2018 Innovation Award Nomination: Montana Cooperative Development Center Project
The Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) is based in Great Falls. MCDC has perhaps the best and most innovative model for distributing economic development resources in the state of Montana. It is a model based on building capacity and knowledge in rural communities by sharing and leveraging the technical assistance and financial resources of MCDC. MCDC provides financial and technical assistance to Cooperative Development Specialist across the state of Montana that know and understand their communities and are readily available for face to face discussions with anyone interested in using the cooperative business model. Many Montana models for economic development services fund an FTE in a regional location and then try to deliver services to the surrounding communities. The MCDC model is unique and innovative in the fact that it is on the ground with regional impacts.
Because MCDC successfully leverages the relationships and capacity of their Cooperative Development Specialist team, the many cooperatives they have helped create, as well as those well-established utility, electric, and farming co-ops they are able to engage in projects that have a state-wide impact. We have chosen to base this application on the MCDC Cooperative Impact Week. An important task of success is to share the information, celebrate the impact, and recognize the work of all involved. There are more than 160 active cooperatives in Montana. Montana’s 51 credit unions are cooperatives.