Support people by supporting cooperatives

Staff of Centro Hispano presenting on their role in incubating Raices Para el Cambio, or Roots for Change Cooperative.

If your non-profit is working to address racial and economic disparities in Madison, we want to talk with you about developing worker cooperatives. Businesses that are worker-owned and operated are a powerful tool to address poverty and serve the needs of your constituency, for a number of reasons.

Worker co-ops pay above-median salaries in any given sector, because the workers decide their own pay democratically. Worker co-op jobs are also stable. The owners aren’t going to leave the community in search of a cheaper labor force, because the owners are the labor force. Next, worker co-ops are transparent and do not commit wage theft or otherwise cheat or abuse the workers. Worker co-ops can have flexible scheduling policies but strict health and safety standards. And finally, worker co-ops behave responsibly towards the larger community, because they are grounded in the community.

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 can train and support 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 present.
  • You can sign up for our newsletter to get updates about our educational events, which you can attend or suggest to potential worker-owners in your community.

And if you’re not sure what kinds of businesses could be run as a co-op, check out the co-ops that have already launched and our ideas page. For even more possibilities, see