Franklin Community Co-op’s Board of Directors is an elected group of (up to) 11 member/owners who serve the co-op for three-year terms. The board’s responsibility is to assure that the values, purpose and mission statements of the co-op, as described in the Ends Policies, are properly carried out and shall direct and control its business and affairs in the interests of its members. This group has the legal responsibility to ensure the well-being of the co-op.
The Board supervises the General Manager who is responsible for carrying out board policies and store operations.
Board members receive a 15% discount at our stores for their service to the co-op. The board meets at least once a month, generally on the second Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are open to co-op members.
Board meeting agendas are posted on the co-op stores’ bulletin boards one week prior to each scheduled meeting. The most recent approved board meeting minutes are posted in both stores and available in the Board binder at the Member/Customer Service Desk at Green Fields Market.
The co-op’s board of directors appreciates hearing from you! They are available to answer questions and provide information about co-op governance. You can leave questions or comments in the Feedback Box at either store or member-owners can sign up for the Member Forum.
Board members can also be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Co-op’s Board of Directors
George Touloumtzis, President ’19
I moved to the valley from Boston in 2002 (with my partner Laura) seeking a setting more in balance with nature. We chose Greenfield in particular for two reasons: the great cycling routes that radiate out in all directions, and the presence of Green Fields Market. Co-ops to me embody a crucial holistic paradigm of how to live well on this earth. Since my formative years I’ve had a strong interest in collectivism and social activism. Once I moved out here, a latent readiness within me and the progressive momentum in this town somehow coalesced to trigger more vigorous community involvement on my part, culminating in my current service on the FCC Board of Directors. Other passions include bicycling, advocacy for multi-modal transportation, and downtowns — that wondrous blend of civic and commercial activity in a public space. It therefore feels important to me that both our stores are located in downtowns and are accessible by multiple modes of travel.
Lynn Benander, Vice President ’18
Lynn Benander is a community entrepreneur. She has helped build community-owned businesses across the Northeast, bringing quality jobs, sustainable products and services, and valuable assets to local communities. She has worked with non-profits, governmental entities, community development corporations, planning commissions, businesses, institutions of higher learning, and cooperatives supporting grassroots community economic development focused on justice and sustainability.
Co-op Power is a multi-race, multi-class network of local energy cooperatives across Massachusetts and southern Vermont. As President and CEO of Co-op Power, Lynn provides support to the local economic development efforts of member community energy cooperatives, building sustainable and just energy options and strengthening the local energy economy in their communities.
Jeanne Douillard, Treasurer ’19
My husband, Armand Proulx and I moved to Greenfield, MA in 2005 and we joined FCC soon after arriving here. We owned our own health food store in North Carolina in the 1980’s and have had a lifelong interest in good food. Being part of a cooperative – a business owned by members – was something we supported wholeheartedly. We have a daughter, Rachelle Douillard-Proulx who has just completed a Global Masters degree program in International Relations. She studied in five different countries in Europe and Asia. I have had a rather eclectic career. I received a BA in biology and a certificate in Medical Technology in the 1970’s. I have been a teacher, medical technologist, lab manager, health food store owner, potter, and began a gallery in North Carolina which exists to this day. I was also manager of the nutrition department at Bread and Circus, a Financial Analyst with Babson Capital Management and director of the Visitor’s Center in Greenfield, MA. I currently work as a part-time potter and am involved in several writing projects. I became a published author in 2015. I am pleased to be involved with Franklin Community Coop at this important time in our history. We will soon be celebrating 40 years in business and are in the midst of many important projects.
Gary Seldon, Clerk ’19
I work as an independent carpenter/contractor. Of equal importance is that I’ve worked as an activist my entire life. I come by it honestly, it’s in my blood. My parents marched with Martin Luther King and worked in that era’s civil rights movement. I was born in 1954 and grew up in Wakefield (suburban Boston). As I came into adulthood cooperating with others in order to get the natural food we wanted just seemed like the way to go. I moved to Western Mass in ’76, joined the Amherst Food Coop, the Yellow Sun, and later in Noho, the Northampton Food Coop. Upon arrival in Greenfield in the early 80s, I joined our Franklin Community Coop. I’ve been a working member at each food co-op during the entire time of my memberships. I became a Co-op Power member soon after it’s inception. The advantages to engaging with our economy using a cooperative business model are as obvious and vital to me today as they were decades ago. We use a business model that we control, so we can get the quality food we want, so we can get a square deal for ourselves and for everyone involved. All along the way, this business model provides abundant opportunities to improve our society right here where we live by simply doing it better every time we can.
I find it easy and obvious to commit to our Co-op, to our mission and to our values.
Sonia Cruz ’20
Norm Hirschfeld ’20
In the early 70’s, I was active with a food buying club and was a member of the Cambridge Food Coop. In 2008, we moved to Greenfield when I retired as a machinist from General Electric in Lynn, Ma. My back ground has been in both community and union organizing. For over five years, I have been on our Coop Board, serving as co-chair of the General Manager Search Committee and as a member of the Policy and Bylaw Committee. I have been active in the community, previously serving on the Greenfield Town Council for five years. Presently, I am involved in a youth mentoring program “Boys to Men.” I am a gardener and active with the Greenfield Garden Club. I believe in transparency in our Coop, that we need to expand our membership, and spread the Cooperative values in our community.
Stephan Gordon ’20
My wife Lori and I moved to Greenfield 5 years ago. We had been traveling for 6 years prior, first by catamaran and then by RV. When we decided to settle down again we found we were enthused about the co-op here in Greenfield. The co-op’s ends statement, principles, and values resonated with our own personal philosophies. We chose Greenfield to settle down partly because of the co-op. I have been Chiropractor for 33 years and ran my own successful sole-proprietorship for 21 years. We retired in 2005 to travel. Now, being re-settled, I am again in practice helping folks achieve excellent health. I decided to run for an open board seat 4 years ago and I am excited to be serving our co-op and the greater co-op communities. I recommend that anyone who has the time available, please consider serving on the board.
As an aside, 7 years ago I experienced the joy of southern old time fiddle music and the fiddle captured me. Lori and I have been playing with the amazing music community here in the Pioneer Valley. We are so happy to be a part of this also.
Judy Draper, ’19
I am southern-born and bred—never expected to live in New England, yet here I am. Never expected to be on a bod, yet here I am. I learned about co-ops in Minneapolis in the 1970’s, and have been a member since then—food co-ops and a bike repair co-op. I was a member, never an employee or a board member—-until recently. I did a tour of duty in the Peace Corps in the early days, 1962-1964, in Bom Jesus da Lapa, Bahia, Brasil—-a life-changing experience. Returning to the US, I began working on civil rights issues in Memphis, TN where I experienced tear gas, a few hours in jail, and marching with Dr. King in the sanitation workers’ strike. I have 2 children—-the oldest of whom is 50—-unbelievable!! My partner has one son. So altogether, we have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. My partner and I have been together for 42 years, and married for 12. We raised our 3 children in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to becoming New Englanders, we lived for 18 years in rural northwest Arkansas, another life-altering experience. It was there I learned about building, using a tractor, growing food and “neighboring”. By profession I was a special education teacher for 30+years. In these retirement years, I do a lot of gardening, hospice work, some singing and clarinet playing—-oh yes, and BOARD work!
Andy Grant, ’19
Andy Grant, of Greenfield, works for Just Roots where he does community outreach and manages the public garden at the Greenfield Community Farm. Andy’s Quaker values are reflected in a concern for food justice. He is a father of two young adults, an avid photographer, and a nature lover. He shares his life with partner Mona Shiber and their sidekick Sparky.
Emma Morgan, ’20
Peter Garbus, ’18
My family and I moved to Greenfield in 2006. I am in my tenth year as the Principal of the Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield. My wife is a labor and delivery nurse at Franklin. Our 21 year old son is a studio art major in his senior year of college and our 17 year old daughter is a senior at Four Rivers. We’ve really loved becoming a part of this community.
During my career as an educator, I taught high school English and history for 12 years and have worked as a school leader for 16 years. I’ve started a charter school in Fitchburg and wrangled 9th graders trying to understand why we were reading Shakespeare. I have overseen meetings with families wondering why classes were cancelled for a week in October while we waited for an occupancy permit, and I have set up structures for communication that allow every member of an organization to bring forward questions and concerns so we can fix what we’re able to fix. I’ve served on boards or leadership teams in each of the schools I’ve worked, drawn by the big questions and driven to think about the big picture. From that experience, I’ve become knowledgeable and skilled working with policy and organizational management. I oversaw all financial management of the last two schools where I’ve worked, though I’m certainly not an expert. As a school leader, I’ve gained considerable experience with managing complex organizations, labor relations, personnel management, some marketing, and leadership. I do not have other co-op or food-related experience, except for the significant changes that have occurred in my own relationship with food that western MA has inspired. I like to find the right questions to ask, and am open to conflicting evidence. When I work with a group of people on a challenging task, sometimes I’m the one redefining the task at hand and moving us forward, and sometimes I slow things down to dig in a bit deeper. I like to focus on the big picture while finding practical solutions that have positive impact. I hope to bring this temperament to an organization I care about.
I believe in the idea that cooperative ownership strengthens an organization by distributing commitment; it makes each one of us accountable for its success. We all need to care about the viability of our co-op in addition to caring about its products, for example. I think Green Fields Market and McCusker’s are essential components of our communities and worth advancing. When my family and I moved to Greenfield 10 years ago, the co-op instantly became a center of our community. We hope that continues for many more.
Franklin’s board uses Policy Governance, a detailed and comprehensive method that structures and organizes their work. This type of governance uses policies to guide the General Manager (GM) to progress towards stated goals (Ends) of the co-op while staying within established boundaries. Through reports from the General Manager, external reports, and the board’s internal monitoring, policies and goals are evaluated and updated regularly. The policies and Ends Statement serve as a guide for the General Manager and establish guidelines for the board’s evaluation of the GM’s performance.
Using Policy Governance helps ensure that the board does not involve itself in any areas of co-op operations, while ensuring that the store runs optimally. Through the Ends Statement, the board establishes the vision and goals that co-op management is to pursue and achieve. The GM decides how to achieve these Ends and presents the board with documentation showing that she/he has achieved them. The board then reviews the presented information, determining if the Ends have been met.
Bylaws & Ends Policy
A Statement of Ends is a co-op’s most overarching goal. Franklin Community Co-op’s current Ends Policy was adopted in February 2009.
We are incorporated in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
You can view our Bylaws here.