Cooperatives adhere to seven principles that reflect our core values of honesty, transparency, equity, inclusiveness and service to the greater community good. October is National Co-op Month, so this is the perfect time to reflect on these principles that have stood the test of time but also provide a framework for the future. Let's take a look at the first three cooperative principles.
VOLUNTARY AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP
Your Cooperative was created out of necessity--to meet a need that would have been otherwise unmet in our community. The consolidation of Iowa's Buena Vista County REC, Pocahontas County REC, and D.E.K. REC in 1986 and the merger of Cherokee County REC in 1989 to form Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative has created a challenge by change and has succeeded with strength so everyone in our community could benefit.
While this history may be forgotten, key parts of that heritage remain--the focus on our mission and serving the great good. Membership is open to everyone in our service territory, regardless of race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, language, political perspective or socioeconomic status.
DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL
Your Cooperative is well suited to meet the needs of our member-owners because we are locally governed. Each member gets a voice and a vote in how the Cooperative is run. Your Cooperative's leadership team and employees live right here in the community. The board of directors, who helps set long-term priorities for the Cooperative, also live locally on cooperative lines. These board members have been elected by neighbors just like you. You, our member-owners, have a valuable perspective, and that's why we are continually seeking your input and encourage you to weigh in on cooperative issues and participate in cooperative elections.
The close connection to our communities ensures we get a first-hand perspective on members' priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments.
MEMBERS' ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION
As a utility, our mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to our members. But as a cooperative, we are also motivated by service to the community. Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of your Cooperative. At least part of the capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for cooperative programs, initiatives, capital investments and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
Your Cooperative is a reflection of our local community and its evolving needs. We view our role as a catalyst for good and making our corner of the world a better place. And by the way, that sums up the seventh cooperative principle, "concern for community!"