You deserve a co-op! And dinner.

What would it would be like if your workplace operated democratically? What if every worker was also an owner? Well, we can tell you all about it — it’s called a worker co-op. You deserve to work in one.

MCDC has the expertise to walk you through the process of starting one (or converting an existing business into one), and we also have grants to help you access even more expertise. Come listen to our presentation over your lunch hour. We’ll provide the food!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

Goodman South Madison Library, Madison Public Library, 2222 S Park St Ste 100, Madison, Wisconsin 53713

For more information, write steve@social.coop.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Upcoming MCDC presentations

First, please spread the word that our most RFP for community-based organizations has been released. There is up to $30,000 available per organization in this competitive process. Read more here.

Now, on to our main announcement: our next Co-ops 101 presentation is in less than two weeks. And while we’re at it, here are the dates for all our presentations through June! We will continue to tell people why they might want to work in a business they own and operate, but we’re now increasing the number of sessions in Spanish and adding our third language, Hmong. Also, we’ll have two panel discussions on financing, and one specialized presentation on co-ops in manufacturing and engineering. Please forward this schedule to friends who might be interested! Thanks!

Worker Cooperatives 101
Goodman South Public Library

Worker Cooperatives 101
Hawthorne Public Library

Financing Your Worker Cooperative
6:00 pm-7:30
Central Public Library, Room 301

Worker Cooperatives 101
Goodman South Public Library

Introducción a las cooprerativas de trabajo (Co-ops 101 in Spanish)

Co-ops 101 for Manufacturing and Engineering
Isthmus Engineering

Worker Cooperatives 101
Hawthorne Public Library

Worker Cooperatives 101 in Hmong

Financing Your Worker Cooperative
Central Public Library, Room 302

Introducción a las cooperativas de trabajo (Co-ops 101 in Spanish)
Meadowridge Public Library


The latest RFP for community-based organizations is out!

If you belong to a local non-profit or other community-based organization that wants to integrate worker-cooperative development into its work, you will want to download MCDC’s latest RFP. This is a competitive process for grants up to $30,000.

It is not necessary for your organization to have done co-op development in the past — our purpose is help get you started.

We are accepting proposals starting immediately, until February 17th. Proposals received on time will be considered by a panel of experts, and we will do everything we can to announce the results within six weeks.

For further details, download the PDF: http://www.mcdcmadison.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-CBO-Application.pdf.

We look forward to reading your proposal!


¡Se posterga le presentación de mañana!

Debido a unas complicaciones, se nos obligó postergar la presentación de mañana, “Una introducción a las cooperativas”. Les avisaremos de la nueva fecha lo antes posible. Disculpen la molestia.

Due to certain complications, we have found it necessary to postpone tomorrow’s presentation, “Co-ops 101 in Spanish.” We will publicize the new date as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Una introducción a las cooperativas de trabajo

English follows.

Una cosa que probamos con éxito el año pasado fue hacer nuestras presentaciones sobre las cooperativas de trabajo en español. En este año lo vamos a hacer varias veces. La primera será el 25 de enero.

Hay muchas razones para formar una cooperativa de trabajo, o convertir una empresa existente en una cooperativa de trabajo. Los trabajadores-dueños suelen ser pagados más que los empleados tradicionales en el mismo sector, quedarse en sus trabajos por más tiempo, y tener mejores condiciones laborales. Hay otros beneficios que son menos tangibles, también, tales como el empoderamiento que viene de la participación en un sitio de trabajo democrático.

Si éstas le parecen buenas razones, venga a aprender más.

Una introducción a las cooperativas de trabajo

Donde: Centro Hispano

Cuando: sábado, el 25 de enero a las 9:00 AM

Y también: habrá café y un refrigerio

One thing we tested out successfully last year was doing our Co-ops 101 presentations in Spanish. This year, we will be repeating that several times. The first time will be January 25th.

There are many reasons to start a worker co-op, or convert an existing business into a worker co-op. Worker-owners tend to be paid better than traditional employees, stay in their jobs longer, and have better working conditions. There are also other benefits that are less tangible, such as the empowerment that comes from participating in a democratic workplace.

If these reasons sound good to you, come learn more.

Co-ops 101 (in Spanish)

Where: Centro Hispano

When: Saturday, January 25th, at 9:00

Also: there will be coffee and snacks


Wrapping up 2019, looking ahead to 2020

The members of Soaring Independent Cooperative.

This has been a productive year for MCDC! Let’s take a brief look back at the work we did in 2019.

We held monthly “Co-ops 101” sessions at two public libraries, including one in Spanish. People traveled from as far as Stevens Point and Milwaukee to attend. Next year, we will expand this portion of our program to include more locations, advanced topics, a session in Hmong, and at least one sector-specific presentation for engineering and manufacturing — all in the first six months of the year! Please help us spread the word!

We hosted several other presentations and events, as well. Some were co-hosted with MadWorC, such as Mike Krause’s talk in April. MCDC staff attended conferences in Montreal and Baltimore. We were on WORT four times. We maintained a social media presence. And we gave grants to community-based organizations, including Worker Justice Wisconsin, Northside Planning Council, and MadWorC. 

But the most important thing we did was collaborate directly with co-ops in development. Four new co-ops have incorporated so far, two conversions are close to happening, and a dozen more groups are somewhere in their process of becoming a co-op. Our most high-profile success story is Soaring Independent Co-op, which has made many media appearances and traveled across the country to take part in multiple conferences.

Our plans for 2020 are to do more of the same, a little bit bigger and a little bit better. We hope you’ll continue to follow our progress, or better still, get involved! Our community of new co-ops is growing steadily — will yours be the next to join?

From all of us here at MCDC, happy holidays, and we look forward to seeing you in the next decade!


Start a cooperative business with MCDC!


If you have an idea for a business you’d like to start, or you want to turn an existing business into a cooperative, you’re in good company! MCDC has already started four worker co-ops, with many more in the works.

When you’re ready to put your idea into action, we’re here to help! The first step is to attend one of our monthly “Co-ops 101” presentations. The next one is coming right up:

When: Monday, Nov. 18th, 6-8 pm

Where: Goodman South Madison Library, 2222 South Park Street

Also: a light dinner will be provided!

Presented by a partnership of the UW Center for Cooperatives, Madison Cooperative Development Coalition and the Madison Public Library, with funding from the Madison Public Library Foundation.

If you have questions or comments, please write us at steve@social.coop.

PS: We’ve already held our first Co-ops 101 in Spanish! In 2020, we plan to give presentations in Spanish and Hmong on a regular basis. Help us spread the word! Co-ops are for everyone!


Cómo formar una cooperativa con MCDC

English follows below.

La Coalición de Desarrollo de Cooperativas de Madison (MCDC por sus siglas en inglés) es una iniciativa del gobierno municipal de Madison para crear cooperativas de trabajo que hagan frente a la desigualdad de ingresos y las disparidades raciales mediante la creación de trabajos sindicalizados y con salarios dignos. Somos un colectivo de organizaciones basadas en la comunidad y desarrolladores de cooperativas. MCDC trabaja para apoyar el crecimiento y la creación de cooperativas de trabajo, específicamente abordando los factores que afectan a comunidades de color locales, personas de escasos recursos y trabajadores tradicionalmente excluidos. La meta es crear un sistema sostenible que combata la pobreza, empodere a los trabajadores y aumente la equidad para fortalecer la salud económica de Madison a largo plazo.

Hay muchas maneras en las que usted o su organización pueden ser parte de esta iniciativa innovadora! Proveemos apoyo y recursos — incluyendo subvenciones — a gente que quiere formar una cooperativa y organizaciones que queren integrar la formación y desarrollo de cooperativas en sus programas.

Para aprender más, ¡contáctenos hoy!


The preceding text and flier in Spanish is an announcement that we will be doing our first public event in Spanish. We will, of course, continue to do public events in English, so we’ve included a flier for the next one, as well. We are making plans to hold events in still more languages in 2020!

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 union jobs. We are a collaborative of community-based organizations and cooperative developers. MCDC works to specifically address 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.

There are many ways you or your organization can be a part of this groundbreaking initiative! We provide support and resources — including grants — to people that want to start a co-op and organizations that want to work co-op development and education into their programming.

To learn more, contact us!


Who wants to help start a brewing co-op?

Mead, cloudy and clear. Not actually Derek’s. Source. CC-BY-SA 2.0.

We are pleased to announce that we have a brewer who is interested in forming a co-op. His name is Derek, and he lives on a farm south of Madison (the co-op will be based in Madison). He is currently experimenting with mead, fruit wines, and malting and brewing beer (once he can grow all the ingredients on his own land).

The co-op will focus on fermentation of local ingredients — a bonus if the product comes from co-op member farms. The co-op would facilitate fermenting, aging, storing, and distributing the beverages, helping small-scale producers bring their unique products from farms to consumers. People who have experience with brewing, and would like to collaborate with Derek, should contact MCDC to arrange a meet-up. Folks with experience in other aspects of running a brewing businesses, such as logistics or marketing, are welcome as well. The plan is to start small, and focus on developing the craft. It will be local production for local consumption. If that matches your style, write to steve@social.coop to start a conversation.


MCDC and MadWorC will participate in a panel on economic democracy

Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa Street, Madison, WI 53704

October 11, 2019, 6:00-8:30 pm,

“You can’t have meaningful political democracy without functioning economic democracy.” – Noam Chomsky

Sponsored by: Alliance for Economic Democracy, Economic Democracy Advocates Foundation, Lift Economy, Northside Planning Council, Prout USA