The International Co-Operative Alliance and the First Cooperative Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in an ongoing series by Kris White on the seven cooperative principles, adopted and revised by the International Cooperative Alliance. Be sure to check back over the coming weeks as Kris continues to expatiate upon these seven core principles and values. Feel free to join in the discussion below.

In 1895, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was formed “to unite, represent, and serve co-operatives worldwide.” The ICA represents 308 cooperative federations and organizations across 107 countries (April 2018). The members of the Alliance are national level cooperative federations, individual cooperative organizations, and government offices concerned with cooperatives. The ICA defines a cooperative as an “autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”

Continue reading “The International Co-Operative Alliance and the First Cooperative Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership”

We Want to Hear From You!

Members United wants to hear from the members of GHI; what topics are you interested in?  We strive to create a co-op where members are actively involved and engaged. What issues do you feel are in need of discussion among Members United?  

Are you interested in ways to get members more involved in GHI decisions?  Do you want to learn more about the seven international cooperative principles?  Are you looking for additional means of participation in Board meetings? Let us know your thoughts for future Members United articles and discussions.

About Members United

What is Members United?

Members United is comprised of GHI members who envision a cooperative in which all members are united in their commitment to participatory governance and to incorporating the seven international cooperative principles.  Our mission is to promote responsive governance, member participation, member education, and communication between GHI members, employees, and the Board of Directors.


What is Responsive Governance?

Members United believes in leadership that responds thoughtfully and effectively to the needs and concerns of GHI members.  Members should feel that our leadership of GHI employees and Board members truly care about the concerns and needs of GHI members.  Members should have the means to voice their opinions to leadership that responds to and respects their opinions.


How can members be more involved?

Members United envisions a cooperative where members actively participate in the control of GHI.  Members United promotes democratic member control of the cooperative whereby the members are involved in decision-making.  We seek to provide education, training, and information to members about their role in GHI. Members United works toward the provision of mechanisms to encourage further communication between leadership and membership.


What are the Seven International Cooperative Principles?

Members United believes in the seven international cooperative principles established by the International Co-operative Alliance.  As adopted in 1995, the seven international cooperative principles are: (1) voluntary and open membership, (2) democratic member control, (3) member economic participation, (4) autonomy and independence, (5) education, training, and information, (6) co-operation among co-operatives, and (7) concern for community.  See for more information.


Click here to see the Mission Statement of Members United and learn more about us.

Don’t Forget Your GHI Vote!

GHI elections are here and you have three opportunities to cast your ballot.

May 10 (Thursday) After the Annual Meeting Ends (Starts @ 7:30 p.m.)
Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Road

May 11 (Friday)
morning: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.  |   evening: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
GHI Administration Building, One Hamilton Place Continue reading “Don’t Forget Your GHI Vote!”