Are you in a community-based organization?

If your organization is working to address racial and economic disparities in Madison, we want to talk with you about developing worker co-ops. Businesses that are worker-owned and operated are a powerful way to address poverty, for several reasons.

First, worker co-ops pay above-median salaries in any given sector, because the workers decide their own pay. Second, worker co-op jobs are stable. The owners aren’t going to leave the community in search of a cheaper labor force, because the owners are the labor force. Third, worker co-ops are transparent, and do not commit wage theft or otherwise cheat the workers. Fourth, worker co-ops are quite flexible about scheduling, but not at all flexible about having very high standards for health and safety.

Note that co-ops can be created from scratch, or an existing business can convert to a co-op through a buyout. Please contact us to discuss any of this in greater detail. Then consider integrating co-op education and development into your existing programming. You do not need any prior experience. We can help in any or all of the following ways…

  • We provide mini-grants up to $30,000 to build your organization’s capacity to do co-op education and development. Apply here. As we receive questions about the CBO grant application, we’re tracking the answers we give here in case they are helpful to others. If you have more questions, please contact Charity Schmidt.
  • We can train your staff to assist co-op start-ups.
  • We can help you do community organizing and outreach to identify potential new co-ops or convert existing businesses to co-ops.
  • We will provide targeted workshops for your community, or support workshops you already do.

And if you’re not sure what kinds of businesses could be run as a co-op, check out our ideas page.