Megan Diaz-Ricks Named Director of Economic Development at Common Wealth!

Karen Bednar Announcements, Business Incubators, Southwest Partnership, Youth Programs

On behalf of Common Wealth Development, we are honored, privileged, and excited to announce Megan Diaz-Ricks as the Director of Economic Development for Common Wealth Development.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to support our mission and help to lead our team towards our vision for Madison.” In this role and impact, Megan will lead all aspects of our Economic Development work, including the general vision, program development and administrative and personnel oversight of our Youth and Adult Workforce Development Programs, our Business Incubators (Main Street Industries & Madison Enterprise Center) and our commercial development projects and portfolio.

Megan previously served as a Coordination of Care Specialist, supporting Common Wealth’s work in West Madison in the areas of adult workforce development and in housing stabilization.

Megan is a Madison native who grew up on the city’s Northside. She graduated from LaFollette High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She will be completing her Master of Social work program at UW-Madison this spring, with an emphasis on health and economic equity in Madison.

Please join us in congratulating Megan as she settles into her new role and continued support of the work of Common Wealth Development.

Maintenance Coordinator

Shelli Lawler Announcements, Employment, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Common Wealth Development, Inc. is a nonprofit community development corporation, providing healthy affordable housing and equitable economic development including workforce development for youth and adults and business incubation. We are seeking a Maintenance Coordinator to oversee and coordinate the maintenance and rehabilitation work of 146 housing units and 75,000 square feet of commercial space. This is a full-time position working 30-40 hours/week. Emergency on-call rotation required. Must be able to respond to on-site after-hours emergency calls within 30 minutes maximum. Pay is $21 – $23.00/ hour, plus benefits including health insurance, retirement plan, generous paid vacation, and paid sick days.


  • Have own vehicle, clean driving record and liability insurance
  • Have your own tools (Basic Tool Set)
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds, lift and manipulate ladders and work form various heights.
  • 3-5 years of experience in residential and/or commercial maintenance and/or carpentry, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, drywall and appliances
  • Working knowledge of tools, materials, methods, and practices used in residential & commercial maintenance

Desired Qualifications:

  • Ability to work a flexible schedule
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instruction, self-motivate and work independently
  • Experience in repair and maintaining multi-unit apartment complex
  • Capability to acquire and implement computer skills related to company systems
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written; ability to keep written records
  • Positive attitude and ability to foster strong interdepartmental working relationships
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, manage time effectively and prioritize work
  • Experience working with/serving with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to positively troubleshoot and respond to emergencies and after hours calls
  • Understanding of occupational hazards and safety methods (OSHA)
  • Model constructive teamwork, initiative and desire to learn
  • Bilingual in Spanish & English
  • Wisconsin Lead Paint Abatement Worker or Supervisor
  • EPA Certification

Common Wealth values diverse life experience in its hiring process and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Bilingual, bicultural, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, fill out an employment application (also available at our office) AND submit a cover letter detailing your skills to: Common Wealth, 1501 Williamson Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, or by email to: Applications are considered complete only when both an application and cover letter are received.

Application packets accepted until position filled.

No faxes. No calls please, except to confirm receipt of application materials.


Shelli Lawler Announcements, Employment, Housing Leave a Comment

Common Wealth Development is seeking a motivated, energetic Housing Specialist to assist our team in the management of 146 affordable housing units on Madison’s east and west side.  This position involves marketing and leasing, administrative support, and tenant relations. Applicants should have strong administrative and organizational skills. This is a full-time position at 40 hours/week. Pay is $37,000-$42,000, depending on experience, with full benefits.


  • Excellent organization skills and attention to detail, ability to work in a fast-paced environment, ability to prioritize tasks to meet deadlines, handle multiple responsibilities at once, and work effectively both independently with minimal supervision and as a member of a team
  • Experience working with people from low-income homes and racially diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with tenants and community agencies
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing
  • Ability to work with a wide range of individuals and to deal with conflict
  • Fluent in Microsoft Office, including Word and Excel
  • Excellent Internet, word processing, spreadsheet and database skills
  • Have own vehicle, clean driving record and liability insurance
  • Experience in customer service
  • Marketing experience
  • Three years of consecutive experience in a paid administrative setting

Desired Qualifications:

  • Strong personal connections to low-income communities and communities of color
  • 3+ years’ experience in property management
  • 3+ years’ experience working with people from low-income homes and racially diverse backgrounds
  • Training in WHEDA Tax Credit Compliance and HOME Program Regulations
  • Fair Housing Training
  • Bilingual in Spanish & English
  • Experience with the property management software AppFolio.

Common Wealth Development values diverse life experience in its hiring process and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Bilingual, bicultural, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. We value the work of our local schools and educators, and graduates of Madison area high schools are strongly encouraged to apply. Our team is diverse in every sense of the word, but united in our linked fate, shared prosperity, and our commitment to an upstream approach to health equity and violence prevention.

To apply, fill out an employment application (available at or at our office) and submit a complete application packet to: Common Wealth Development, 1501 Williamson Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, or by email to

Application packets must contain each of the following:

1) Completed employment application

2) Resume

3) Cover letter describing your experience:

In residential property management; and

 with people from low income households and racially diverse backgrounds

Preference will be given to complete application packets received by 5:00 pm Friday, April 5, 2019.

Applications accepted until position filled.
No faxes. No calls please, except to confirm receipt of application materials.


Karen Bednar Announcements Leave a Comment

2019 ATHENA nominee, Stephanie Bradley Wilson, currently serves as the Director of Health Equity and Violence Prevention at Common Wealth Development. In this position she oversees racial justice and health equity work, ranging from affordable housing, workforce development and community engagement. Prior to this Ms. Bradley Wilson was a member of the Madison Police Department for over 30 years holding several ranks from Officer to Lieutenant. She has been a driving force to help people overcome obstacles and realize their full potential. To learn more about Stephanie and the other nominees – plan to attend The Business Forum’s ATHENA Award Celebration on Tuesday March 12.

To Register:

Common Wealth Turns 40 Today!

Justice Castaneda Announcements, Events, Support Leave a Comment

40 years ago today, a small group of residents came together to found Common Wealth Development. Created in part as a response to a commercial rehabilitation feasibility study in the Wil-Mar Neighborhood, one of our earliest goals was to “preserve the social diversity that has long been a hallmark through a thoughtful mix of economic revitalization and physical rehabilitation.” Over the years our program areas have grown, our portfolio has expanded, and our internal capacity has been polished into the amazing organization that we are today.

We could never have gotten to this place without the dedication and commitment of the thousands of people who have been connected to Common Wealth as tenants, job-seekers, small businesses, staff, board members, volunteers, funders, colleagues, comrades and committed Dane County residents (Madison, Sun Prairie and Fitchburg!!), who have championed our work and our mission.

While our programs have evolved, our commitment to healthy community and economic development is unwavering. Over the past two years we have incorporated a strategic framework rooted in racial justice and health equity, and synergized our program areas to support local violence prevention and community health improvement efforts to complement the foundation of our work.

We have developed new relationships with partners at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and continue to support city and county–led initiatives focusing on access to employment, healthy affordable and low-income housing, support for small businesses, support for women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color and efforts aimed at improving the overall community-level health of Madison and Dane County.

Our 40th anniversary is an important time for us to reflect on all that the Common Wealth community has been able to accomplish, and to prepare ourselves for the important work ahead.

We are truly grateful for the support and dedication of everyone who has been part of our journey.

Celebrate with us!

Tickets for the anniversary artisan food tour of Common Wealth’s business incubators will be available soon! Save the date for the event, April 11, 2019.

Help us kick-start The Big Share giving campaign by seeding it today with your donation! Be the first to donate!

Save the date for December 5, 2019 for our big anniversary banquet. We will party like its 1979!

E-mail to nominate a past or present Common Wealth Development mover-shaker-and-change-maker for the 40th Anniversary Portrait Project!

“The Seed”

“In order to grow food, one must plant a seed.
In order to establish community, one must plant a seed.
We, in the Williamson Street Neighborhood,
Have been given a seed called community.
And now we must plant it.”

– From the Common Wealth Development dedication


Congrats on this Next Chapter, Sydney!

Karen Bednar Announcements, Uncategorized, Youth Programs

“It definitely feels like a family here,” Sydney reflected. Sydney will be greatly missed as part of the Common Wealth Development crew. Her contributions to the organization over the past one and a half years as a Youth Employment Specialist were instrumental in supporting the Youth Workforce Development Programs during a time of tremendous transformation.

Sydney facilitated five sessions of the Youth-Business Mentoring Program at East and Memorial high schools, mentored 60 youth in the Youth-Business Mentoring Program, and worked with 16 youth in the 2018 Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship program. The highlight of her work was witnessing “students’ happiness when they get a job,” an outcome that was a major focus of Sydney’s creativity and commitment. The Youth Business Employment Program guarantees teens a job at successful program completion. Last year alone, 128 students were hired in area businesses through this program.

With each youth Sydney worked with, she established an open and trusting relationship that helped her mentees grow and meet their personal, academic, and employment goals. Her talent of connecting with youth, their families, and other support systems in their network truly enriched these mentorships. Sydney is always willing to listen and lend a hand. Her dedication and work ethic will be of great value to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she is taking on a social work role as a Treatment Foster Care Worker. We wish her well in this next chapter!

Congratulations to Common Wealth Board Member, Autumn Neugent, Ms. Wheelchair WI!

Karen Bednar Uncategorized Leave a Comment

On November 3rd Autumn Neugent, from Madison Wisconsin, was crowned as Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin 2019. The pageant was held in Plymouth Wisconsin. Autumn’s platform is ABILITY Awareness.

Autumn will be representing Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin for the next year throughout the State. She will also be competing in the National Pageant representing Wisconsin this summer in Little Rock Arkansas.

Following is the link to Autumn’s fund-raising page raising the necessary funds to attend the National Pageant as well as her numerous engagements throughout the state. Support here!

Please contact the coordinator, Myranda Gereau, at or Autumn directly at if you have an event you would like to invite Autumn to attend. Autumn is also available for interviews and speaking engagements where she can promote awareness on abilities, accessibility and more.
Thank you to all our sponsors!

Allechant Boutique
Sartori Cheese Company
Kwik Trip
In Motion Dance Studio
Sheboygan Chevy
Buick Plymouth
Tochi Ramen
Camokin Aussiedoodles
Reineking Builders
3 Sheeps Brewing Company
8th Street Ale Haus
Signature Dental
Book Heads
Crystal’s Pet Supply
Family Video
Plymouth Rock Camp Ground
Paytn Blanke Photography
The HUB Studio Café
Allechant Boutique LLC
City Club
Brian Gleesing
Dreams Unlimited

Common Wealth Development wishes Autumn the best during her term as Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin. We are so fortunate to be supported by her leadership on the Common Wealth Development Board of Directors.

Thanks, Liz! Congratulations!

Karen Bednar Announcements, Youth Programs Leave a Comment

Common Wealth Development is excited to congratulate Liz Machesney, our Youth Programs Manager! She will be joining the University of Wisconsin Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation as an Associate Student Services Coordinator.

Liz started her journey with Common Wealth Development as an AmeriCorps Member three years ago. She grew her career as a Youth Employment Specialist and finally as our Youth Programs Manager. Liz oversaw our youth workforce development programs through a tremendous amount of change in the last year, including facilitating the re-launching of our entrepreneurial agricultural training program (PEAT) with Neighborhood Food Solutions, and transitioning the Youth Business Mentorship Program into a new 2-week curriculum to make the program more accessible for youth. Foremost have been her efforts leading changes that resulted in a successful summer of the Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship program, including developing a peer leadership model for the program.

Liz has mentored 67 youth, and many of us here at Common Wealth Development. Thank you, Liz, for investing your talents into youth workforce development. We are so fortunate to work with and learn from you! All the best into your future!

Willy Street Fair raffle banner

2018 Willy Street Fair Raffle

Karen Bednar Events, Willy Street Fair Leave a Comment

Common Wealth Development
& Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center’s
2018 Willy Street Fair Raffle

Drawing: Sunday, September 16 @ 6:30pm, Third Lake Market Lot,
944 Williamson St. Need not be present to win. Staff will call winners within a week of the fair.

Tickets are 1 for $2 / 3 for $5 / 10 for $10.

To get tickets:

1. Stop by Mickey’s Tavern, located at 1524 Williamson Street.
2. Stop by the Common Wealth office, located at 1501 Williamson Street in Madison, between 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays.
3. Call 608.256.3527 x34 to arrange a different time to meet at the Common Wealth office to buy raffle tickets.
4. Stop by the booth at the 41st Annual Willy Street Fair, located near the 1000 block of Williamson Street the weekend of September 15-16, 2018.

Here is a list of raffle prizes for this year!


$1,000 Cash – Donated by Applied Tech Solutions
Electra Amsterdam Fashion 3i Bike ($899 value) – Donated by Trek Bikes
$480 Cash – Donated by Badger Welding Supply, Struck & Irwin Fence, Full Spectrum Solar, Willy St. Tavern/WISCO
A Signed Eric Bledsoe Hat – Donated by Milwaukee Bucks
Gift Card to Willy Street Co-op ($250 Value) – Donated by the Willy Street Co-op
Weber Performer Grill ($249 Value) – Donated by Ace Hardware on Williamson Street
The Absolute Relief Spa Package ($228 Value) – Donated by Kneaded Relief Day Spa and Wellness
Gift Card to The Straight Thread ($200 value) – Donated by The Straight Thread

Over 125 Additional Prizes

A Pig in a Fur Coat – $25 gift certificate (x2)
A Room of One’s Own – $50 gift certificate
A Woman’s Touch – gift basket
Anytime Fitness – 3 month membership (x3)
Argus Bar & Grille – $25 gift certificate
Atwood Acupuncture Center – one session
Bad Dog Frida – $20 gift certificate
Bandung Restaurant – gift certificate (x2)
Banzo – $25 gift certificate (x2)
Barrymore Theatre & ACG – $25 gift certificate (x4)
The Brink Lounge – $25 gift certificate
Buraka – $20 gift certificate (x2)
Burnie’s Rock Shop – $50 gift certificate; $100 g.c.
Burrito Drive – $25 gift certificate (x2)
Caring Hands Massage & Bodywork – 1 hr. therapy
Change Boutique – $50 gift certificate
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream – scoop (x10)
Crystal Corner Bar – $20 gift certificate (x2)
Davis Dancewear, Etc. – $50 gift certificate
Degoba – $20 gift certificate
Door County Brewing – merchandise
Essen Haus – $25 gift certificate
EVP Coffee – $25 gift certificate (x2)
Festival Foods – $50 gift certificate (x2)
Fuegos – $100 gift certificate
Genna’s Cocktail Lounge – $25 gift certificate
Gib’s Bar – $50 gift certificate
Grampa’s Pizzeria – $50 gift certificate
Green Owl Cafe – $25 gift certificate (x2)
Hallman/Lindsay Paints – $100 gift certificate
High Noon Saloon – 4 passes to a show
Howe Brothers Plumbing – $25 gift certificate
Jamerica – $20 gift certificate (x2)
Karben4 Brewing – $15 gift certificate; gift basket
Korean Energy Yoga and Tai Chi – 3 weeks of classes
Mad City Music Exchange – $25 gift certificate (x4)
Madison Children’s Museum – pass for two (x2)
Madison Concourse Hotel – one night stay for two in Governer’s Club Room
Madison Magazine – one-year subscription
Madison Sourdough – $50 gift certificate
Manna Café & Bakery – $15 gift certificate (x2)
Mother Fools Coffeehouse – gift certificate
Ohio Tavern – $25 gift certificate
Olbrich Gardens – family membership
Orange Tree Imports – $25 gift certificate
Overture Center – gift certificate
Plaka Taverna – gift certificate
Quality CBD – $70 gift certificate
Rockhound Brewing – $30 gift certificate
Sardine – gift certificate
Square Wine Co. – two tix for a Friday night tasting
St. Vincent de Paul Stores – gift certificates
Stalzy’s Deli – $50 gift certificate
Steve’s Tattoo – $50 gift certificate (x2)
Sugar Shack Records – gift certificate
Table Wine – gift certificate
TAPIT/new works – two tickets to Wit and Wisdom
That BBQ Joint – $50 gift certificate
Umami Ramen & Dumpling Bar – $25 gift card (x4)
The Vinery Stained Glass Studio – $100 gift certificate
Weary Traveler Freehouse – 2 entrees (x3)
WISCO/Willy Street Tavern – $25 gift card (x2)
Working Draft Beer – $15 gift certificate (x2)

For more information call Common Wealth at 608.256.3527.