About MCDC

The Madison Cooperative Development Coalition (MCDC) is the City of Madison’s initiative to form worker cooperatives that address income inequality and racial disparities by creating living-wage and sustainable jobs. We are a collaborative of community-based organizations, business resource specialists, and cooperative developers. MCDC works to support the growth and creation of worker cooperatives, specifically addressing the factors affecting local communities of color, low-wealth, and traditionally excluded workforces. The goal is to create a sustainable system that will combat poverty, empower workers and increase equity in order to strengthen Madison’s long-term economic health.

More information about MCDC and its history:


Charity Schmidt

Charity is a cooperative development specialist at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, providing technical assistance to start-up cooperatives and conversions and facilitating outreach efforts to cooperators and community-based organizations. She has published work ranging in topics from diversity in and access to service learning, sociology in action beyond the university, and the crisis facing bee colonies.

She has masters degrees in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies, and Sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught classes on social theory, sociology of race and ethnicity, and American contemporary society at Madison College and UW-Madison. She formerly worked as an Organizer with the South Central Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and currently serves on the Board of Worker Justice Wisconsin.

Contact: charity.schmidt@wisc.edu

Steve Herrick

Steve is the Organizational Development Specialist for the Madison Cooperative Development Coalition (MCDC). He is the founder and president of the Interpreters’ Cooperative of Madison, and spearheaded the creation of the Common Good Bookkeeping Cooperative. He sits on the boards of Madison Worker Cooperatives (better known as MadWorC) and the German School of Madison. He has a Masters in the Science of Information from the University of Michigan. He has worked for several non-profits in Madison, and prior to moving here, spent five years living and working in Nicaragua.

Contact: steve@social.coop

Executive Board

Courtney Berner

Courtney joined the University Of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives in 2011 and served as a cooperative development specialist until assuming the role of executive director in January 2018. As the executive director, she develops courses, conferences, and other educational programs and works closely with the Center’s faculty director on the Center’s strategic direction. Courtney teaches a course on cooperatives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that focuses on the role and management of cooperatives, cooperative groups, and collective action.

Courtney has provided support to new and established cooperatives of all types and in a range of industries including agriculture, grocery, manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and forestry. Her areas of expertise include business development, cooperative finance and governance, and innovative uses of the cooperative model. Courtney writes and speaks frequently on the cooperative business model and recently co-authored Coordinating Farm Labor Across Farms: A Toolbox for Diversified Farmers and Farmworkers with Farm Commons.

Prior to joining the Center, Courtney worked at the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns. Courtney holds an M.S. in agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and bachelor’s degrees in biology, French, and environmental studies from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Courtney served on the Willy Street Grocery Co-op Board from 2013-2016 and currently serves on the Wisconsin Economic Development Association’s Board.

Contact info: (608) 890-0966 or cberner@wisc.edu

Ruth Rohlich

Ruth is a Business Development Specialist for the City of Madison, and works with businesses from around the world that are interested in moving to Madison and with businesses in Madison looking to grow or expand. She writes and manages many of the City’s small business support programs including the Retail Improvement Grant Program, Healthy Retail Access Program, Entrepreneur and Small Business Development Resource Fund and the Worker Cooperative Enterprise Program.

Ruth has experience in both the public and private sectors, and as an entrepreneur. She worked for two international pharmaceutical companies. She served as the Program Director for Southwest Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) where she helped entrepreneurs get started and funded.

Before that, Ruth owned a floral and gift shop on Madison’s eastside helping over 100 couples with their wedding days.

Ruth enjoys hiking, traveling and reading. She serves on the YWCA-Madison Board and the City of Madison’s Latino Affairs Committee.

Contact: rrohlich@cityofmadison.com