Did you know that 2012 is being recognized as the Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations? The year-long celebration recognizes that coops play an important part in the global economy, and creating change in all sectors.

Your membership in The Alliance makes you a part of this international movement which puts the member at the center of the organization as owner.

Throughout history cooperatives have existed to bring parties with similar interests together to pool their efforts and their resources in a way that they could not do on their own. Rather than rewarding outside investors, cooperatives share their proceeds with their members.

When The Alliance was formed in 1990, our seven original members chose the cooperative structure to allow participating employers to share both the responsibility and the benefits of membership. As a cooperative, seven principles of cooperation guide The Alliance’s operations:

Voluntary and Open Membership – Membership is the lifeblood of cooperatives. We’re proud to call more than 180 organizations members, many of whom have been with us for more than 10 years.

Democratic Member Control – Members set the direction of cooperatives. The Alliance Board is made up of employers who are elected by the membership. The Board sets the strategic direction for The Alliance. We’re always on the lookout for prospective board members, so if you have an interest in future board service, please let me know.

Member Economic Participation – Cooperative members contribute equitably to and democratically control the capital of the cooperative. For The Alliance, access fees, retainage and capital stock make up our revenue stream and ensure that everyone pays their fair share and that member contributions are proportional to benefits received. Last month, Equity members received a patronage check which is their share of the net proceeds of the cooperative.

Education, Training and Information – Cooperatives have a long tradition of providing education and training to members. For Alliance members, Alliance Learning Circles provide educational opportunities to learn from knowledgeable speakers as well as from other cooperative members.

Autonomy and Independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, democratically controlled self-help organizations. The structure and governance of The Alliance protects our autonomy and our business model ensures our independence.

Collaboration – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

The Alliance works with state and national organizations to serve our members and further our mission, including entities such as the National Business Coalition on Health, the National Quality Forum, Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Wisconsin Health Information Organization, Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, and the HIPAA Collaborative of Wisconsin.

Concern for Community – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members. The Alliance leverages the role of its members as purchasers of health care in the same market to make a positive impact in the health care system overall. Shining a spotlight on cost and quality differences to drive improvement is one such example.

See Your Cooperative in Action
Attend an Alliance Learning Circle event. 

Want More Content Like This?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our monthly round-up of the latest health policy trends, self-funding events, and more — all delivered directly to your inbox.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Cheryl DeMars

Cheryl DeMars

President & CEO, The Alliance

Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative. 
Cheryl participates in a number of national and regional initiatives that align with The Alliance’s mission of controlling costs, improving quality and engaging individuals in their health. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the board of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality. 
Prior to joining The Alliance, Cheryl was a program manager at Meriter Hospital in Madison. She earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Read more blog posts by Cheryl