First meeting with four new ROC USA Directors!

The ROC USA Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning. We welcomed the newly elected ROC Leader Directors – Liz, Natividad and Colleen – and our TA Provider representative, Diane Gasaway from the Northwest Co-op Development Center in Olympia, Wash.

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The new ROC USA Board: [From L to R] Colleen Preston (Cranberry Village Residents Association), Michael Swack (UNH), Adnan Bokhari (CFED), Andrea Levere (CFED), Michael Forster (NeighborWorks America), Natividad Seefeld (Park Plaza Cooperative), Paul Bradley (ROC USA), Liz Wood (Duvall Riverside Village Cooperative), John Wiltse (PathStone Corporation), Diane Gasaway (Northwest Cooperative Development Center), and Terry Simonette (NCB Capital Impact).

We started the meeting by celebrating our first five years: 52 new ROCs in 14 states with 3,500 homes now in secure, resident-owned communities!

We – you, your neighbors, your TA Provider and the national team – didn’t get here alone. We worked together. On the community level, you don’t see ROC USA’s nonprofit LLC Members and the role they play to make all of this possible. From their initial financial investment to their ongoing support (through the Board and otherwise) but I can tell you, we would not be here without them.

Let me give you one example: NeighborWorks® America is a ROC USA sponsor and on our Board. They are one of three large national partners (CFED and NCB Capital Impact are the other two) that have helped us do things we couldn’t do on our own. NeighborWorks runs the Community Leadership Institute and welcomed and largely funded our ROC leader teams. We simply couldn’t bring ROC leaders for free to a national institute without their help. That’s just one of many examples.

You were and are assisted by a Technical Assistance (TA) Provider. You know them as Ben, Julie, Kevin and Angela and many more who work for Northwest Co-op Development Center, CASA, NCF and ROC-NH to name just four of eight TA Providers in Network. They are the “boots on the ground,” assisting ROCs with pre- as well as post-purchase training and coaching and organization support. We simply couldn’t be a national organization and serve you with direct support without these nonprofits.

ROC USA’s been fortunate to attract and retain excellent staff and leadership. Great teams can accomplish great things and we’re out to accomplish great things.

I appreciate the community owners who were in most cases not required to deal with you as an association buyer but did so because somewhere in their hearts there was a soft spot for giving you as homeowners a chance to purchase the community. It’s still rare we find owners willing to consider a sale the homeowners so we promote the ones who do. In the next five years, as one Director just said, “We need to make offering the community to the homeowners a regular and routine thing.”

And, at the center of it all – our work, our mission, our vision – are communities like yours and community leaders like you. I congratulate and thank each of the 52 ROCs; job well done.

It wasn’t all celebration. We spent some time getting to know one another and we did the business at hand – laying out an approval process for the development of a home loan program and talking about how we’ll raise money to meet borrower demand in 2014 and 2015.

We also talked about the next Strategic Plan. It was this part of the agenda that was perfectly set up by the discussion to this point in the meeting because we had just experienced why having a diverse Board was really powerful. So, we talked about how we could involve ROC leaders and TA Providers as well as industry representatives in our planning process. To be clear, we want to hear from you! In the next quarter, we will be building that planning process with implementation steps planned for 2014. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, do the important work you’re doing. Progress is step by step, day by day. ROC on!