Continental Coho Org. - PROPOSED Mission,Goals,Projects
From: Michael Mariner (maikanoidcomm.com)
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 1997 11:18:14 -0500
Hi, All,

Below is the document Zev Paiss alluded to last week.  I volunteered =
to draft the proposal at our last Rocky Mtn. Cohousing Assn. meeting. =
 What you see below is just that -- a draft without formal approval =
from the RMCA board or anybody else.  It's strictly a "trial balloon" =
or "straw horse" to provoke discussion and provide input for the =
discussion about a continental cohousing organization at "Burning =
Soul's Day" on Sept. 18 in Seattle.  All interested parties are =
invited to attend.

My intention in drafting the proposal was to frame a continental =
organization that will not only nurture the cohousing movement as it =
is today, but that will broaden and deepen and diversify the movement =
beyond what we can conceive of today.  

I'm sure there are lots of things I didn't think of.  Recently a =
friend gave me a button that says "None of us is as smart as ALL of =
us."  Please contribute your wisdom.

In community,

Michael Mariner, RMCA Board Member


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                        LONG TERM MISSION, GOALS AND TASKS 
                                       FOR THE PROPOSED 
                       NORTH AMERICAN COHOUSING ASSOCIATION


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Definitions for this document:
Mission   =3D  WHY this national organization should exist
Goals      =3D   WHAT we propose doing to carry out the mission
Tasks      =3D   HOW specific projects will accomplish each goal
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MISSION STATEMENT
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[EXISTING RMCA MISSION - The mission of the Rocky Mountain Cohousing =
Association has been to promote cohousing in various ways in the =
Rocky Mountain region of the U.S.  The RMCA was incorporated as a =
non-profit educational entity (now a 501(c)3) -- e.g., it promotes =
cohousing by educating people about it in various ways.]

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PROPOSED MISSION FOR NORTH AMERICAN COHOUSING ASSOCIATION:
To promote diverse, sustainable, cohesive, residential communities =
and cooperative lifestyles for people of varied income levels, racial =
and ethnic backgrounds and subcultures in urban, suburban or rural =
environments on the North American continent.
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[Mike Mariner=B9s Note:  Stated as above, the mission would =
consciously avoid limiting the proposed national organization=B9s =
scope to what we currently call =B3cohousing.=B2  It recognizes that =
the movement is dynamic and that it will quite likely evolve into =
permutations we cannot foresee in the 1990=B9s.  Already some =
cohousing groups (Ithaca among others) are aspiring to become =
ecovillages.  Occasionally the media uses =B3cohousing=B2 to refer to =
any community that is more cohesive than autonomous housing units.  =
Though we might lament this distortion of the meaning of =
=B3cohousing,=B2 we might also see it as an opportunity to become =
more inclusive and more diverse than cohousing has been to date.  =
Throughout the following document the word =B3cohousing=B2 means both =
what it is now and what it can become.]


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PHASE ONE - SHORT TERM
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SHORT TERM GOAL (1-3 years) - create a mostly volunteer, continental =
cohousing organization that will consolidate existing cohousing =
resources for a longer term organization.  This short-term phase =
would combine resources from regional cohousing groups and the =
Cohousing Network.

SHORT-TERM TASKS

- Legal:  Revise the official RMCA bylaws and 501(c)3 incorporation =
documents to reflect the new organization=B9s mission and submit them =
for approval to the IRS and other entities.

- Choose Board of Trustees/Directors:  Decide board structure and =
elect members.

- Name:  Create a name for the organization consistent with its scope =
and intention.

- Board Meetings: Schedule at least one meeting to chart the course =
for phase one and to elect officers for the board including a process =
to deal with ongoing issues.  There might be an executive board =
and/or a board of trustees.

- Regional Cohousing Associations:  Determine what role regionals =
should have and what the national would do to nurture them.

- Cohousing Journal:  transfer existing journal from The Cohousing =
Network and hire an editor.

- Online Presence:  form a plan for supporting and enhancing existing =
cohousing web sites.  

- National Telephone Line: Set up an information phone line for media =
contact and for the general public.

- Dialogue  with all cohousing groups, Journal subscribers, web site =
visitors, cohousing-L discussion group members about priorities for =
the long-term phase of the continental cohousing organization.

- Membership:  begin a membership drive to support the long-term plan =
for the organization.

- Additional Fundraising:  Get a volunteer grant-writing and fund =
raising committee to work on funding the long term goals.

- Database:  consolidate existing databases of groups, members and =
interested parties.  Establish a process for keeping the information =
updated.

- Larger Communities Movement:  Strengthen liaisons with intentional =
communities and ecovillage organizations and with cohousing in other =
countries outside North America.


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PHASE TWO - LONG TERM
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(Same Mission)

Phase Two would be begun as soon as Phase One goals and tasks could =
be accomplished and as requisite funding and other resources become =
available. Phase Two would not only support the cohousing movement as =
we know it today, but broaden and deepen the movement. 

[Note that 501(c)3 organizations cannot lobby or be political in =
certain ways.  However, separate organizations could be created that =
influence governments to nurture and promote cohesive neighborhoods.]

PHASE TWO GOALS

The goals below are numbered for ease of reference, but are not in =
any particular order.  The national organization would establish =
implementation priorities dependent on available funding and human =
(volunteer) resources.  Tasks/projects are listed under each goal. =
Some items may be listed under more than one goal.

1.  ENHANCE NETWORKING AMONG EXISTING COMMUNITIES AND GROUPS FORMING =
COMMUNITIES.

- Expand the Cohousing Journal.

- Host various national and/or regional functions to promote =
cohousing and disseminate information.

- Enhance online activities (websites, discussion groups, etc.) to =
allow more networking among groups by including more information =
about cohousing site specifics, philosophical outlooks, etc.

- Increase visibility of cohousing in various media.

- Establish a network of regional cohousing associations that would =
hold local conferences, work with local media and enhance cooperation =
among cohousing groups.

-  Maintain lists of cohousing experts, consultants, developers and =
other service providers.

2.  EDUCATE THE GENERAL PUBLIC ABOUT COHOUSING

- Serve as contact point for national and local media re cohousing =
and related subjects.

- Do liaison work with people doing cohousing-related research, =
theses and dissertations.

- Influence developers, architects, planners, neighborhood activists, =
government officials about the merits of cohousing and the =
desirability of encouraging it as a solution/prevention for social =
problems.

- Get cohousing books into libraries on a wide scale.

-  Encourage community catalysts, for example fund one person in a =
cohousing group to try to spread cohousing among adjacent =
neighborhoods.

3.  PROVIDE INSPIRATION AND GUIDANCE FOR COMMUNITIES TO BECOME MORE =
SUSTAINABLE -- ENVIRONMENTALLY, SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY

- Environmental Sustainability:  sponsor conferences, online =
discussions, and seminars to help existing communities move more =
toward self-sufficiency on issues such as 

        - food growing including permaculture, CSA=B9S, edible landscape, =
etc.
        - energy efficiency, power generation, solar energy
        - environmental building methods and materials
        - land stewardship including organic plantings, site design, soil =
conservation,
     xeriscaping, water usage, etc.
        - automobile trip reduction, use of alternative transportation

- Social Sustainability:  
        - conflict resolution, consensus decision making, 
        - meeting planning
        - leadership, delegation, etc.

- Economic sustainability:
        - Develop programs to encourage on-site business endeavors for =
existing cohousing
        - Encourage the creation of communities around a given profession or =
company.
        - Encourage sound financial bases for cohousing communities

4.  BROADEN THE COHOUSING MOVEMENT TO INCLUDE A WIDER ECONOMIC =
SPECTRUM, MORE RACIAL/ETHNIC DIVERSITY AND ENCOURAGE CARETAKER =
COMMUNITIES THAT ARE DESIGNED TO PROVIDE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS OF ELDERS, =
DISABLED, BLIND, ETC.

-  Create a loan fund or other system for seeding low income =
cooperative cohousing and/or incorporating low income units in =
cohousing groups.  

-  Write grants and create a fund for helping individuals and =
existing neighborhoods becoming more cohesive and cooperative.

-  Fund  pilot projects for converting an apartment building, a condo =
complex, and a shopping center or other commercial facility into =
cohousing.

5.  EXERT INFLUENCE (DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY -- LEGALLY) ON =
GOVERNMENTS AND CORPORATIONS TO ENCOURAGE COHESIVE COMMUNITIES AND =
NEIGHBORHOODS

- Work to make zoning laws more friendly to cohousing.

- Develop pilot programs for how municipal governments might =
encourage neighborhood communities by empowering them to remodel =
urban blocks into cohousing.

- Encourage multi-use planning/zoning.

- Empower neighborhoods to decide zoning ordinance variances on a =
block by block level.

END OF INITIAL PROPOSAL

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