University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
Cooperatives: A Tool for Community Economic Development



THIS SECTION provides a variety of resources for assistance in cooperative development.

What they Offer
AgriBank, Inc. Gordon Foss
375 Jackson St.
St. Paul, MN 55101-1850
Fax: 612-282-8510
AgriBank offers loan programs to farmers, farm management services, and strategic planning services.
Agricultural Resource Center
UW River Falls 
  • Regional
  • Agricultural
David Trechter
410 S. 3rd St
River Falls, WI 54022-5001
Fax: 715-425-4479
The Agricultural Resource Center is a multidisciplinary group with a special emphasis on programming for agribusinesses, especially cooperatives. The Ag Resource Center provides valuable expertise in cooperative development.
Beren, Rodenburg, & O'Conner
  • Regional
  • Law firm
Joel Dahlgren
519 Center St
New Ulm, MN 56073
Fax: 507-354-7297
An eight person law firm which represents the whole spectrum of cooperatives, especially new generation cooperatives. They deal with joint ventures, LLCs, federated coops, mergers and consolidations. They work on employee handbooks, credit policies, security interest, financing, and promissory notes.
Blooming Prairie Warehouse, Inc.
  • Regional
  • Food Distributor/Education
Sue Futrell, Marketing and Sales Manager
2340 Heinz Road
Iowa City, IA 52240-2602 
Natural foods distributor serving food co-ops, buying clubs. Offer presentations on how to start a food buying club.
Co-op Directory Services
  • National
  • Food Co-ops
919 21st Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55404
CDS will help people locate food co-op stores and good buying clubs throughout the United States. CDS will also give referrals for contacts who can provided information about organizing a food co-op store or food buying club. 
CoBank Deino Sather
11837 Miracle Hills Dr., Ste. 200
Omaha, NE 68154-4404
Fax: 402-492-2001
Loan programs and specially tailored financial service, cash investment services, letters of credit, leasing services, and interest rate risk management services.
Cooperative Auditing Service Inc.
  • Regional
  • Accounting Services
Doug Marshall, General Manager; William Pohlman, Board President
1507 Tower Road
Superior, WI 54880
Fax: 715-394-5441
Provides accounting services to its members and patrons. Services include accounting advisory, audits, bookkeeping services, educational seminars, computer services for general ledger, patronage, and fixed asset, and corporate and individual tax preparation.
Cooperative Development Foundation
  • National
  • Foundation
Judy Ziewacz
1401 New York Ave, NW Ste 1100
Washington, DC 20005-2160
A tax-exempt public foundation serving cooperatives in the US. Its purpose is to promote economic development through cooperatives.
Cooperative Development Services 
  • Regional
  • Technical Assistance
Rosemary Mahoney
Executive Director
30 W. Mifflin St #401
Madison, WI 53703-2558
Fax: 608-258-4394
CDS is a non-profit organization that provides professional business development and planning services to cooperatives and communities in the Upper Midwest. CDS has conducted hundreds of cooperative, community and economic development projects in areas as diverse as housing, child care, business, environment, agriculture, & the arts. 
Cooperative Foundation
  • Regional
  • Foundation
William Nelson, President 
PO Box 64047
St. Paul, MN 55164-0047
Fax: 612-451-5073


The Cooperative Foundation is a private foundation based in St. Paul. Operating in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, its mission is to support, encourage, promote, and expand cooperatives through research, teaching extension, and development. In recent years project support has been focused on the Midwest Cooperative Education, Research, and Extension Consortium, Cooperative Development Services, and the North Country Cooperative Development Fund.
Cooperative Funding Corporation 
  • National
  • Foundation
1401 Eye St, NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005
Fax: 202-336-7659
Cooperative Funding Corporation, NCB's capital markets subsidiary, is primarily responsible for devising and managing so-called off-balance-sheet transactions. CFC has developed an ever-expanding network of external funding sources that are willing to underwrite cooperative ventures. 
Cooperative Housing Foundation 
  • National
  • Housing
8300 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
The Cooperative Housing Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization working to improve the living conditions of families around the world through adequate housing and healthy environments in democratically governed communities. 
CUNA & Affliates
  • National
  • Trade Association
Dan Mica, CEO 
P.O. Box 431
Madison, WI 53701-0431
(800) 356-9655
Fax: (608) 231-4263
CUNA is a trade association for credit unions. CUNA works with its member organizations to provide legislative and regulatory services, education and training, research, information and other services to credit unions. 
Doherty, Rumble & Butler
  • Regional
  • Law Firm
2800 MN WTC, 30 East 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
Law firm providing legal services to co-ops, especially new generation farmer co-ops.
Federated Youth Foundation
  • Regional
  • Educational
David Erickson, Executive Director
30 W. Mifflin, Site 400
Madison, WI 53703
Fax: 608-258-4407
A trade association that represents its members on legislative and regulatory issues. Also provide educational and technical programs.
Foundation for Rural Housing, Inc. 
  • Regional
  • Housing 
4506 Regent St.
Madison, WI 53705
FRHI is a nonprofit agency assisting rural people and rural communities address their housing needs. Rural Housing assists organizations and agencies develop new housing programs and generate the financial resources necessary. FRHI assists small communities to leverage funds, initiate senior and self-help housing projects, address water and wastewater problems and resolve local issues. 
Homestead Housing Center 
  • Regional
  • Housing
5500 Cenex Dr
Station 210
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077
Homestead Housing provides assistance in developing senior housing cooperatives. Homestead Cooperatives are designed for older adults in rural communities. Homestead Cooperatives include full-sized apartment homes, extensive community facilities, storage, attached garages, and gardens.
ICA Group
  • National
  • Worker Owned
Jim Megson
20 Park Plaza
Suite 1127
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 338-0010
The ICA Group is a "national nonprofit organization which seeks to create and save jobs through the development and strengthening of employee-owned and community-based businesses."
Iowa Department of Economic Development, Division of Community and Rural Development
  • Iowa
  • Technical Assistance
200 E. Grand Ave
Des Moines, IA 50309
Fax 515-242-4809
The role of the Division of Community and Rural Development is to provide technical assistance, training, and incentive grants to assist Iowa communities to respond to change, capitalize on opportunities and build organizational/physical infrastructure related to community and economic development. 
Iowa Institute of Cooperatives
  • Iowa
  • Education
Larry D. Kallem, Exec. Director
2215 Elwood Dr., Suite 104
Ames, Iowa 50010
Tele. (515) 292-2667
FAX (515) 292-1672
IIC is the trade organization for cooperatives in the state of Iowa. The Institute has interests in the areas of legislation, education, financial and management consulting and new cooperative development. The Institute will either provide or assist interested groups in obtaining the help they need to form new cooperatives or strengthen existing ones.
Iowa Small Business Development Centers
  • Iowa
  • Technical Assistance
Iowa State University
College of Business Administration
137 Lynn Avenue
Ames, IA 50014-7126
(In state) 800-373-7232
The Small Business Resource Office provides information on managerial, technical, and financial assistance to impact the decision making process. 
Learning Institute for Nonprofit Organizations 
  • National
  • Education/Research
6314 Odana Rd, Suite 1
Madison, WI 53719


The Learning Institute for Nonprofit Organizations is using a variety of technologies to provide nation-wide access to education, information, tools and networking volunteers at the local and national level. They have developed an educational curriculum that focuses on the needs of nonprofit board members, volunteers, and staff members. Each program will build upon the previous offering as opposed to being a disjointed collection of educational offerings.
Lottsa Financial Services
  • Regional 
  • Financing
Scott Beers
400 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Fax: 612-338-7460
Scott Beers consults in financial planning, analysis, and systems design, with a specialty in consumer cooperatives.
Minnesota Association of Cooperatives 
  • Minnesota/Regional
  • Education
Allen Gerber, President
30 E. 7th St, Suite 1720
St Paul, MN 55102
MAC is a non-profit association that promotes the common interest of cooperatives. MAC works in three areas: legislation affecting cooperatives at the state and federal levels of government; improving member and public understanding of cooperatives through education; and improving attitudes about cooperatives through public relations activities. 
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Marketing Division
  • Minnesota
Ralph Groschen, Director
90 W Plato Blvd
St Paul, MN 55107
The Marketing Division of the Department serves the agricultural community by identifying and expanding markets and uses for Minnesota farm products. 
Minnesota Department of Trade & Economic Development
  • Minnesota
  • Financing 
121 E 7th Place
St. Paul, MN 55101
Identifies sources of financing and start up requirements
Minnesota Rural Partners
  • Regional 
Marcie McLaughlin, Executive Director
328 Steward Hall, St. Cloud University,
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
Fax: 320-654-5198
Through an information-based, learning-while-doing approach, MRP addresses complex rural issues including:
  • Building inter/intragovernmental relationships 
  • Promoting strategic development 
  • Making better use of existing resources 
  • Intervening in a problem-solving role 
  • Addressing regulatory & administrative issues 
  • Representing a new model of governance 
Minnesota Small Business Development Centers
  • Minnesota
Department of Trade and Economic Development
500 Metro Square
121 Seventh Place East
St. Paul, MN 55101-2146


Small Business Development Center provides counseling to small businesses throughout the state on topics like business planning, capital formation, financial projections and loan packaging, accounting and record keeping, market research and analysis, process improvement, technology transfer, exporting, procurement.
Mutual Service Fund of the 

MSI Insurance Foundation 

  • Regional
  • Foundation
Jim Van Houten, CEO
PO Box 64035
St. Paul, MN 55164
The MSI Insurance Foundation established the Mutual Service Fund in the mid-70s to demonstrate its commitment to cooperatives and the cooperative movement. Since that time, the Fund has awarded more than a million dollars in grants supporting projects and programs that encourage cooperative education and development. Mutual Service Fund grants are reviewed by a committee of the MSI Board of Directors and awarded annually each fall. Deadline for grant submission is June 30 each year. 
National Assn. of Housing Co-ops
  • National
  • Housing
1614 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
The National Association of Housing Cooperatives is a non-profit, national federation of organizations and individuals who promote the interests of cooperative housing communities. NAHC members include housing cooperatives, regional associations of housing cooperatives, professionals, non-profit groups, government agencies, and interested individuals.
National Center for Employee Ownership
  • National
  • Worker Owned
2201 Broadway Suite 807
Oakland, CA 94612
NCEO is a private, non-profit membership and information organization. Supported by its members and services, the NCEO serves as the leading source of accurate, unbiased information on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), employee stock options, and other forms of employee ownership.
National Coop Bank<./a>
  • National
Barry Silver 
1401 Eye St, NW, Suite 700 
Washington, DC 20005-2204 


The National Cooperative Bank provides financial and advisory services to cooperatives, including Commercial lending, mortgage lending, and capital markets.
National Co-op Bank Development Corporation (NCBDC) 
  • National
  • Financial
  • Technical Assistance
Annie Donovan
1401 Eye St, NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005
Fax: 202-336-7804
Its mission is to assist with the creation and support of cooperatives throughout the country. Structured as a non-profit affiliate of National Cooperative Bank, NCBDC develops new markets, primarily for low-income populations. 
National Co-op Business Assn.
  • National
  • Trade Association
Paul Hazen 
1401 New York Ave, NW, Ste 1100
Washington, DC 20005-2160
NCBA is a national cross-industry membership and trade association representing cooperatives. NCBA's membership includes cooperative businesses in the fields of housing, health care, finance, insurance, child care, agricultural marketing and supply, rural utilities and consumer goods and services as well as associations of cooperatives. 
National Co-op of Health Networks 
  • National
  • Health
Jan Bastian
Montana Health Network
115 7th St., Ste. 160, Miles City, MT 59301
Jan (406) 232-1420
NCHN is to champion cooperative ventures among healthcare providers serving communities throughout the United States.
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
  • National
  • Trade Association
David Graves; Pres. and CEO
50 F Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20001
A trade association representing farmer-owned cooperatives. Provides legislative services and education/training support.
National Rural Electric Co-op Assn.

Economic Development Division

  • National
  • Trade Association
Glenn English, CEO
4301 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22203-1860
NRECA is the national service organization dedicated to representing the interests of cooperative electric utilities and the consumers they serve. NRECA has been an advocate for consumer-owned cooperatives on energy and operational issues as well as rural community and economic development.
National Telephone Co-op Assn.
  • National
  • Trade Association
Ann Weinber; Michael Brunner 
2626 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Serves small and rural telephone cooperatives and commercial companies.



NCBA's CLUSA Institute for Cooperative Development

  • National
  • Education
John Gauci, Executive Director
1401 New York Avenue, NW
Ste 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Fax: 202-638-1374
The function of the CLUSA institute is to act as a catalyst to build and sustain partnerships among cooperatives, organizations and institutions who share the principles and values of the cooperative system; and to promote economic, social and human development through cooperatives in the U.S. and overseas.
North American Students of Cooperatives
  • National
  • Housing
Hilary Greer, Executive Director
PO Box 7715
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
US/Canada student housing cooperative organization. Links student cooperatives, provides training, and works to strengthen and expand student cooperatives. 


North Central Regional Center for Rural Development
  • Regional
  • Education
Cornelia Butler Flora
Iowa State University
317 East Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1070
The mission of the NCRCRD is to initiate and facilitate rural development research and education programs to improve the social and economic well-being of rural people in the region. 
North Country Cooperative Development Fund 
  • Regional 
  • Foundation
Margaret Lund, Manager
1219 University Ave, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
NCDF is a member controlled loan fund which develops cooperative enterprise in the Upper Midwest. NCDF makes loans to cooperative enterprises and nonprofit organizations operating as cooperatives in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. NCDF's lending emphasis has been on consumer and worker cooperatives.
North Farm Cooperative
  • Regional
  • Food Distributor/Education
204 Regas Road
Madison, Wisconsin 53714
Phone: 608-241-2667
North Farm Cooperative is a regional distributor providing high quality, natural products and grocery items to members and non-members. Offer presentations on how to start a food buying club.
Ohio Employee Ownership Center
  • National
  • Worker Owned
John Logue, Director
Kent State University
P.O. Box 5190
309 Franklin Hall
Kent, OH 44242-0001
Voice: 330.672.3028
Fax: 330.672.4063
OEOC is a nonprofit, university-based program providing outreach,information, and preliminary technical assistance to Ohio employees and business owners interested in exploring employee ownership. OEOC also provides ownership training on a single and multi-company basis to existing employee owned firms. 
Rural Finance Authority 
  • Regional
  • Foundation
Gene Huguson
Commissioner of AG
MN Dept of Ag
90 W Plato Blvd
St Paul, MN 55107
Guaranteed loan programs for farmers-owned processing plants were added to the portfolio of the Minnesota Legislature in 1994.
St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives 
  • Regional
  • Financing
Dennis Johnson, President
375 Jackson St
St Paul, MN 55101
Assists and finances New Generation cooperatives.
University of California Center for Cooperatives 
  • California/National
  • Education/Research
  • Technical Assistance
Mahlon Lang, Director
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
Fax: 916-752-5451
Provides director education, research, technical assistance and public education on cooperatives.
University of Wisconsin 

Center for Cooperatives

  • Wisconsin/National
  • Education/Research
  • Technical Assistance
Dr. Robert A. Cropp, Director
427 Lorch St
Madison, WI 53706
Fax: 608-262-3251
The UWCC's Mission is to study and promote cooperative action as a means of meeting the economic and social needs of people. The Center works in rural and urban settings in Wisconsin, the US and internationally. It develops, promotes, and coordinates educational programs, technical assistance and research on the cooperative form of business.
University of Wisconsin Center for Community Economic Development
  • Wisconsin
  • Education/Research
Ron Shaffer, Director
1327 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
Creates, applies and transfers multidisciplinary knowledge to help people understand community change and identify opportunities. The Center's existing relationship to extension personnel and local development interests will facilitate involvement in training and project activities.
USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Development Service
  • National
  • Research/Technical Assistance
Randall Torgerson
Cooperative Services
PO Box 3250
Washington, DC 20250-3250
Fax: 202-690-2750
Cooperative Services provides technical assistance, conducts cooperative-related research, and produces information products to promote public understanding of cooperatives. Also provide loans and grants.
USDA Rural Development 
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
David Gibson
4949 Kirschling Court
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Fax: 715-345-7669
Provide the Rural Cooperative Development grants, Business & Industry Direct, Rural Economic Development loans and grants. Help with market research, feasibility analysis, business plans, financial analysis/projections, financial packaging, marketing assistance, financial management. 
Volunteers in Overseas Coop. Assistance (VOCA)
  • National
Donald Cohen, Director; 50 F Street NW #1075
Washington, DC 20001


VOCA, a private, nonprofit organization, sends qualified professional abroad to provide short-term specialized technical assistance to developing world cooperatives, private sector agricultural enterprises and government agencies upon request
Wisconsin Business Innovation 
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
Mark Mueller
Business Innovation Services
1400 S. River St
Spooner, WI 54801
Fax: 715-635-7262
Fosters the formation and growth of technology-based enterprises with a particular focus on rural areas of Wisconsin. Identified as the key facilitator in a technology transfer agreement with the Agricultural Research Service, the Wisconsin Business Innovation Corporation is developing a network of business enterprise centers in Wisconsin and is developing financial capital sources for technology transfer and commercialization. 
Wisconsin Credit Union League
  • Wisconsin
  • Trade Association
Charles Sullivan, President & CEO
N25 W23131 Paul Rd
Pewaukee, WI 53072-5779
Fax: 414-549-7722
Trade association for Wisconsin credit unions. It provides legislative and regulatory services, education and training, research, information and other services to credit unions.
Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade, & Consumer Protection 
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
PO Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
WI Farm Center, Jeanne Meier
Fax: 608-265-3459


Sustaining the vitality of agriculture is an integral part of the Department's broader mission to ensure safe and wholesome food, protect consumers, secure the food chain from the earth to the consumer, and preserve land, water and plant resources. The Department's partnership role will be to offer development program assistance to projects. 
Wisconsin Department of Commerce
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
Roger Nacker
123 W. Washington Ave
PO Box 7970
Madison, WI 53707
Fax: 608-267-2829
Provides financial and technical assistance to dairy farmers, agribusinesses and entrepreneurial companies in rural counties. Wisconsin Department of Commerce has been active in the Rural Development Partnership, which focuses on improving resources and opportunities for the state's rural communities. 
Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives
  • Wisconsin
  • Trade Association/Education
Rod Nilsestuen, CEO & President
W. Mifflin St, Suite 401
Madison, WI 53703
Fax: 608-258-4407
A statewide trade association representing several hundred Wisconsin cooperatives of all kinds, including agricultural cooperatives, credit unions and rural electric cooperatives. 
Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority Gene Weitlenhiler
1 S Pinckney St, Suite 500
PO Box 1728
Madison, WI 53701-1728
266-7884 ext 627, 800-334-6873
Fax: 608-267-1099
WHEDA provides low-interest, fixed rate financing for the purchase or improvement of homes by low- and moderate-income individuals. WHEDA also offers a variety of guarantees on loans that private lenders provide to small businesses and agricultural operations.
Wisconsin Rural Development Center
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
Bill Wenzel, Executive Director
216 W. Main St
Mt Horeb, WI 53572
Fax: 608-437-5972
WRDC is a nonprofit organization comprised of family farmers, environmentalists, church leaders, consumers, and rural activists. It promotes social and economic justice in rural Wisconsin; to protect rural natural resources; and to activate an effective voice for rural citizens. 
Wisconsin Rural Partners Inc
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
Kelly Haverkampf, Executive Director
45 N Charter St
Madison, WI 53715
Fax: 608-265-3459
WRP’s mission is to develop collaborative alliances to advocate for and enhance our state's rural human, natural and economic resources. WRP is a formal, managed network which acts as the state's rural development council and actively participates in the National Rural Development Partnership. 
Wisconsin Small Business Development Center
  • Wisconsin
  • Technical Assistance
Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706-1323
Fax: 608-263-0818
The SBDC provides an array of programs, counseling, special initiatives, research and publications. Business management education programs are offered at a fee. Eau Claire 715-836-5811; Green Bay 920-465-2089; Kenosha 414-595-2189; LaCrosse 608-785-8782; Madison 608-263-2221; Milwaukee 414-227-3240; Oshkosh 920-424-1453; Stevens Point 715--346-3838; Whitewater 414-472-3217
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