Jack and Connie McLanahan demonstrate a personal commitment to the cooperative way of life. They worked as a team to build and merge cooperative structures into a cooperative society. Jack, as educator, organizer, communicator and manager, made significant contributions to the advancement of cooperatives. In his work with Midland Cooperatives he organized a network of study clubs across Minnesota and Wisconsin. As education director of the Cooperative League of the USA he strengthened regional cooperative education departments nationwide. At the Michigan Credit Union League, Jack developed departments of communication, education, training and research, a Code of Ethics for Credit Unions, and a credit union foundation, all of which served as models for CUNA and other Leagues. In 1937, in recognition of Jack's contributions to cooperative education, President Truman appointed him to represent the U.S. cooperative/credit union movement on the national commission for UNESCO. In 1951 he was joined by Connie Ablett. Ever since then they have focused their considerable energies and skills promoting cooperatives and credit unions in Appalachia. Working through the Human Economic Appalachian Development (HEAD) Corporation, they helped organize and build the Central Appalachian Peoples Federal Credit Union and the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises. They were also co-founders of the Cooperative Alumni Association.
Their mark of excellence, perseverance and scholarship has been further demonstrated in the co-editing and publishing in 1990 of the Cooperative/Credit Union Dictionary and Reference, which has been hailed as an encyclopedia of the many-faceted cooperative world.