Challenges & Opportunities for Co-op Development in African American Communities
Join USDA as Melbah Smith, a 2009 inductee into the Cooperative Hall of Fame, reflects on her 40 years of developing co-ops in African-American communities across rural Mississippi, Alabama, and the Deep South. Melbah started her career with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, returning to her home state to lead the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives and the Mississippi Cooperative Development Center. Over the years Melbah helped organize more than 25 co-ops and built a financial support network that includes state agencies and private funding sources. Melbah was instrumental in the creation of Cooperation Works, a national network of co-op development centers and practitioners.
During the webinar Melbah will share insights into organizing co-ops in some of the poorest rural areas of the country. She will discuss challenges and opportunities for co-op development in African-American communities. Always the visionary, Melbah will also speak about future possibilities for co-op development. Vernita Dore, Deputy Under Secretary of USDA Rural Development, will introduce our speaker.