Organization serves nine counties in Minnesota

Photo by Tom Hintgen
Lakes Country Service Cooperative (LCSC) is located on the northeast side of Fergus Falls.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Fergus Falls-based Lakes Country Service Cooperative (LCSC) was created by state legislation in 1976 to provide services to pre-k through grade 12 education. Over the years LCSC has grown and expanded to provide programs to area cities, counties, other governmental agencies and non-profit organizations.

The LCSC Education Services Department provides professional development and support through workshops, networking, on-site technical assistance, grant sourcing and grant writing. Assistance goes to not only public schools but also to private schools, charter schools and higher education.

In 1995 the Minnesota State Legislature, recognizing the expanding role of service cooperatives, opened membership to cities, counties and other governmental agencies.  Since that time the Lakes Country Service Cooperative Board of Directors has welcomed membership from all nonprofit agencies with a 501(c)3 status.

“We are one of nine independent service cooperatives in Minnesota created by the Minnesota legislature to provide consultants, employees and services that could not be supported by any one member alone,” points out Mary Phillipe, communications spokesperson for LCSC.

“Today our services reach over 140 members in our original nine-county region, and hundreds more through our partnerships with other service cooperatives and state agencies.”

LCSC membership has expanded to include agencies such as Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, regional library systems and soil and water conservation districts.  Typically, these organizations are governed by joint powers agreements.

LCSC in Fergus Falls has several meeting rooms available for use.  Whether it’s a large professional development event, a board meeting, an off-site interview, or anything in between, rooms can accommodate requests for anything from a two-person meeting up to a 100-person event.

To inquire about booking any of these rooms, contact Paula Johnson at (218) 737-6502 or email her at

The LCSC Communicator is published several times yearly and contains regional news, views and member information. There are two editions of The LCSC Communicator. One is focused on education and the other for government/nonprofit.

Members can submit articles or news to the Communicator at any time. To submit information or articles, email to 

Lakes Country Service Cooperative (LCSC) offers a health insurance and wellness program for schools and government members. 

In addition, there are customized technology services, business and financial services such as payroll, customized health and safety services and professional development and training.

LCSC members have access to numerous products through a program called Express Marketplace.