What’s a Cooperative?
Watch this FUN video illustration to learn more about cooperatives:
In 1752, Benjamin Franklin organized the first cooperative in the United States. This first co-op insured a group of Philadelphians against the loss of their homes by fire. They formed the Philadelphia Contributorship for the Insurance of Homes from Loss of Fire. This mutual society continues today, the oldest cooperative-style service in this country.
Since then, cooperatives have been organized to provide practically every product and/or service imaginable – electricity, telephone service, food, healthcare, daycare, credit, farm marketing, insurance and even legal services.
A cooperative is a business that belongs to, and is controlled by, the people who use its services. It can be defined as a democratic association of persons organized to provide themselves a service under a plan that eliminates entrepreneur profit. A cooperative is voluntarily owned and controlled by its members and operated for them and by them on a not-for-profit or cost basis.