In 2005, membership in CooperationWorks! grew to 21 cooperative development centers, more than doubling the size of the organization from its founding in 1999. Sixteen full member centers on the CW Board of Trustees and six provisional members.
The 2005 CW annual meeting was held in April in Washington, D.C. Thirty-five participants representing 20 member centers members of CW, NCBA and CDF attended. It was the largest meeting of cooperative development centers in the United States to date.
During the meeting the members discussed the pros and cons of incorporating CW. Since its launch in 1999, CW had operated as a fund within CDF. CW paid CDF an annual fee of $10,000 for administrative and financial services. The CW executive director was an employee of NCBA. Many members assumed CW was an incorporated organization and when they found out this wasn’t the case some were concerned about liability issues. CW had developed a reserve account, held within CDF, of more than $100,000.
After lengthy discussions, the board authorized the CW Leadership Committee to investigate the incorporation of the organization.
In December 2005 the members of CW held a meeting in Madison, Wis., to celebrate the 10- year anniversary of the drafting of the Madison Principles. The members made some changes to the Madison Principles, incorporating the lessons learned in the field in the last 10 years.
The Leadership Committee, following their April charge, presented several options and recommendations for incorporation as suggested by attorney David Swanson. The Leadership Committee recommended that incorporating as a service cooperative would be the best fit for the organization. The board authorized the Leadership Committee to present a plan for incorporation at the 2006 CW annual meeting.