Father Albert J. McKnight organized and led a peaceful economic revolution among low-income families in the rural South by teaching them how to help themselves by working together in cooperatives. He established a widespread system of credit unions and other cooperatives that continues to enrich the lives of thousands of poor families. With ingenuity and persistence, McKnight developed sources of financial and technical assistance for cooperatives such as the Southern Cooperative Development Program and the Southern Cooperative Development Fund.
Recognizing the national significance of Father McKnight's cooperative leadership, in 1979 President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the first board of directors of the National Cooperative Bank. He was subsequently re-elected to that board and served as vice chairman.