustainable in meeting the children’s basic needs.

Personal space and a safe comfortable place to sleep is perhaps one of the most basic of basic needs. When Crissy told us our donations could easily provide these essentials, we set a goal of raising $500—enough to buy the orphanage 2 bunk beds (and mattresses).

Many of the Crashers donated right away that sunny day in San Diego. Then we spread the message to others in the Trust community and got more donations. After the USA Cooperative Youth Council meeting at the NCBA Conference in Seattle this October, we asked again and were amazed by everyone’s generosity as even more donations came in. THANK YOU to those who contributed so far—because of you, we met our $500 goal! How cool is it to say we all bought 2 bunk beds for kids in Kenya?!

A lot cooler than saying I bought a sandwich and a latte, that’s for sure. But not as cool as saying we bought 4 bunk beds for kids in Kenya. So here’s my bunk bed challenge: can we spread the word and donate another $500—raising our cooperative effort to $1,000 by the end of January? Based on the success we’ve had so far, I have a feeling we can!

Here’s how donations work: WOCCU is keeping track of the total funds we raise for the orphanage. Go to:, fill in the form and in the Comments section, include “Busia Building Trust.” Then we’ll keep you posted on the challenge here and on Twitter (@trustdotcoop).


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