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Every Fool knows the power of money and the marketplace. That's why Co-op America will find a special place in your heart. This national nonprofit cleverly leverages the marketplace to solve social and environmental problems. If you care about saving the environment, stopping poverty, and creating healthy communities, this organization offers practical, proactive solutions. Co-op America's unique approach will inspire both the system-thinking minds and the compassionate hearts of Fools everywhere.
How does Co-op America harness economic power for the good? By working directly with businesses, investors, and consumers:
Healthy business, healthy planet
Co-op America's Green Business Program works with businesses around the world to help them green their practices and build green markets. They are pioneers in demonstrating that corporate responsibility and profitability can walk hand in hand. For example, in the last few years, Co-op America helped over 200 magazine publishers switch to recycled paper. These publishers found that today's recycled papers are high quality and cost competitive, and win high marks with readers and advertisers. Over 12 billion magazines are printed in the U.S. each year -- taking down a tree every second. Moving to recycled paper saves forests, saves energy, and reduces pollution, while bringing magazines reader loyalty -- and builds the markets for recycled paper.
Co-op America's Climate Action program helps companies and consumers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions -- at the speed and scale necessary to curb climate change. And their Solar Catalyst program is helping launch a solar revolution to achieve globally affordable prices and meet increasing energy demands. This work to advance energy efficiency and clean energy is crucial for addressing the climate crisis -- and for creating jobs, energy security, and economic prosperity.
You see the fingerprints of Co-op America's work when you read that companies like Procter & Gamble now offer Fair Trade coffee, helping farming families around the world. When you learn that companies like ExxonMobil finally admit that climate change is real and they have an obligation to develop a carbon emissions reduction plan. Or when you hear that giant retailers like Costco have committed to selling organic food and reducing their greenhouse gases.
Investing in communities
Co-op America works directly with investors to help people in low-income communities get a hand up. Co-op America's 1% in Communities program works with all investors -- individuals, mutual funds, pension funds, universities, and faith congregations -- to direct 1% of their portfolios to communities.
In the last three years, this powerful program created $1.5 billion in new community investments -- building affordable housing, child care centers, health care centers, and micro-businesses. Right now, these community investments are helping people of the Gulf Coast rebuild after Katrina and Rita, families in Asia rebuild after the Tsunami, and communities in South Africa rebuild after Apartheid.
Consumer power: Green living, purchasing, and investing
Looking for sweatshop-free clothing? Fair trade coffee and chocolate? Want to invest for your retirement while promoting corporate responsibility? Every year, Co-op America helps over three million people find purchases and investments that promote social responsibility and ecological balance -- a great fit with the Foolish spirit. Co-op America's National Green Pages (both print and online), annual Green Festivals, and enormous pool of print and online resources direct consumers and investors toward the most sustainable options available, while exposing the problems with the worst corporate offenders.
Co-op America's Consumer Education and Mobilization program connects people with businesses that "adopt principles, policies and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, employees, communities, and the environment." This mission sets Co-op America apart. Too often, the environment and business are portrayed as opposing forces, but Co-op America recognizes that business is an enormous engine that can help shift society to sustainability -- and that consumers, using their economic power, can fuel that engine by supporting the clean technologies, products, and companies that will help make a better world.
Fools can visit www.coopamerica.org to learn more about the practical ways that Co-op America helps people use their consumer and investor power to improve their lives while advancing social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities.
Economic power for the planet
Donations from Foolanthopy to Co-op America will be targeted to Co-op America's work on green business, saving forests, climate action, solar energy, community investing, and consumer education and mobilization -- harnessing consumer, business, and investor power for the good.
Co-op America is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity. Charity Navigator provides Co-op America with its highest rating of four stars based on Co-op America's efficient and effective use of donations.
We invite you to support Co-op America's work to harness economic power to solve the most serious social and environmental problems facing us today.