Cooperative Hall of Fame Inductee Spotlight: Marilyn Scholl


Marilyn Scholl has played a prominent leadership role in nearly every major development in the U.S. food co-op sector since she took her first co-op job at Gordon Park Cooperative in Milwaukee in 1978.

Working at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, Scholl organized education programs and conferences for co-ops. Focusing on the challenges of business sustainability, membership care and strategic planning, Scholl helped create the Cooperative Management Institute.

She later led a food co-op consulting team that became CDS Consulting Co-op, a group of 38 people dedicated to helping co-ops reach their full potential. Seeing the need for systematic governance at food co-ops, Scholl and her CDS CC colleagues developed the Cooperative Board Leadership Development program to provide ongoing support for effective governance and built the 4 Pillars of Cooperative Governance model.

With the help of National Cooperative Bank and the National Co+op Grocers, Scholl’s team created a small grants program for startups that became Food Co-op Initiative, a nonprofit supporting the opening of more than 130 new food co-ops. She was one of the creators of the food co-op development model 4 Cornerstones in 3 Stages.

In 2004, Scholl led the project team that developed the reorganization plan for the National Cooperative Grocers Association. Today National Co+op Grocers represents 148 co-ops operating more than 200 stores in 37 states.

Recently retired as manager of CDS Consulting Cooperative, Scholl continues to be a member and consultant at CDS CC; she also serves on the boards of Cooperative Fund of New England and Food Co-op Initiative.

Let Marilyn know you appreciate her commitment to cooperatives by adding your name to the Friends of Marilyn Scholl page in the Cooperative Hall of Fame Commemorative Program.

To add your name, visit the Cooperative Hall of Fame sponsorship page or contact by April 1, 2018.

The Cooperative Hall of Fame is administered by the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of NCBA CLUSA promoting community, economic and social development through cooperative enterprise. The Cooperative Hall of Fame gallery is on display at NCBA CLUSA headquarters in Washington, DC, and can also be viewed online at

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