Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

Donation ballot reflects Driftless spirit of volunteerism

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Mon, Jul 02, 2012 @ 12:14 PM

Viroqua Food Cooperative’s 1% Wednesday program is now in its fourth year. Back in 2007, one percent Wednesdaywhen I started working as marketing and membership manager, managing donations was one of my tasks. Inspired by other food co-ops, we decided to implement a program where owners could vote on what organizations they wanted the VFC to donate to. This is in accordance with Cooperative Principle Seven, Concern for Community, which states: “While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members."

Our donations program truly reflects the values of our owners. We still take requests for small donations outside the one percent Wednesdays program. The policy for requesting those is on our community outreach page.

What impresses me most as I look over the ballots is the quality and quantity of local NPO’s in our small rural community. I hear it said that we have a culture of volunteerism here in the Driftless, and one look at the list of thirty-five local non-profit organizations is enough to confirm that assertion. You can certainly get a feeling for our values as a community by looking at the mission statements of all these groups.

This year we sent out 1807 ballots. 281 owners (some of them 2 adult households) voted. You can find the names of the winning organizations and the schedule on our community outreach page. We schedule the donation days according to our fiscal year, which runs from July 1 2012 to June 30, 2013.

 We have three new groups in the mix this year: Couleecap, Driftless Folk School, and Threshold Care Circle. If one of your favorite groups didn’t make it in the top twelve, consider sending them a direct donation. Even though we can only have twelve winners in our 1% Wednesday program, we are all winners for having these devoted groups and the people who keep them going in our midst.

Our mission statement includes these words “As member-owners and as a center for community, we offer the opportunity to create together a work of enduring value.” The Viroqua Food Co-op is but one reflection of our local community. The donations ballot demonstrates we have a wider community and many collaborators in our desire to “create together a work of enduring value.”


Charlene Elderkin

Marketing & Membership Manager

Tags: 1% Wednesday