In an age of uncertainty and unrest, the turning of the seasons reminds us
of a larger purpose, a greater power, a comforting certainty. The lacy
pale-green leaf wisps of spring become the deep green canopy of summer,
which transforms wondrously into the vibrant kaleidoscope of autumn color
that we savor for a few precious weeks, before the tree limbs stretch dark
and bare against the wintry sky.
This seasonal certainty forms a bedrock foundation for us,
something we can count on. In a similar way, your electric cooperative
adheres to seven principles that form the bedrock underlying how cooperative
businesses operate, during times of plenty, and times of plentiful
challenge. October is Cooperative Month, and so we share below a brief
description of each of these seven core principles.
Voluntary and Open Membership
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable
ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious
endeavor. — Henry David Thoreau, 19th-century
American writer, naturalist, historian and philosopher.
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all who
are able to use their services and who are willing to accept the
responsibilities of being a member-owner.
Democratic Member Control
Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the
moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern
himself with reason and justice. — Harry S.
Truman, 33rd President of the United States (1945-’53).
Because cooperatives are democratic
organizations, their member-owners take an active role in the business.
These member-owners have equal voting rights — one member, one vote — and
elect a board of directors to set the policies for their business.
Members’ Economic Participation
Gather the gifts of earth with equal hand;
Henceforth ye, too, may share the birthright soil, The corn, the
wine, and all the harvest-home. — E.C. Stedman,
19th-century American poet, critic and essayist.
Member-owners are also customers of their cooperative. If
there are surpluses at the end of a given year, these “margins” are later
returned to the member-owners when financial conditions permit.
Autonomy and Independence
It is a blessed thing that in every age someone has had
individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions.
— Robert G. Ingersoll, 19th-century American political leader, orator
Cooperatives are autonomous, independent businesses
controlled by their member-owners.
Education, Training and
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
— Sir Richard Steele, 18th-century Irish writer, publisher and
Cooperatives are committed to
keeping their member-owners well-informed about their business.
Cooperatives also work hard to provide training
and education for their employees and board members, to allow them to
operate the business as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Swing the shining sickle, Cut
the ripening grain; Gather in the harvest,
Fall is here again. — Traditional folk
Gathering in the harvest is a
collective affair, as is operating a member-owned business. Multiple
cooperatives often work together to minimize costs and maximize
effectiveness in a wide array of areas.
Concern for Community
I believe that man will not merely endure; he will
prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an
inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of
compassion and sacrifice and endurance. — William
Faulkner, 20th-century Nobel Prize-winning American author.
Cooperatives are locally owned and locally controlled
businesses that work first and foremost to serve their members’ needs. In
addition, they work hard to be good corporate citizens, responsible
environmental stewards, and active participants in providing for the
sustainable development of the communities they serve.