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alternatives120The Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business is presented annually to an Alternatives Federal Credit Union member business that has distinguished itself through business practices that demonstrate the owner's commitment to social responsibility. Past award winners and nominees have included member businesses dedicated to paying their employees a living wage, trading in responsibly produced goods, being good stewards of the environment, fighting for social justice, or otherwise using their enterprises as both an example of and a platform for promoting social responsibility in business.

The Finger Lakes ReUse Center was awarded this year at Alternatives' annual meeting, with Executive Director Diane Cohen accepting the award. Cohen expressed her thanks: "We will hang the award prominently and proudly in our Reuse Center, and as we grow, we will continue to use this as a beacon, to continue our efforts to maximize our capacity to provide opportunities and relieve hardship. We know we are in solidarity with Alternatives on these issues. We're a young organization with a mission to enhance community, economy, and environment through reuse, and a priority to serve our community well. Receiving this award has been an honor and an affirmation.”

reuse_dianecohenDiane Cohen

Nominated by Patricia Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Politics at Ithaca College, she says, "Throughout the years it has been in operation, I have seen the social engagement aspect of the organization flourish and become an intricate part of their business operations. To offer just one example: the Center makes used computers and computer literacy available for youth and communities in need, who have never before had a chance to own a personal computer or know how to operate it. For the director, the social responsibility aspect of the ReUse Center is one of the key components; Ms. Cohen deeply desires and works for change, on a one-on-one and at a group level. The fact that the work of the organization centers around the reuse of materials that don't end up in our streams adds credence to the huge potential for community impact.”

Jeff Furman is the Chair of Ben & Jerry's Corporate Board and has been on the Board and involved with the ice cream company since it was founded. He is also a trustee of their Foundation, a Board member of the Oakland Institute and the EDGE Fund that works globally. In Ithaca he was on Alternatives' board, co-founded the Community Dispute Resolution Center, began the project that eventually became Alternatives' Business CENTS, and is President of Social Ventures.

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