Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) is the Northeast's center for cooperative business education, training and technical assistance. CDI's mission is to build a cooperative economy through the creation and development of successful cooperative enterprises and networks in diverse communities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and New York.
Our vision of a cooperative economy is of an inter-dependent dense network of enterprises and institutions that allow us to meet our needs through principled democratic ownership, and that care for community, combat injustice and inequity, and promote conscious self-governance. The cooperative economy is embedded within and helps create a cooperative society aware of its place in a cooperative ecology.
Our organization provides education, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up cooperatively-structured enterprises in all business sectors: food, housing, energy, agriculture, arts, health, forestry, fisheries, retail, service and more.
CDI collaborates with numerous other actors to work toward this vision. Our particular role is to provide direct technical assistance services and training, communicate about the multitude of paths individuals and groups can take toward the vision, and convene meetings that spark further collaboration and development. We help bring the resources and energy together to produce creative, lasting responses to our real human needs.
Cooperatives use basic democratic principles to elect officers and to form decisions. Members invest in the co-op by paying a membership fee or similar cash security, and they receive benefits in proportion to the use they make of the co-op's goods or services. Profits are returned to members in the form of Patronage Dividends, or members may decide to reinvest the dividends back into the co-op for capital purchases or other needs.
CDI fully supports the statement of values and principles adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). CDI's work is also guided by the Madison Principles, professional standards set by cooperative development leaders in Madison, Wisconsin in 1994.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the USDA's TARGET Center at 202/720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Do you want to request assistance from a Cooperative Development Specialist? If so, please fill out this Request for Assistance. Your group may be eligible for a free consultation or even free in-depth technical assistance. View our consultations page for more details.
How to Start a Co-op
Interested in starting a cooperative, but unsure of the steps and details involved? Download CDI's Informational packet here.
Contribute to a more cooperative economy--click the donate button to provide a tax-deductible gift to CDI.