Weavers Way Co-op = Investment Co-op
Recently, I learned that Weavers Way Co-op turned out to be a great place to invest my money. Who knew? Seven years ago, I found myself in the position of recommending to 3,000 families and our Board that we should expand to Chestnut Hill. In order to do that, we needed to raise a certain amount of funding from the membership (our owners) to show other lenders that they stood behind the concept.
What we really needed were more assets that the banks could leverage their loans on and we needed “unsecured cash” to show that owners were behind the plan. So we developed a member loan campaign with the help of our lawyer, our Board members, Finance and Membership departments and other members. In fact, one member, Hilary McAndrews, signed on to help with raising the funds.
We allowed members to decide how much they wanted to put in above a minimum of $2,500, how long they wanted the funds invested, up to 10 years, and how much interest they wanted back, between 0% and 4%. I decided I better get some skin in the game, so, seven years ago I loaned the Co-op $10,000. I signed the legal papers that made it clear that this was an investment only for members living in the state of Pennsylvania and I knew there was no security behind this investment except for the good will of the Co-op that they had done their due diligence on the expansion.
Well, seven years goes by pretty fast and the other day Weavers Way Finance Manager Susan Beetle called to let me know that my investment was ready to be paid back. The other good news was that what I got back was more than what I put in, although now I have to pay taxes on that.
All day, all I could say was that this was a great investment! The project was a big success, I was involved in the project, it made money and I was getting paid for investing in my community! Perfect — who knew that the Co-op was a great place to invest my money?
Now, I need help from the Co-op marital relations department. Seven years ago, I neglected to tell my wife that I was going to do this. I guess I will give her a check from the interest and quietly put the $10,000 back into our retirement program. Maybe she will read this “Confession of a Co-op Investor.”
One last word: This worked out so well, let’s do it again. You guys have any other offerings coming up?