People working together for a common cause is nothing new. For those efforts to be sustainable over time requires operating principles — tenets that guide our actions and decisions. During October, we celebrate National Cooperative Month, recognizing that since the mid-1800s, our cooperative business model has not merely endured but flourished because it has remained committed to our values.
While there seems to be a day or month celebrating nearly everything under the sun, National Cooperative Month is a bit different. At your electric cooperative and elsewhere, those 31 days are an opportunity for members, employees, trustees — everyone involved with the co-op — to renew our connection with each other and with the seven principles that guide us: Voluntary and Open Membership; Democratic Member Control; Members’ Economic Participation; Autonomy and Independence; Education, Training, and Information; Cooperation Among Cooperatives; and Concern for Community.
Cooperatives operate in just about every sector of the economy, competing against privately held or investor-owned businesses in the process. It’s those seven principles, however, that set co-ops — whether your electric utility, the Ace Hardware store, the local credit union, or Land O’Lakes — apart from other businesses. We were formed by and exist solely for the benefit of our members.
While we take special note of the value of our cooperative in October, we are honored to be an enduring and thriving part of our community, delivering vital services to you, all year long.
Pat O'Loughlin is president and CEO of Ohio's Electric Cooperatives.