RMFU Co-op Development Center Director Bill Stevenson Earns ACE Award
Bill Stevenson, Director of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center, was honored at the annual ACE awards banquet at Regis University, in Denver on July 19. ACE is comprised of educators, researchers and leaders of cooperatives across North America and the Caribbean. They meet in a different city each year.
“Bill was the cornerstone for the 2017 ACE Institute conference as it took shape in Denver,” says past ACE President William Nelson, for whom the award is named. He further remarked that Stevenson has the enthusiasm and energy that is needed to inspire new cooperative entrepreneurs and their mentors.
Since becoming director of the Cooperative Development Center in 2011, Stevenson has helped the center grow and create many ventures in Denver and rural areas of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. He is also an executive committee member of the Community Wealth Building Network of Metro Denver. Stevenson was president of CooperationWorks!, the national organization of cooperative developers from 2015-2016, and chair of the National Farmers Union Foundation from 2009-2013.
“I’m so honored and humbled to be recognized for an award bearing William J. Nelson’s name, who has been such an inspiration to everyone in the cooperative movement,” said Stevenson. “Of course, I’m sharing this award with many incredible individuals, including the staff at our co-op center and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and especially Cathy Chamberlain, who has been the real leader in putting this successful ACE Institute together. Metro Denver is delighted to be hosting ACE.”
Joining Stevenson as a new ACE award recipient is Community Wealth Building Network of Metro Denver, one of the most dynamic and innovative local economic and social development organizations in North America. Nat Lock of Minneapolis was also recognized for helping create educational programs including the Cooperative Empowerment curriculum, and Luc Morin, executive director of Conseil de la cooperation de l’Ontario, for encouraging youth and new cooperators, especially in French-speaking Ontario, Canada.
With beginnings that date to 1952, ACE it has helped bridge geographic, cultural and language divides to share education about cooperation. Its 2017 theme is Passing along Passion for Democratic Principles, and focuses on new methods of education, platform (Internet) cooperatives, next generations and democratic processes. Helping support the conference are CoBank as presenting sponsor, the CHS Foundation, The Denver Foundation, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, La Coop fédérée of Quebec, the Ralph K. Morris Foundation, GROWMARK, Inc., Vancity credit union of Canada, The Cooperative Foundation, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and many more sponsors.
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