Announcing Board Elections

Co-ops are democratically run organizations and one of the primary ways Chicago Market honors that is with Board elections each year. We're proud to announce the details and process.

Serving on the Chicago Market Board is a meaningful, fun and collaborative experience that will help build Chicago's next co-op grocery store!

The Board of Directors is elected by Chicago Market’s 1,200+ Owners to represent the best interests of the Owners and to govern the organization. The Board is comprised of dedicated individuals who bring a diverse skillset and background to Chicago Market.

Chicago Market is at a critical juncture. With Owner growth, funding and store design in process, the dream of this store will become a reality in the near future. Therefore, serving on the Board is a major commitment that requires time, focus and consistent engagement. The Board is currently a working board meaning that directors contribute to moving forward Chicago Market’s work in a productive manner through meetings, hands-on project management and review, and constant contact. This work is mostly structured through committees, Owner engagement events, and digital communication through Basecamp, our online collaboration tool.

Individuals serving as directors are expected to:

- Commit to attending monthly board meetings. Currently the Board meets bi-monthly with a total of 24 meetings/year.

- Commit to contributing on a committee level.

- Allocate at least ten hours/week to Chicago Market-related meetings, projects and communication.

- Feel comfortable with digital communication or be willing to learn new digital tools.

- Support volunteers in their efforts to organize Owner engagement events, tabling opportunities, house parties, and other events that require people-power.

- Comply with the Board Agreement (below).

We know this sounds like a big commitment, but the truth is – there’s a lot of important work to do!

Part of our board culture is holding one another accountable to the work load and progress being made. Directors who cannot meet the time commitment or meeting requirement will be encouraged to meet with the Organizational Development committee or an elected officer of the Board in order to keep an open, accountable dialogue.

If you are interested in exploring running for the Board, or running for the board, please contact Sara Dinges by July 20, 2018. Elections will be held around the August Annual Meeting. Prior to running for the Board, we will connect you with a current or former Director who can answer your questions and share the experience and culture of the Chicago Market Board.

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Board of Directors Agreement

Agreement with Chicago Market Vision and Mission

I understand that, as a member of the Board of Directors of Chicago Cooperative d/b/a Chicago Market: A Community Co-op (“Chicago Market” or the “Organization”), I am an agent of the organization, and, as such, have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to apply my business judgment and act with due care, in good faith and in accordance with the best interests of Chicago Market. I believe in the Vision, Mission and Objectives of Chicago Market, and I will act responsibly and prudently as its steward.

A better food community -- local, sustainable, connected.

We are building a better food community. Powered by our Owners, we create and strengthen local food connections that are honest, accessible, educational and inspiring. We are a cooperative grocery store -- but more than that, we're a gathering place and vibrant community resource.

We value: Relationships, Ownership, Sustainability, Accountability and Joy.

Relationships. Relationships are the core of our food community. We cultivate partnerships and community among our Owners, shoppers, vendors, local businesses and organizations, chefs, restaurants, our city and our neighborhood. Further, we regard our farmers, manufacturers, producers and employees and valued members of our community.

Ownership. Democratically led by our Owners, Chicago Market's success depends on the participation of each member of our community through Board and committee work, volunteer engagement, participating in the annual Owners meeting and electing our Board. Founded on and operating by the core cooperative values and principles, we provide our community voice to build a democratic and equitable food community that has the power to change the local food landscape.

Sustainability. We support and promote sustainable agriculture: careful resource use and environmental and economic sustainability. We incorporate these principles in everything we do, including our Purchasing Values, store design and operations. We want to make buying decisions that are both sustainable for the co-op but also for the suppliers and employees with whom we work.

Accountability. Chicago Market is accountable to our Owners, employees, vendors, community and environment. We commit to fair labor standards, honest and financially responsible business practices, transparent communication and continual improvement based on our community's feedback. We provide transparent information about who produced your food and how it was produced, so you can decide what you feed yourself and your family.

Joy. We share a passion for connecting with others over food that makes us feel great. Our facilities, events and programs inspire and educate; they celebrate and incubate local food producers and new ideas. Chicago Market is a joyous place to shop and work, and gather in community.


1. I will be an ambassador for the Organization’s work and values to the community, and I will represent the Organization and act as a spokesperson. When interacting with the public, the press or other third parties, I will not speak for Chicago Market without authorization, except to follow agreed-upon talking points or to repeat agreed-upon Board decisions, each subject to confidentiality considerations.

2. I will be an ambassador for our constituencies’ needs and values to the Organization, and I will speak out for their interests, and on their behalf, hold the Organization accountable.

3. I will assist with outreach, owner support, communications and goodwill by acting as an ambassador for Chicago Market’s vision, mission and store operations.


4. I will abide by Chicago Market’s Bylaws, which are incorporated herein by reference.

5. I will hold myself and other Directors accountable for the success of Chicago Market.

6. I will disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the Board, whenever they may occur, and will excuse myself from discussions and votes where I have a conflict of interest.

7. I will not act in any way that may serve my own interests rather than the interests of the Organization. I understand that my service as a Board Member is without compensation, and I will not seek to be compensated for my time. I will respect the legitimacy and authority of the Board’s decision on any matter, irrespective of my personal position on the issue in question.

Board Meeting Attendance and Preparation

8. I will make every effort to prepare for, attend and participate actively in all Board and committee meetings. If I cannot attend, I will communicate my absence to the Board President in advance, review the meeting minutes and participate in any follow-up discussions.

9. I will attend other key Chicago Market functions. Board members should attend Chicago Market’s annual meeting/Board elections and should make best efforts to attend other periodic meetings or events called by Chicago Market throughout the year.

Committee Meeting Attendance and Participation

10. I will actively participate (attend committee meetings and contribute to committee activities) in at least one of Chicago Market’s ongoing committees. These committees include (but are not limited to): Site & Architecture, Finance (operations), Funding, MORE (marketing and outreach), GM Hiring, Owner Loan Campaign, Zero Waste, Legal, Organizational Development, IT & Data Management.

Ongoing Participation

11. I will devote at least two hours/month of volunteer time to help run Chicago Market’s fundraising and promotional activities, which may include, but are not limited to, Owner Info Sessions, Owner Engagement Parties, Store Events.

12. I will participate actively in online Basecamp discussions between meetings. I will check online discussions at least once every 48 hours and respond, if requested, with any required input.


13. I will respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature and continue to honor that confidentiality after leaving the Board.

14. I will not disclose any discussions or decisions that happen while the Board is in Executive Session, until and unless the Board decides that those discussions or decisions should be shared with the public.

15. I will not, at any time, make any public statements to disparage, defame or compromise the goodwill, brand or reputation of Chicago Market.

16. I may, from time to time, come into possession of property, physical or intellectual, that belongs to Chicago Market. When my term as a Board Member is over, I will return all of that property to Chicago Market, subject to my ongoing participation as a volunteer with the organization that may require me to retain some or all of that property.


17. I agree to stay accountable to the requirements articulated in this agreement.

18. If I am having difficulty meeting such requirements, I will contact the Board President or a member of the Organizational Development Committee to assess if I can maintain my commitment to the Board.

19. In addition, I acknowledge that the Board President or a member of the Organizational Development Committee may contact me if it appears that I am not meeting my commitment to the Board. Individuals who are consistently not meeting the expected level of commitment to the Board may be asked to step down.



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