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Coop Fund of New England Celebrates Best Year Ever

The Cooperative Fund of New England (CFNE), a nonprofit community development lender founded in 1975, celebrated its most successful year ever in 2004. "Last year, the Coop Fund placed over $1.8 million in loans to 29 cooperatives, employee-owned businesses, and community nonprofits," said Rebecca Dunn, Executive Director of the Fund. "At the same time, we received over $1 million in new investment loans, and unlike many community development financial institutions our operations are self-sufficient."

Erbin Crowell, President of the Fund, identified CFNE’s nearly 30-year track record as a key factor in their continuing success. "More and more investors are looking for ways to support socially-responsible and community-based economic initiatives that make a difference," he said. "Over the years, the Coop Fund has built a solid foundation a record of responsible lending. Our investors know their money will be put to good use, and our borrowers know that they are not only getting a collaborative lender, but by borrowing from the Fund, they are enabling us to support more coops and community initiatives."

Social investors in the Fund represent a broad range of sources, including over 135 individuals, and organizations such as the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Calvert Foundation, Chittenden Bank, Haymarket Peoples Fund, Tzedec Economic Development Fund, and US Treasury CDFI Fund.

While the focus is cooperatively-organized businesses, CFNE supports a broad range of organizations. Examples of projects and businesses funded include Belfast Food Coop, a natural foods consumer coop in Belfast, ME; Cold Pond Community Land Trust in Acworth, NH for land purchases; Equal Exchange, a Massachusetts-based worker cooperative that markets fairly traded coffee, tea and cocoa products from small farmer cooperatives; Island Pond Woodworkers, an employee-owned buy-out of an Ethan Allen Furniture Plant in Island Pond, VT; Jamaica Plain Cohousing in Jamaica Plain, MA for land purchase, remediation and construction of a 31 unit urban cohousing community.

"We are very excited to be part of the community of organization’s working with CFNE," said Corinn Williams of the Community Economic Development Corporation of Southeastern Massachusetts (CEDC) in New Bedford. "With their support CEDC could start new initiatives. We can seek new opportunities in community research, workforce development, and housing."

The Coop Fund provides loans and technical assistance to cooperatives and community-based nonprofits across New England, and is a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). For more information on the Fund, obtaining a loan or making an investment, please call 800-818-7833, or visit; E-mail:

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