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Madison Community Cooperative, or MCC, is an umbrella organization composed of close to a dozen housing cooperatives in Madison, Wisconsin with around 200 residents and food co-opers. MCC is a member of NASCO.
Inspired by a North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) conference, on December 10, 1968, eight representatives of Madison co-ops incorporated the Madison Association of Student Cooperatives (MASC) In 1971, MASC changed its name to Madison Community Cooperative (MCC), and the system today includes as many workers as students.
MCC is a network of the residents of each MCC building who, through cooperative decision-making, own and manage their particular cooperative building and MCC as a whole. Because MCC is not-for-profit and its residents share community space, MCC residents can enjoy property that would otherwise be unaffordable.
Unlike the majority of other NASCO co-ops, MCC was more inclusive to non-students from its inception, despite the proximity of its original properties to the UW-Madison campus. This caused MCC to be a leader in NASCO away from the student-centered approach and toward a co-op movement that would make co-ops a viable part of all kinds of neighborhoods. Rejecting the stereotype that co-ops are still the young white college students who founded MASC, MCC co-ops have included non-students, older persons, people of color, people from low-income backgrounds and parents raising young children.
Beginning in 1997, MCC tailored its articles, bylaws and mission away from one to provide services to tenants interested in co-op life to one "to improve the Madison community by providing low cost, not-for-profit cooperative housing for very low to moderate income people and to be inclusive of underrepresented and marginalized groups of the community."
Settling the 'Benevolence' QuestionEdit
The membership voted to sue the City of Madison for property tax exemption at a General Meeting on March 9, 1997. Property tax exemption in Wisconsin is available only to not-for-profit serves that are "benevolent". The City Attorney had denied exemption to MCC by arguing that MCC was not benevolent but primarily served students who, if poor, were voluntarily and temporarily poor.
Attorney David Sparer tried the case on behalf of MCC. MCC members, including Martha's Co-op member Vance Gathing, testified in Madison Municipal Court that non-students, including people of color, older people, parents and poor residents, were increasingly joining the MCC membership.
When authorizing the suit, the membership conditioned the lawsuit on any "budgetary savings MCC realizes from a successful resolution of our case will not be used to reduce house payments across the board by more than 3% in any fiscal year" and that "the line-item in the MCC Budget that allocates money to property taxes be changed from a fixed line to a variable one, to keep open the possibility of MCC maintaining some level of funding to city services."
After settling the case with the City of Madison, MCC surveys all the members income status and annually provides the City of Madison with the income ranges of its tenant-members.
Around the same time, MCC focused on racial inclusion. The MCC membership adopted the "MCC Plan for Inclusion" on April 20, 1997 and amended the plan on April 11, 1997. The plan calls for:
- MCC officers, staff and board members will encourage members of any underrepresented population to participate as officers, staff, board members, and in all other ways within MCC.
- At least twice each year, MCC will place obvious advertisements in at least five media outlets (publications, radio underwriting, etc.) which target either: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latino(a)/Chicana(o)-Americans, Native-Americans, international persons, parents raising children, LGBT, or non-students. $2000 or at least 50% of total advertising budget directed towards targeted groups.
- Board of Directors Diversity: In order to achieve compliance, a.) at least six members from least three different populations (people of color, LGBT, lower-income/non-students/self-identified in the lower class, persons with disabilities, international persons, and parents raising children) and, b.) at least two persons of color, must be represented on the MCC Board of Directors, and c.) the board will have a 60%/40% gender balance. Voluntary self-identification will be used. Individuals can represent more than one of these populations. The Minority Outreach Officer will be responsible for administering a voluntary, self-identification survey for the board membership at the first meeting of the Fall, Spring and Summer Board.
- One regular February, March, or April Board agenda will be "Progress on our plans for Inclusion". The DOMO Officer is primarily responsible for coordination. The Executive Committee inform the DOMCO of the date, so the DOMCO can give each house at least six weeks notice to prepare a presentation. DOMCO will give houses handouts on guiding their house discussions and on guidelines for putting the plan on paper (see attached sheet). These plans will be turned in at the DOMCO meeting before the Board meeting, so the DOMCO can make copies of plans for all the houses. The DOMO Officer will present information to the Board concerning MCCﾒs diversity information from the member contracts and a progress report on inclusion for MCC.
- The Minority Outreach Officer will, at least once per year, administer an anonymous, voluntary, self-identified survey reported to the board designed to delineate the diversity of the MCC membership.
- MCC adopts the following expansion policy: "MCC will make an effort to purchase co-ops in areas populated predominantly by minority residents and, by December 31, 2002, MCC will make at least one of these purchases." MCC adopts the following bylaw: 8.16 "MCC will make an effort to purchase co-ops in areas populated predominantly by minority residents."
MCC implemented these policies in varying ways. Orton Co-op, sometimes called "Goo Hut" is called "child-friendly" and has housed numerous parents with children. Assata Co-op and Kianga Co-op, before they were disbanded by MCC, included both children and numerous African-American members. Assata, now called Ambrosia, still provides babygates and playground equipment but, unlike Assata, it does not advertise itself as a racially inclusive house.
MCC's Mission Statement: 
MCC's mission is to improve the Madison community by providing low cost, not-for-profit cooperative housing for very low to moderate income people and to be inclusive of underrepresented and marginalized groups of the community.
In addition, the MCC bylaws provide the following purposes:
2.01 To build community, foster individual growth and provide not-for-profit, cooperative housing to low and moderate income, marginalized and/or diverse persons through cooperation, sustainable living and education
2.02 MCC's vision and values are based on Rochdale Principles, a set of universal cooperative principles. Our values include:
- Voluntary and Inclusive Membership: We strive to be inclusive of the entire Madison community and of underrepresented and marginalized members of society including people of color, lesbian, bisexual, gay and trans-gendered people, persons with disabilities, parents raising children, students and international persons. We strive to be inclusive of the entire Madison-area community.
- Democratic Participation: All members together control MCC and can cast an equal vote in their houses and General Membership meetings.
- Member Economic Participation: All members democratically control the capital of their cooperative. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, setting up reserves and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
- Autonomy and Independence: MCC is an autonomous, self-help organization controlled by its members. If we enter into agreements, we do so on terms that ensure democratic control of our members and maintain our cooperative autonomy.
- Continuous Education: MCC shall constantly educate its members and the public in the principles and practices of cooperation, both economic and democratic.
- Mutual Cooperation: MCC shall actively cooperate on practical matters with other cooperatives at local, national, and international levels to further serve their members and their communities.
- Concern for Community: While focusing on member needs, MCC will work for the sustainable development of our community and planet.
- Ambrosia Co-op (2004 - present)
- Audre Lorde Co-op (1996 - present; formerly Emma Goldman Co-op)
- Friends' Co-op (1976 - present)
- Hypatia Co-op
- International Co-op (1968 - present)
- Lothlórien Co-op (1973 - present)
- Ofek Shalom Co-op
- Orton Co-op
- Syntropy Co-op
- The Phoenix Co-op
- Avalon Co-op (formerly Womyn's Co-op)
- Anon, 170 Jackson st.
- Badger Photo
- Kianga Co-op, 1134 Catalpa Circle
- Le Chateau, renamed Meridian Co-op in 1995, 636 Langdon (now Phoenix Co-op as of circa 1997)
- Kibbutz Langdon, 142 Langdon
- Martha's co-op, renamed Assata Co-op in 2000, 225 Lakelawn Pl. (now Ambrosia Co-op as of circa 2003)
- Melting Snow Co-op
- Mulberry Co-op (now Hypatia Co-op as of circa 1994)
- Rivendell, 622 N Henry St.
- Stone Manor, 225 Lakelawn Pl.
- Toad Lane
- Tralfamadore Co-op, 240 Langdon
- Yahara Linden
- Official site
- MCC and general Madison cooperative movement history
- MCC discussion group for members
- A specialized wiki for Madison area cooperatives.
- Rivendell, Red Pine history