October is National Cooperative Month and E&I is celebrating – along with 40,000 other cooperative businesses serving more than 120 million people nationwide – by recognizing the many ways “Cooperatives Build” trust, stronger communities, more resilient economies, and a better world.
A Lesson on Cooperatives
Cooperatives are businesses that are owned and governed by members – the people who use the products and services they provide. From food co-ops to farmer co-ops, worker co-ops to credit unions, and housing co-ops to energy co-ops, cooperatives make a difference in peoples’ lives every day.
Working with a purchasing cooperative like E&I helps members reduce costs, improve operational supply-chain efficiencies and maximize effectiveness. E&I provides high quality, cost-effective contracts, services, insight and strategic solutions for education and related communities by working efficiently and ethically in cooperation with members, business partners and colleagues. As a true member-owned Cooperative, E&I shares its profits with its membership at the end of each year, in the form of patronage. The amount distributed to each member is based upon each institution’s relative contributions to the Cooperative’s gross income.
“This year’s National Cooperative Month theme – Cooperatives Build – truly expresses the many ways that cooperatives build a stronger community,” said Tom Fitzgerald, E&I CEO. He continued, “E&I returned more than $25 million to members in the form of rebates in 2015, and approved another $3.5 million to be returned in the form of patronage refunds. Those dollars circulate close to home, helping to strengthen the local economy and ultimately perpetuate the Cooperative spirit.”
E&I Cooperative Services (E&I) is the member-owned, not-for-profit sourcing cooperative delivering expertise, solutions and services to education and related institutions. E&I provides members with access to a diverse portfolio of competitively awarded contracts, electronic procurement platforms and consulting services to help them source effectively. By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of nearly 4,000 member institutions, E&I helps members reduce costs and optimize supply chain efficiencies. The Cooperative’s member-driven competitive solicitation process has been validated by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) as being in compliance with generally accepted public procurement standards.