Cooperative Development Specialist
Char is the newly arrived Cooperative Development Specialist. Most recently Char was the Executive Director of 40 Square Cooperative Solutions.
Char Vrieze joined CDS as a Cooperative Development Specialist in in April 2022. Char’s background growing up on a farm picking pickles, eggs, potatoes, and helping her family clean apartments lends itself well to the main focus of her role working with worker-owned cooperatives. Vrieze also works with a wide variety of sectors, reflecting on her passion for the cooperative model throughout multiple sectors of businesses.
She was the Executive Director of 40 Square Cooperative Solutions from 2017-2022. 40 Square is an independent agricultural cooperative providing health coverage options for Minnesota’s agricultural community.
Char also served for six years as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Cooperative Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization which provides education on co-ops and scholarships for students seeking careers in cooperatives.
Her background brings fourteen years of governmental experience in the Wisconsin State Legislature, serving as a senior policy advisor to several lawmakers in leadership positions, including the state’s budget writing committee. She later worked for Cooperative Network, the trade association for cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Char’s work has resulted in several awards from well-respected organizations. Most recently, she received the Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) William J. Nelson Contribution to ACE Award.
Char is active in her church and enjoys history, running, ATV’ing, snowmobiling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband reside in western Wisconsin and have two active young boys.