How to Make Your Mark on the World

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Do you remember when you were twenty and you swore you were going to change the world? There may be a cliche in there about, oh, if only we could combine the energy we had then with the wisdom we have now...

The fact is, most of us have done amazing things in this lifetime...careers, families, caring for our neighbors...that's what living a good life is all about.

While we might not have achieved rock star status (even those of us who did, realized it's not as glorious as we thought it would be), we are finding small, significant ways to make our mark in the world.

The thing is, when an entire community of people pitches in and multiplies the effect of their small contributions, history will be changed. (Perhaps this message has never been more relevant.)

Will a bigger Co-op change the world? In small ways, YES. It will change OUR world. A bigger Co-op will be a stronger Co-op and a stronger Co-op will touch more lives through education, will support more farmers and local food producers and will be a source of fair-paying jobs for working families in our area.

Hyperbole aside, this a small opportunity for you to make big change.

When the next generation can take a vibrant local economy for granted, that will be a part of your legacy.

There are less than 5 days left in our Owner Loan Campaign and we need to raise another $118,000.

Don't miss your chance to help change YOUR world.

LOAN NOW

An Update on the Final Challenge

On Friday, we announced the FINAL CHALLENGE of the campaign...

A generous Owner challenged us to raise $200K by July15th, promising they'll lend the final $100K that will get us to our campaign goal of $1.3m! (Wahoo! We can see the finish line from here!)

Since Friday, we've raised $18,000, which means we have $182,000 to go!

After a restful holiday weekend, we're back and ready to meet this challenge head on!

  • If 25 of our committed Owners were to lend $7,280* each, our campaign would be complete!
  • If 50 Owners were to lend $3,640* each, we'd sprint across the finish line!
  • If 100 Owners (still a small percentage of our active Owners) were to lend $1,820*a piece, you'd hear the unmistakable sound of popping champagne corks right now!

You get the idea! We're ALMOST there, but we can't do it without you!

Teamwork makes the dream work!

We can do this!

How to achieve the impossible? TOGETHER!

We're doing a happy dance because we've reached a major milestone in our Owner Loan Campaign.

We've raised $1 million! 

Please, take a moment to stop what you're doing, wherever you are, and do a happy dance too! This is not just the Co-op's accomplishment, this win belongs to our entire community!

🕺🕺🕺🕺

You've stunned us with your generosity and commitment.

Thank you! 

Did you dance? Are you done? GOOD. Because there's more...

As we neared the one million dollar mark, a generous Owner came forward to issue aFINAL CHALLENGE to the community. If we can raise $200K from other Owners, the challenging Owner will loan the final $100K to push the campaign over the finish line at...

$1.3 million!
 

We had planned to finish active campaigning by June 30th, but this offer is too good to pass up! We'll focus on raising this final $200K in the next two weeks and complete the campaign on July 15th.

When we started this campaign, we were hopeful, but not sure we would succeed. Now, we’re on the verge of doing something that some folks doubted was possible. 

How to achieve the impossible? TOGETHER.

 

We have no doubt that we’re going to succeed, but we need your help! 

This really is the FINAL CHALLENGE!

History is being made. Don't miss out on your chance to be a part of it.

Let's finish strong!

Bill Tynan, a Working Owner, On What Makes the Co-op Special and Why He Invested

How long have you been an owner of Berkshire Co-op Market?

My name is Bill Tynan and I’ve been an owner since the day I first came to work at the Co-op—almost six years ago. Having read up on the Co-op before becoming an employee, I understood the value of ownership: Not only does it help finance the many community projects in which the Co-op is engaged, but it also reduces the taxes the Co-op has to pay. And as a side, but not insignificant, benefit offers owners access to the Buying Club and its substantial discounts. Owners also vote for the Board of Directors and now have a unique opportunity to be involved in the Owner Loan Program (see below).

What makes the Co-op different from other businesses in town?

So what’s different about the Co-op from other businesses in Great Barrington and surrounding towns. I think first of all it’s the Co-op’s community focus, which includes children’s programs, farm tours, charitable contributions and an emphasis on local products. It also highlights food attributes, such as Gluten-Free products, and conducts product ingredient reviews before bringing in new items. Many popular grocery items available elsewhere are not found at the Co-op due to concerns over “iffy” ingredients.

In your eyes, what would a bigger/better Co-op mean to our community?

Which brings me to the planned expansion of the Co-op. To me and my wife this means more of everything—programs, product selection, community involvement. Oh, and yes, wider aisles! Improved outdoor seating! More checkout stations! And likely, with increased purchasing power, the Co-op can edge down pricing. The Co-op already has a HELP program for people with certain defined needs and has two “senior discount” days each week. I believe management will continue to seek out and implement needs-based and similar programs supported by owners.

Why have you decided to invest in Berkshire Co-op Market's expansion project?

Being a working owner puts me in a special place. It’s the ability to see every day what a great place the Co-op is and to recognize how much better it can be in its proposed new facility. As it happened, my wife and I had a couple of CDs maturing late last year and decided we’d rather invest in the Co-op through its Owner Loan Program than renew CDs. Not only did we feel good about our investment, but the loan offering was too good a deal to pass up. I encourage anyone who believes in the Co-op and its mission and has some money in a low-interest savings account, maturing CD or just spare cash to seriously consider supporting the Co-op expansion through its Owner Loan Program.

I’m not sure you’ll find your name on a brick in the new building, but, having seen renderings of the new Co-op, I believe you’ll be pleased with the results, and you can take pride in knowing you helped make it happen.

~ Bill Tynan
   Owner & Operations Coordinator
   Berkshire Co-op Market

You Did It! You CRUSHED the 48-hour Challenge!

 

Remember the 48-hour challenge we issued on Wednesday?

 
 

You CRUSHED it! 

In just 2 days, we raised $24,500!

So far, 100 Owners have invested in the Co-op expansion, bringing us to today's total of

$678,000!


We're more than half-way there!


Can we just say how much your support means to us? A bigger, better Co-op is a bold goal and your spirit and commitment are getting us there!
 

If you've already made a loan, 
THANK YOU!


If you're still on the fence, we have two weeks to go and could sure use your help!

You went the extra mile & finished in record time! ‍🥇 👏 👏 Now, we have a NEW 48-hour challenge! ⏳

In a word, Huzzah!

On June 9th, we issued you a challenge when a generous Owner offered to lend an additional $15,000 if we could raise $30,000 by June 15th. 

Man, oh man, did you rise to the occasion! You not only met the sprint goal, you went the extra mile AND finished in record time.

In the past five days, you have lent $85,000!

That, added to the $15,000 from the owner who issued this challenge, has us$100,000 closer to our goal than we were just five days ago.

As of today, we have raised $628,000 for our expansion!

Cue the fanfare!  🎺 🎺 🎺   

BUT WAIT!

We just received word from another generous owner who's excited about this momentum and they want to issue a  

new challenge!

This owner promises to lend another $10,000 if we can raise an additional 

$20,000 by this FRIDAY.

Are you up for this 48 hour challenge?!

WAIT! What Happens If We Fail?! 😱

I'm thinking about making a loan, but it seems like the Co-op might not raise $1.3M. What happens to my money if you fail to meet your goal?"

We're glad you asked!

Listen, this is a massive undertaking and it's possible that we might not raise the entire $1.3M that we're aiming to collect before construction begins on the new store. 

If we fall short, two things will happen...

First, all loans that have already been made will be honored as per the current loan agreements. That means your money will still be invested in the new Co-op and interest and principal repayment will be honored exactly as if we had raised the full $1.3M.

Second, for the rest of the money we need, we'll seek out more expensive sources of financing (banks, other lenders, our landlord). These sources will generally have higher interest rates and costly finance fees.

We'd rather borrow money from our owners because it's good for us (lower interest rates) and good for YOU (earn interest on your money while contributing to the health of the local economy).

That's a win/win situation!

If you were hesitant to make a loan because you weren't sure your participation could make a difference, rest assured...

EVERY LOAN MATTERS!

AND

even if we don't collect $1.3M we haven't failed. We'll have to borrow that much less from other sources, and you'll still collect the interest on the loan you've made.

So what are you waiting for?!

INVEST TODAY!

Changing Lives Through Education -- Jenny's Work with the Community Corrections Center

Every Friday, Jenny (our tireless Education & Outreach Coordinator) teaches a class at the Department of Community Corrections in Pittsfield. All of the program participants have been convicted of a drug or alcohol related crime.  Many were previously incarcerated and then assigned to this holistic-based program -- which includes yoga and anger management training in addition to Jenny's healthy food curriculum -- in hopes that participants will be able to make positive changes in their lives through learning healthy habits.

The focus of Jenny's program is to teach participants life skills like cooking, nutrition, food budgeting and gardening. In the past, Jenny has helped her students build cold frames and raised beds then grow vegetables which are harvested and integrated into lessons in nutrition and cooking. 

Through this award-winning program, Jenny and the Co-op are actively working to change lives. It's an amazing thing to watch.

Community Health Programs is so grateful to have this collaboration...

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"Community Health Programs is so grateful to have this collaboration, [which] enhances our mission to support the health, both physical and social, of local families with small children. [Education and Outreach Coordinator, Jenny Schwartz] presents new foods in an appealing and accessible way, educates families on food sources and health benefits , and offers useful preparation tips and fantastic recipes. Jenny models involving children in the food preparation process, which is so important in promoting healthy eating habits."

- Kim Waterman-Spitzer, Education Programs Coordinator, Community Health Programs

Working with Residents at Gould Farm

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"We needed a person who could teach our residents simple, budget-conscious recipes they could cook for themselves. [Education and Outreach Coordinator] Jenny Schwartz developed a marvelous new curriculum along with handouts useful for adults who have special diets such as vegan, gluten free, etc.; she was open and fearless in her planning. The participants are challenged to think about eating more healthfully, feel more confident to cook for themselves, and feel more open to trying new foods." - Pauline Banducci, Transition Counselor CPRP, Gould Farm

"We are excited about the opportunities for local farmers and food producers that the new Co-op could create."

The Berkshire Co-op is a terrific partner.  Marty's Local is in its second year of operation, and the Co-op has supported our farm and food producer partners from the start.  We enjoy working with the helpful staff members, and we know they are effectively communicating with the Co-op members and other customers about the high-quality, fresh, nutritious foods that are being grown and produced right here in our region.  We are excited about the opportunities for local farmers and food producers that the new Co-op could create.

Help Us Turn $30,000 into $45,000!

Do you remember why you became a Co-op owner?

Was it to ensure that you had access to healthy food? Was it because you know that the Co-op strives to support local farmers, developing economic security while preserving our great natural beauty as farmland? Maybe you became an owner because you are enthusiastic about the outreach the Co-op does, teaching young children throughout the public school systems county-wide about food and nutrition. Or maybe it’s just because you believe in the Co-op’s mission and want to place your faith in it. 

Whatever your reason for being an owner of the Co-op, it is A GOOD REASON.

Now is the time to reaffirm your decision to become an owner and make a commitment to support the Co-op. We are asking you to invest in the Co-op by providing us a loan to fund our expansion. Without ownership loans, we will have to seek funding through additional bank loans, resulting in interest fees landing in corporate pockets.

We would rather pay you that interest and keep your dollars local.

To date, our owners have invested $500,000 toward the co-op expansion. THAT’S A HALF MILLION DOLLARS!!! We’re so grateful for this support and we’re excited to see the progress toward meeting our goal of $1.3M by July.

To help us continue this momentum, a generous owner has offered to add $15,000 to their loan total, if we can raise $30,000 in new loans by June 15th.

This means $30,000 turns into $45,000, just like that!

Help us meet this goal by investing today. Remember, we’re asking you to make an investment in the form of an interest bearing loan. Your loan supports the Co-op and this community, and will come back to you with interest.

Let's do this!