by Harrison Drinkwater
This month the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society is joining with 30,000 other co-ops and credit unions across the U.S. to celebrate Co-op Month.
In honor of the occasion, our Co-op is launching the Gerstenberger Scholarship Fund. The Fund is named in honor of the Co-op’s long-serving General Managers, Harry and Arthur Gerstenberger, and first Education Director Sally Gerstenberger. The Gerstenberger Scholarship is a new project of the Hanover Cooperative Community Fund, which—thanks to generous Co-op members and a hard-working staff—has raised funds since 2001. Funds support the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, which invests in co-op development throughout the country. Interest from the endowment is then returned to HCCF to help fund local non-profit organizations.
The purpose of the Gerstenberger Scholarship is to help members deepen their understanding of the cooperative movement and sharpen their skills as directors or employees. It’s open to members of the Hanover Co-op as well as members of cooperatives and credit unions in the Upper Valley. More information—including an application—is available here.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor the legacy of the Gerstenberger families,” said former Co-op GM Terry Appleby. “They helped the Hanover Co-op prosper in some challenging times (1949 – 1988). In many ways the Gerstenbergers helped build the foundation we now stand on.”
The Co-op’s 25th Anniversary “float:” Arthur Gerstenberger and son Paul (both in cab of VW van) built the twin-pines circle that is the international symbol of the cooperative movement. Harry Gerstenberger, Arthur’s uncle, was the manager of the Hanover Co-op, which in 1961 was located where the Dartmouth Bookstore now stands. Sally Gerstenberger was the Co-op’s volunteer education director.
Community Project Grants
The Gerstenbergers were also staunch advocates of sustainable, organic farming and gardening, which is another theme echoed by HCCF’s second project: providing targeted, small-scale grants ($500 – $2,500) to Upper Valley non-profits.
HCCF community project grants will be available to local 501[c]3 organizations whose work is aligned with the Co-op’s charitable giving goals: supporting food assistance and access; community building, including support for agriculture; enhancing cooperative principles and activities; or promoting sustainable environmental practices. More information—including a grant application—is available here.
These are exciting developments for Co-op Month! If you have questions about the scholarship fund or the community project grants, please contact:
April Harkness, Board Administrator