About ACI

We are 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating a more cooperative future in Arizona.

The mission of the Arizona Cooperative Initiative (ACI) is building a statewide inclusive, cooperative community in Arizona. We are an umbrella group that connects and supports organizations and people who are interested in various types of cooperatives by providing access to information, resources, and services that educate about  cooperatives and help in their development and operation. We are laying an important foundation for creating a strong cooperative economy in the state. We can achieve much with the support and commitment of the many existing groups involved in cooperatives. We seek economically sound, socially just, and environmentally friendly alternatives to business as usual.

We are a voluntary group and welcome all people regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or culture. Please join us!

We focus on Education, Developmental Support, Startup Assistance and Collaboration.

Meet the Board of Directors

Richard Starling – Richard has been working with startup nonprofit groups for over forty years. He has recently expanded his work to include startup cooperatives including Sun Produce Cooperative, a vegan meal service, a composting business, group of herbalists and more. He has been involved in the Community Land Trust movement since beginning his nonprofit work , helping to save farmland and build affordable housing. Using the cooperative and community land trust models, much more can be done to build a regenerative society that makes a difference in the life of the planet and our human impact upon it!

John Penry – John has consulted professionally with electric cooperatives since 2009. He has worked with producer cooperatives (Sun Produce Cooperative in Phoenix as well as several other groups seeking to form producer cooperatives across rural and urban Arizona), kitchen cooperatives, insurance cooperatives and worker-owner cooperatives. His three primary areas of expertise are cooperative finance, strategic planning and governance. For finance, John has lead workshops on equity management, created multi-year financial plans and consulted on capital budgeting projects. For strategic planning, he has conducted numerous strategic planning sessions and taught strategic planning to boards of directors. For governance, he has consulted on how to write by-laws and board policies. He’s also discussed how to manage board meetings that are both effective and inclusive.

Jowharah Hall– Passionate about creating a workspace where all are empowered to deliver exceptional solutions to life’s problems.


Additional Board Members:
Christine Leavitt
Maddie Mercer
Anthony Aragon
Kalila Aragon