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Toolbox - We Own It: Member Equity

This is a detailed manual about co-op member equity for directors and managers of natural food co-ops. This manual covers the following:

  • Starting out: the basics on capital, liabilities, equity, income, assets and other elements of your co-op’s economic health.
  • Sources of capital: identifying sources of capital for your co-op; the advantages and disadvantages of each source of capital (profits, loans, member shares).
  • Investing in a co-op through member shares: about member equity as a source of financial stability
  • Some important equity benchmarks: the three benchmarks of a co-op’s economic stability and your co-op’s equity needs.
  • Understanding your co-op’s equity system: member shares and member ownership of a co-op, plus eight practical guidelines for a member equity system.
  • A case study: how the Brattleboro Food Co-op planned and introduced an increase in their membership investment requirement
  • Planning for the future: a worksheet to help you assess your co-op’s current fiscal health and to build a strategy for meeting your co-op’s needs.

Written by Rob Wilson and Rob Okun and published by Northeast Cooperatives. Currently distributed by National Cooperative Grocers Association.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without the prior written permission of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in an acknowledged review. Co-ops that purchase this manual electronically may store it electronically and print copies for sharing with other staff or officials of that co-op only. Sharing this manual with individuals or organizations outside of the purchasing co-op is expressly forbidden.

Price: $35 for CGN members. (Note: only CGN account managers may purchase the toolbox for their co-ops. Managers must be logged in to see and fill out the form.)
Price: $40 for non-CGN members.

To purchase this resource, email