MADISON, Wis. (7/6/12)--Credit unions will be among the nearly 30,000 U.S. cooperative businesses celebrating Saturday as the United Nations (U.N.) International Day of Cooperatives.
The U.N. has proclaimed that co-ops be formally recognized each year on the first Saturday of July.
This year's theme--"Cooperative enterprises build a better world"--links to the observance of 2012 as the U.N.'s International Year of Cooperatives (IYC). It seeks to encourage the growth and establishment of cooperatives worldwide, and to recognize the actions of cooperatives in helping to achieve internationally agreed-upon development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals.
In a video commemorating U.N. IYC, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon notes the role credit unions played in supporting the global economy during the recent financial crisis.
"The global financial and economic crisis has also demonstrated the resilience of alternative financial institutions such as cooperative banks and credit unions," said Ban. "In this International Year of Cooperatives, I encourage all stakeholders to continue building awareness and pursuing policies to strengthen cooperatives everywhere."
The U.N. believes the cooperative movement helps local economies by having "citizens themselves rely on self-help and their own responsibility to meet goals that include not only economic but social and environmental objectives."
In the U.S., Americans hold more than 350 million co-op memberships, according to the National Cooperative Business Association. With assets of $3 trillion, U.S. cooperatives contribute two million jobs and $652 billion in sales to the U.S. economy.
On Saturday, the Cabot Creamery Cooperative's 2012 Community Tour will conclude at the Celebrate Portland Festival in Portland, Maine, where 2,000 to 3,000 attendees are expected. The Maine Credit Union League will be among the groups welcoming the riders.
The Cabot Creamery Cooperative 2012 Community Tour is a two-month tour to celebrate the U.N. IYC. The 366-mile tour, which departed from Miami on May 12, passed through every state along the Atlantic coastline (News Now
Another bicycle tour also is celebrating 2012 as the U.N. IYC. The Co-cycle Project is a student-led, bike-powered tour linking co-operatives across the U.S. on a west-to-east route.
The tour was organized by students of Hampshire College, and is sponsored in part by UMass College Five FCU, Amherst, Mass.