Cooperatives (Co-ops)

Williamson Street Grocery Co-op (“Willy Street Co-op”)

Willy Street Co-op is a full-service cooperative grocery store specializing in local, organic, natural, sustainable, humane, and fairly-traded products.  Established in 1974, the co-op now has two locations and over 31,000 member owners.  To help support the community, it launched a Community Reinvestment Fund—seeded by inactive owners’ equity shares—which, since 1992, has distributed $342,000 to local nonprofits and other cooperatives. Read more about Williamson Street Grocery Co-op (“Willy Street Co-op”)...

Madison Community Cooperative (MCC)

Madison Community Cooperative (MCC) is a federation of 11 Madison-based, low-cost housing cooperatives with around 200 members.  Formed in 1968 to boost the capacity of area housing co-ops, today MCC provides it members with a broad range of operational services, including strategic planning, budgeting, remodeling, and community outreach.  Committed to the broader community, MCC has a Community Services Trust Fund that pools member contributions and provides small grants to grassroots community organizations on an annual basis. Read more about Madison Community Cooperative (MCC)...

UW Credit Union

Founded in 1931, UW Credit Union now has more than 210,000 members and assets totaling $2.1 billion.  Committed to education, the credit union offers free financial education seminars to the general public and has created a $1.5 million fund through which it offers needs-based scholarships to dozens of Wisconsin students each year.  Also focused on environmental sustainability, UW Credit Union purchases 100 percent of its branches’ electricity from renewable resources, follows LEED certification guidelines for all new construction and remodeling projects, and has taken numerous steps to re Read more about UW Credit Union...

Heartland Credit Union

Based in Madison, Heartland Credit Union is a full-service, financial cooperative aiming to provide its members with quality, cost-effective financial services that contribute to their social and economic well-being.  With roots back to 1936, the credit union now serves 17,500 members in Southwestern Wisconsin and Eastern Iowa. Read more about Heartland Credit Union...

Dane County Credit Union (DCCU)

Dane County Credit Union (DCCU) is one of Madison’s largest locally-owned financial institutions, with nearly $140 million in assets and 15,236 members.  With a commitment to youth financial education, the credit union offers savings accounts designed for children and teens and provides a free financial education curriculum to area teachers.  The credit union also has a partnership with the nonprofit, GreenPath, Inc., through which it provides all DCCU members with free access to credit counseling, money management, and financial education services. Read more about Dane County Credit Union (DCCU)...

We Own It: A Guide to Worker Co-ops in NYC

Ingrid Haftel and Sandy Xu
The Center for Urban Pedagogy

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) teamed up with Sunset Park-based Center for Family Life, designer Amanda Buck, and illustrator Melissa Crowton to create We Own It, a fold-out poster that breaks down how worker co-ops work. Visuals and text in Spanish and English compare worker co-ops to typical businesses, explain the steps that go into starting or joining one, and show what a day on the job looks like for a worker-owner. 

Want to Hire a Worker-Owned Co-op? There’s an App for That

Michelle Stearn
Yes! Magazine

Originally published on, this article by The Democracy Collaborative's Michelle Stearn highlights the work of Si Se Puede!, the Robin Hood Foundation, and a Cornell Tech graduate student program, all of whom converged as a team to develop an app for worker cooperative bookings:

Rochester Mayor: Investing in Co-ops Builds “Stairway Out of Poverty”

Oscar Perry Abello
Next City

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announces an amazing city initiative to build community wealth. We've been working with the Rochester municipal government to develop a plan to uplift communities by investing in worker-owned businesses, inspired in part by the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. As this article from Next City describes, the plan involves the creation of a community-owned and -operated "Market Driven Community Cooperatives Corporation" to oversee the effort.

What can Cleveland co-ops teach Rochester?

David Riley
Democrat & Chronicle

Our work in Rochester, New York is making waves to connect the cooperative movement across the U.S. as a tool to address poverty and democratize wealth. This article details some of the key lessons learned in Cleveland, OH, where the Evergreen Cooperatives have carved a path toward success. The Democracy Collaborative is now working with the Rochester City Government to develop a plan that addresses economic inequality from a systemic lens that includes cooperative development strategies:

Ujamaa Collective

Established in 2008, Ujamaa Collective aims to provide spaces, opportunities, networks, education, and support for women of African descent to grow as entrepreneurs, artisans, and servant-leaders.  The Collective encompasses a retail boutique, an entrepreneurship Preparation Program, an open-air marketplace, and agricultural initiatives, including a 15-acre urban farm in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library

Founded in 1974 by a group of parents who saw the need for an organization that could lend out toys, educate the community about the importance of play, and provide a place for children and their caregivers to play together, the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library is an all-volunteer cooperative play place and toy library focused on children aged 6 and younger.  The cooperative currently has over 150 member families and 400 toys.

Farmers' Market Cooperative of East Liberty

Established in 1941, Farmers' Market Cooperative of East Liberty is the oldest continuously operating market in western Pennsylvania.  Owned by the participating farmers, the Cooperative is a permanent indoor market, the only year-round market in the city, and one of the only sources of local, fresh meat and produce in winter months.

Energy Democracy: Namasté Solar, a profile in cooperative ownership

Jarrid Green
Center for Social Inclusion

Our Research Associate Jarrid Green authored this report, highlighting the successes of Namasté Solar in democratizing energy in Colorado:

Energy Democracy: Co-op Power, a profile in cooperative ownership

Jarrid Green
Center for Social Inclusion

Our Research Associate Jarrid Green explores how a consumer-owned cooperative approach can support multiple strategies to build energy democracy in this report.

U1 Credit Union

Founded in 1937, U1 Credit Union aims to create personal, community, and financial wellbeing.  As of 2015, it had over 50,000 members, nearly 100 employees, and over $391 million in total assets.  Based in Dayton, U1 also has 10 other branches across the region.

Fifth Street Brewpub

Fifth Street Brewpub is a member-owned brewery serving a wide range of beers as well as pub food made from fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients.  Incorporated in 2012 with 850 charter members, the co-op now has over 2,700 member-owners.  The co-op’s future plans include assisting with community development projects in its surrounding neighborhoods.

Can Worker-Owned Cooperatives Compete?

Sheilah Kast and Andrea Appleton
WYPR Baltimore

John Duda, Communications Director for the Democracy Collaborative and co-founder of Red Emma’s, a worker-owned coffee shop in Baltimore, joins Sheilah Kast and Andrea Appleton of Baltimore's WYPR Radio to discuss worker ownership in today's economy.