The equity investments make up the majority of our capital. Capital is a fund of money that would be provided by private investors in a for-profit organization. Instead of a handful of private, wealthy investors, cooperative businesses have many member-owners who pool resources for the business. These member-owners are the people who use the services the business offers, rather than just trying to get a return on investment. The more member capital we have, the less we have to borrow from banks.
When you become a member of NOFC, you’re not joining a club or making a donation, you’re making an investment and becoming a co-owner of the co-op. The equity investment is a purchase of a shares of stock in the New Orleans Food Co-op. The current cost of a share is $100 (or $25 limited income). This is a one-time investment that may be paid over a five-month period. The share value may change overtime and in that event, owners would increase their equity to make up the difference. Additionally, the cooperative will buy back equity upon request (less a small processing fee & in accordance with provisions in the Bylaws) as long as the cooperative is financially healthy.