Workshop Series 2019

Building a Culture of Excellence

Thanks to everyone who attended the third workshop in our 2019 “Commit to Co-ops” series. Beth Beutel of Wheatsville Food Co-op explored performance issues within cooperatives, and how you can overcome organizational challenges to help your cooperative achieve long-term excellence. She explained how you can use six simple steps to create concrete solutions to problems such as absenteeism or lack of engagement. As a bonus her presentation is full of amazingly adorable animal memes!

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Below we have the third episode of our Commit to Co-ops! podcast hosted by ACBA Board member and co-op leader Ryan Nill! You can hear the workshop in its entirety, including responses and questions from the audience, and follow along with the presentation. This handout can also help you to work through the issues discussed in the workshop.

Stay tuned for the next episode and recap of our fourth workshop, Beyond with the Breakdown: Communication in Co-ops, presented by Kavita Koppa, coming sometime in the summer.

Also be sure to attend the next workshop on July 20, Convert Your Business to a Co-op, a panel moderated by ACBA President Donald Jackson. More details coming!

Participatory Bylaws and Cooperative Practice

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Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the second workshop in our 2019 “Commit to Co-ops” series. Kristin Scheel and Myra Dioquino of Scheel Legal explored how bylaws development presents co-op owners with an opportunity to have important conversations, create clarity and transparency, build trust, and increase access to power. They explained how bylaws development can also go terribly wrong if they are difficult to understand, exclude people, or reproduce oppressive dynamics. By engaging in a living bylaws development process, co-op owners can consider the impact of structure and agreements on co-op culture, and learn from the experiences of other co-ops of various sizes and shapes.

This workshop is also the second episode of our new podcast from ACBA Board member and co-op leader Ryan Nill! You can hear the workshop as well as Q&A with Kristin and Myra in the link below and follow along with the presentation.

Stay tuned for the next episode and recap of our third workshop by Beth Beutel of Wheatsville Co-op on “Developing a Culture of Excellence” at your co-op.

Also be sure to attend the next workshop, Beyond the Breakdown: Communication in Co-ops, hosted by Kavita Koppa, on Saturday, April 6th.

Back to Basics: Credit and Capital Purchases

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Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the first workshop in our 2019 “Commit to Co-ops” series. Kavita Koppa explored different options for making big purchases as a cooperative business with a focus on how to be eligible for a loan. It included basics on business finances as well as myths about business finance, how to minimize financial risk as a business, and Texas-specific resources to help move forward with your business purchases.

This workshop is also the first episode of our new podcast from ACBA Board member and co-op leader Ryan Nill! You can hear the workshop as well as Q&A with Kavita in the link below and follow along with handouts Protecting Your Credit, Credit 101 & Myths, and Co-op Credit & Big Buys.

Please be sure to attend the next workshop, Participatory Bylaws and Cooperative Practice, from Scheel & Dioquino, on Wednesday, February 27th. And stay tuned for the next podcast covering this important topic.

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2019 Speaker Series Announcements

Exciting news!

As a result of recently received grant funding from the Cooperative Foundation, the Austin Cooperative Business Foundation (ACBF) is pleased to announce 9 cooperative-specific workshops for the upcoming year.

Building on the success of our 2018 Co-op Summer School, we’re offering a series of training sessions united around the theme “Commit to Co-ops.” Whether you’re a seasoned cooperator or interested in learning more about cooperatives, these workshops are for you. There is no cost to attend but we ask for a small Pay-What-You-Can donation ($5-15) to help fund our work.

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Here is the full schedule, with more details on specific times and locations to come!

January - Back to Basics: Credit and Capital Purchasing for Cooperatives with Kavita Koppa
February - Participatory Bylaws: to Distributed Power and Equity with Kristin Scheel
March - Developing a Culture of Excellence with Beth Beutel
April - We Goin’ to Be All Right: Communicating in Co-ops with Kavita Koppa
May - Co-opensation, fairness, and compensation with Wavell Watson
July - Converting your Business to a Co-op with Don Jackson
September - Legal Considerations for Housing Cooperatives with Daniel Miller
October - Union Co-ops: Examples and Opportunities with Ryan Pollack
November - Cooperative staff evaluations: good for everyone! with Daniel Miller


The Cooperative Foundation is a steadfast supporter of Cooperative development, research, and education. For more than 60 years, vision and generosity has guided the work of the foundation and in turn benefited cooperative members and communities. Formed by cooperative leaders in 1945, The Cooperative Foundation received much of its financial assets through the vision and generosity of St. Paul architect Thomas Ellerbe Sr. and his family. That endowment and contributions from cooperative benefactors continues to support the work of the foundation. Through its mission to expand and enhance cooperatives through research, teaching, extension, innovation, and development, The Cooperative Foundation remains a vital part of the past and future of cooperation in the United States. For information about funding priorities and the competitive grant making process, visit the Foundation’s website: www.thecooperativefoundation.org.


Commit to Co-ops! Workshop Series

Request for Proposals: Facilitate a Workshop!

The Austin Cooperative Business Foundation (ACBF) is now seeking proposals and facilitators for workshops for its upcoming development and training series, Commit to Co-ops. Commit to Co-ops workshops and training sessions will help ACBF support and expand the cooperative economy in Austin and Central Texas by offering ways for everyone to expand their cooperative skills.

Workshop facilitators will:

  • Research, develop, and facilitate Texas- and/or Austin-specific workshops or training sessions for current or future cooperators, specifically on topics that address “intermediate” skills (beyond the basics!)

    • Some potential topics: non-violent communication for housing co-ops, marketing and social media for coops, financial stability and growth for coops, co-op activism and community organizing in Central Texas, converting your business to a co-op in Central Texas

    • Please note you are welcome to submit workshops that pertain only to a specific type of co-op (i.e. housing, or consumer co-ops) or on a topic that applies to all types of cooperatives

  • Create engaging, well-designed, and digitally-distributable materials to complement the workshops

  • Spread the word about ACBF and the workshops to help raise the profile of ACBA/Austin-area cooperatives, and to encourage attendance

What we’re looking for in a workshop designer/facilitator:

  • Have an idea for a training session and excited to lead it!

  • Passionate about cooperatives and excited to help build the local cooperative economy

  • Eager to learn more and teach others by doing original research and workshop design

  • Bilingual in Spanish/English (preferred, not a requirement)

Diversity Encouraged:

We aim to build a multi‐racial and class‐diverse organization that reflects the future of our member cooperatives. Women, people of color and others who may be underrepresented in non-profits, cooperative development, and cooperatives are strongly encouraged to apply.

Further details:

Workshop facilitators will be contracted by the ACBF for a total of $500 per workshop, for up to 10 total workshops. You may propose to give a particular workshop once, or up to 3 times. Workshops/training sessions must be delivered sometime between November 2018 and December 2019. You may apply as an individual or a small group to do a workshop; however, note that due to limited funding, the payment is per workshop, not per person. A limited amount of funding will be available for materials, promotion, and food.

Please submit your application here. Please submit a separate application for each proposed workshop if the topics are different.

The deadline to submit proposals is October 5 at midnight.

If you have questions, reach out to Carol Fraser, Grant Administrator, at carol.fraser@acba.coop.

The Commit to Co-op Workshop Series is partially funded by the Cooperative Foundation. Austin Cooperative Business Foundation is supported by donations from people like you. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the ACBF today.