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Leslie Mead

Retired Executive Director

Cooperative Development Foundation

Recently retired as executive director of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), Leslie Mead helped shape the modern co-op movement. A level-headed leader and strategic thinker, she focused on the advancement of cooperatives and the betterment of their members for 40 years. Mead broadened CDF's mission and expanded grant giving from $100,000 to $1.4 million in under 10 years.

Congratulatory Listings

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Leslie, your values-based decision-making, commitment to expanding the impact of cooperative philanthropy, and support for new initiatives in cooperative education and development has made an indelible and transformative impact on the Cooperative Development Foundation. Congratulations on your well-deserved induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame!

- From the CDF Board of Directors

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Congratulations on your induction to the Co-op Hall of Fame, Leslie! From farmer co-ops to home care co-ops and sectors in between, your contributions to the cooperative economy are enduring. The people of CoBank, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and our members commend you on your many accomplishments.

Women in Cooperatives Congratulate Leslie Mead

Starting in 1984, when she became part of the legal and tax policy team at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, to the day she retired in 2021 as Executive Director of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), Leslie Mead has supported, inspired, and invested in women in cooperatives. We salute her commitment and congratulate Leslie on her induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame!

Alison Powers

Anna Suarez

Anne Reynolds

Annie Hoy

Cassie Durand

Catharine Chamberlain

Cathy Statz

Courtney Berner

Diane Gasaway

E. Kim Coontz

Gail Graham

Jean Jantzen

Judy Ziewacz

Karen Zimbelman

Kate LaTour

Kirstie Boyette

Kristi Livingston

Lani Jordan

Linda Tank

Margaret Bau

Margaret Lund

Marilyn Scholl

Marlis Carson

Mary Byrne

Maura Schwartz

Megan Webster

Michelle L Schry

Rosemary Mahoney

Sheryl Meshke

Tammy Meyer

Valeria R. Roach

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The Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE), the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), and the International Centre for Co-operative Management (ICCM) at Saint Mary’s University are pleased to recognize Leslie Mead’s long career in the development and promotion of cooperative education at the local, regional, national, and international level. Cooperative educators across North America and beyond have benefitted from her work, and congratulate her on induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.


NCG congratulates Leslie Mead on her induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. Leslie, your commitment to cooperative education and training has strengthened the foundations of U.S. cooperatives. Your leadership of the Cooperative Development Foundation has helped food co-ops amplify our impact and aided our commitment to ‘cooperation among cooperatives’ and ‘concern for community’ while living out our values of self-help and self-responsibility.

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We are thrilled to celebrate Leslie Mead’s transformative policy, education and development contributions to both NCBA CLUSA and our partner, the Cooperative Development Foundation. Bridging both organizations, Leslie built strategic partnerships with new stakeholders that expanded the influence and impact of cooperatives, advancing our shared goals of creating resilient communities and a more inclusive economy. In appreciation and cooperation, the NCBA CLUSA team.

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Congratulations, Leslie, on this well-earned recognition and celebration of your accomplishments. Your support, persistence, and creative thinking have helped both CooperationWorks and the national cooperative movement grow and mature. Thank you for your tireless efforts to advance cooperative education!


Margaret Bau

Char Vrieze

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The NCFC (National Council of Farmer Cooperatives) and the Ralph K. Morris Foundation recognize Leslie’s early-career contributions to each of our organizations. Leslie’s work in director education during her time at NCFC in legal, tax, and accounting and her development of the Ralph K. Morris Foundation’s Cooperative Leadership Program both have had enduring effects in cooperatives of all kinds, a generation on. We are grateful for her foresight and tenacity and congratulate her on this outstanding achievement.

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Congratulations to a transformational leader in the cooperative movement. Your leadership spans cooperative sectors and you have fostered cooperative development around the world. Best wishes from your many friends at NRECA on your well-deserved induction to the Cooperative Hall of Fame.


Leslie, you are a personal hero of mine because of the way you welcomed me as a new co-op manager with lots of ideas. You were always willing to meet and talk about the possibilities. Thank you and congratulations!


From the start of The Cooperative Foundation in 1946, the trustees (including many Co-op Hall of Fame inductees) sought to expand and enhance cooperatives through research, teaching, extension, innovation, and development. Leslie Mead’s stewardship of TCF’s transition to becoming the Cooperative Education Fund of the Cooperative Development Foundation ensured the continuity of this mission for years to come. As past trustees of The Cooperative Foundation, we salute and honor her.


Congratulations, Leslie Mead for your induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame. You have played a pivotal role in advancing the cooperative model around the country and continue to be a beacon via your work in policy, education and philanthropy.


We are all better off because of your work and leadership.




Congratulations, Leslie Mead, on your induction into the Co-op Hall of Fame! Thank you for your commitment and contribution to the growth and success of our movement, from the Neighboring Food Co-op Association and our member co-ops, including:

Flatbush Food Co-op

Hanover Co-op Food Stores

Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op

Monadnock Food Co-op

River Valley Food Co-op

Upper Valley Food Co-op

Urban Greens Co-op Market

Willimantic Food Co-op

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Congratulations Leslie on your induction into the Co-op Hall of Fame! Everyone at the ICA Group thanks you for your years of leadership in growing the home care cooperative sector!


The Board Directors and 4,200 employees of TruStage (formerly CUNA Mutual Group) congratulate Leslie Mead on your induction into the 2023 Cooperative Hall of Fame. Your contributions to the policies, mission and vision of the Cooperative Development Foundation have been instrumental in the advancement of the Foundation in its quest of service to the cooperative community. The selfless sharing of your financial, legal and legislative expertise with cooperatives and their organizations have made for a more secure and vibrant system of cooperatives for which we are most appreciative.

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Friends of Leslie Mead

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Andrew Jacob

Brian Cavey

Cathy Statz

Dan Kelley

Dave Swanson

David J. Thompson

Dennis Bolling

Dennis Johnson

Doug O'Brien

Ed Yaker

Ellen Quinn

Erbin L. Crowell

Gap Kovach

Howard Brodsky

James Wadsworth

Jim Jones

Jim Krzyminski

Judy Ziewacz

Karen Miner

Karen Zimbelman

Kate LaTour

Katrina Kazda

Kevin Edberg

Kirstie Boyette

Margaret Lund

Marilyn Scholl

Martin Lowery

Mary Griffin

Mary Ann Rothman

Michael Cook

Michelle L. Schry

Rich Larochelle

Rod Kelsay

Rosemary Mahoney

Russ and Ellen Notar

Steve Dubb

Steven Krikava

Valeria R. Roach

Walden Swanson and Kate Sumberg

William J. Nelson

Ambitious Philanthropic Planner

As Executive Director of CDF, Leslie focused on measurably expanding the impact of cooperative philanthropy. To increase the potency of CDF's investments, Leslie oversaw the consolidation of multiple funds under the foundation's management. To attract the support of major new philanthropic resources, she demonstrated careful stewardship of CDF's resources, and introduced innovative new programs to support cooperative development. Her efforts produced impressive results. In under 10 years, grants given by CDF increased from $100,000 to $1.4 million annually.

Leslie Mead

Leslie Mead Intro
Leslie Mead - CDF Impact
Leslie Mead - Family
Leslie Mead - Early Career at NCFC
Leslie Mead - Consultant
Leslie Mead - Cooperative Foundation
Leslie Mead - CDF Legacy
Leslie Mead - Retirement

Honoring and Planning Committee

Anne Reynolds

Cathy Statz

Deb Trocha

Karen Zimbelman

Margaret Lund

Marlis Carson

Rosemary Mahoney

William J. Nelson

Nominated by:

The Ralph K. Morris Foundation and

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

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