RE: Funding projects?
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 16:45:08 -0700 (MST)
In answer to question #4, we pass a hat. We have also had fundraisers such
as book sales, and garage sales. This money is not taxable according to our
accountant and simply gets added to an account we have for such things and
spent. Sometimes something is coordinated through an individual and so money
goes to them and they pay out of their own checking account. Our recent
quilting workshop worked this way. The book exchange sales were credit at a
bookstore which we use to buy new volumes for our library. A cash fund was
created  when we sold baked goods at the garage sale, and this money was
used to buy books as well. We paid for our custom built play set by
donations, bought a chipper shredder by donation, and even a truck at one
point. At one time there was a club of people who bought a hot tub and
maintained it for about a year or so. This money was coordinated through an

We used to stock the commonhouse every year by having a Christmas tag for
the commonhouse on a little fake tree. Items that were needed in the kitchen
were made into ornaments and if you wanted to buy that thing for the
community, you simply took the ornament, bought it, wrapped it and put it
under the Christmas  tree labeled, TO the commonhouse from Santa.  We no
longer need to do this as we have an adequate budget and now gift to charity
by adopting several families instead.

There are many ways to encourage people to donate money to the community,
the only limitation is your imagination and the size of your communities
pockets. If you ask, and no one gives, then that can be a message that says
either people don't won't give money, or they don't particularly want that
thing you are trying to fund.

I just heard the other day that a local home owners group setup a 24 hour
rest stop coffee service, which raised $2,400 from people stopping on the
freeway, and dropping in change in the bucket in exchange for coffee.
Apparently they used some better than average coffee and got better than
average donations. This is something that our state offers groups.

There are lots of ways to raise money other than by taxing yourself

Rob Sandelin

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]]On Behalf Of Casey Morrigan
Sent: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 7:43 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: RE: [C-L]_Funding projects?

So, here are some additional questions we are hoping for responses to:

>>1) If we assess members through the condo association for a capital
improvement that we have agreed to, can we exempt any households that have
agreed not to block but have stated that they cannot afford their "share?"

2) If we have a fundraiser to voluntarily fund a project, can we funnel that
money into the condo association without tax consequences?  Or is there a
better method for collecting these funds?>>

Do you have an accountant who works with your books?  Ours has helped us
with these related questions.  For some categories of expenditures of an
HOA, members have to be assessed equally.  I'm fuzzy on the details.  We
maintain several non-HOA "pass-through" accounts, which are theoretically
maintained for the purpose of funding a specific event or project (in our
case we pay for social events, child care for meetings, and of course our
meal accounts) and which are not considered to be taxable income.

>>3) If we keep funds out of the condo association because of tax
consequences, how should we deal with liability for contractor accidents and
such?  We heard through the grapevine that another cohousing group had this
problem but we are very shy on the details.>>

Rosewind posted about this within the last month.

I suppose you need to clarify whether your HOA is commissioning the work
(with money gifted to it?) or whether someone else (who?) will be signing
the contract with a contractor. You can check with your contractor as to
whether his or her liability and workers' comp coverage is current.

>>4) How do other cohousing groups raise money for optional projects (i.e.
not replacement reserves)?>>

We haven't actually done this. Yet. Good luck

Casey Morrigan
Two Acre Wood
Sebastopol, California

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