Friends’ Cooperative House

Madison, Wisconsin, United States

  • Last updated: January 7, 2016 (1 year ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

Cooperative Living, Community

Community Description

437 W. Johnson Street has been home to Friends’ Cooperative since 1967, although our history begins a year earlier when a local chapter of the Society of Friends (Quakers) sponsored the creation of a housing co-op on the corner of Brooks and University. Our name, Friends’, our moment of silence before house dinners, and our commitment to consensus attest to our Quaker roots, even though none of the current members are active Quakers.
Our co-op is based on a principle of acceptance of people’s differences. All it takes to become a member is a willingness to take part in the cooperative effort that keeps the house running. In addition, we have policies in place that emphasize an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

Our 13 residents include undergraduates, graduate students, and working people. The age range is often quite large.

We want to place special emphasis on creating a strong and tight-knit community. We aim to do this with a house retreat at the beginning of the school year and some organized house outings in addition to the informal social activities.

Benefits of living at Friends:

• Cooperative living.

• Great location. The heart of campus and the Capitol are each just a five-minute walk away.

• Eat what you want. Living in Friends’ makes it easy to eat what you want to eat, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or meat eater. Friends also emphasizes organic and locally grown foods.

• Family-like atmosphere. Our house is small enough to allow members to form close relationships with everyone they live with. Our dining room, cozy living room, and five porches are very popular spots for spontaneous hanging out.

• Free washer and dryer.

• Local calls are included in your room charge. Friends has a phone line that everyone shares. You are also free to buy your own phone line for your room.

• Free wireless DSL.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1967
  • Start Living Together: 1967
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address:
  • Phone: 608-251-2667
  • Community Address:
    437 W Johnson St
    Madison, Wisconsin, 53703-2205
    United States
  • Location


  • Type(s): Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling), Student Housing or Student Co-Op
  • Location: Urban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Current Residence Types: Room(s) in a house or building
  • Current Number of Residences: 12
  • Planned Residence Types: Room(s) in a house or building
  • Housing Provided: Rental
  • Land owned by: Other
  • Additional Comments:

    Madison Community Co-op – which is cooperatively owned by the member of Friends’ Co-op along w/members of other Madison housing co-ops. MCC is a cooperative & non-profit organization.

    Members have individual rooms, not apartments or houses.


  • Adult Members: 13
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Our house dinners, held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, are the best way to get to know us. Please call at least 48 hours in advance—we reserve the right to turn away anyone who shows up at our door without getting permission first.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Contract year begins August 15th, but may have openings other times of the year. We usually begin interviewing prospective member for the fall beginning on March 1.

  • Additional Comments:

    We were founded as a Quaker house, and continue Quaker traditions of consensus and a moment of silence before dinner, however we have historically attracted people of all religious faiths and beliefs.


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Should expect the rough equivalent of five hours per week.

    $76: $40 goes to Madison Community Co-op; $21 goes to NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation and gives the member a lifetime membership in NASCO.

    Rent ranges from $270-$440 per month depending on room size

Sustainability Practices

  • Current food produced: Up to 25%


  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Mostly Vegetarian
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    All of our food purchases are vegetarian, but members are free to purchase food in addition to what the house provides, including meat.

    No smoking of any substance is allowed inside the house, however, smokers may use one of our outdoor porches.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (includes “all religions”)

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

Madison Community Cooperatives

Community Affiliations

Madison Community Cooperative (MCC), Avalon Cooperative House, The Phoenix Cooperative House, Sofia Cooperative House, Syntropy Cooperative House, Ofek Shalom Cooperative House, Lothlórien Cooperative House, Hypatia Cooperative House, Audre Lorde Cooperative House, Ambrosia Cooperative House, International Cooperative House (ICH)