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Cooperative Principles

More than 100 million people are members of 47,000 U.S. cooperatives, securing health care, insurance, housing, food, heating fuel, hardware, credit unions, child care and utility service at an affordable price.Cooperatives (like Springer) are owned by the members they serve.

Cooperatives are guided by the following principles:
  • Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are open to all people willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
  • Democratic Member Control: Members’ votes determine cooperative policy and governance.
  • Members’ Economic Participation: Members own the cooperative, purchase its goods and services and periodically receive patronage capital.
  • Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives control their own destiny, as determined by a member-elected board of directors.
  • Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives educate and train members, representatives, managers, and employees to manage the members’ assets.
  • Community Commitment: Cooperatives are committed to community development through its policies, contributions and participation in local events.
  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Cooperatives work together through local, national, regional and international structures and causes.
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