Cooperative Development Services

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Cooperative Development Services
Non-profit organization
Founded 1985
Headquarters Madison, Wisconsin
St. Paul, Minnesota
Key people
Kevin Edberg, Executive Director
Gary Sloan, Chair

Cooperative Development Services (CDS) is a non-profit organization engaged in cooperative development in the United States. CDS works primarily with food cooperatives and senior housing cooperatives, providing consultation services and co-sponsoring conferences and programs for board members, managers and other professionals in the cooperative sector.

CDS has staff in Madison, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota and is run by a 12 member Board of Directors.


Cooperative Development Services was founded in 1985 by Rod Nilsestuen.[1]


Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD) is a program providing support to the boards of food cooperatives. CBLD works with cooperatives to help define the role that Boards play in relation to staff.[2]

Policy Governance: A complete system of board leadership that is proactive, future-based and clearly differentiates between governance and management responsibilities. It empowers management while assuring accountability of performance.

Forestry cooperatives[edit]

Cooperative Development Services assists in the development of sustainable forestry cooperatives and associations. Since 1998, CDS has been involved in the formation of 25 forestry cooperatives. CDS has received nearly $1 million in grant assistance from the USDA's rural cooperative development grants program.[3] CDS is a founding partner in WoodWorks, a network of organizations that provide services to forestry cooperatives.

Food Co-op 500[edit]

Food Co-op 500 is a program to increase the number of food cooperatives in the United States to 500 by 2015.[4] As of 2009, there were approximately 300 food cooperatives in operation. The program is supported by CDS along with the National Cooperative Grocers Association and the National Cooperative Bank.[5] CDS offers free outlines detailing the seven steps in forming a cooperative.[6]

Renewable energy[edit]

CDS assists organizations with founding businesses and funding projects in the renewable energy industry. CDS has helped organizations with projects involving biodiesel and wind energy.

Value-added agriculture[edit]

CDS works with agricultural and livestock businesses to create revenue through value-added products. The organization assists businesses in obtaining grants such as the Value-Added Producer Grants available through the USDA.


External links[edit]