Re: Development Financial Structure
From: Jeff Coffin (
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 10:41:01 -0700 (MST)
Elizabeth Stevenson <tamgoddess [at]> writes:

> > If you want to rail against a fictitious development that requires
> > $5000 after 3 meeting, setup your argument as such.  Don't
> > misrepresent a group working hard towards building a community as
> > some eliteist development.
> If that's not the case, please explain it to me. When do people have
> to put money in?

Now.  After 4 general meetings, 300+ emails, many phone calls and
committee meetings, we are requiring full members to contribute
monthly to a capital fund and asking interested members to contribute
more than the alloted amount.

I will not divulge the number without the consent of our other
members, but it is not the $5000 you previously quoted.

Current core members who cannot or do not wish to pay into the capital
fund are moved to Associate member status, at the head of that queue,
until be have a firm grasp on the cash flow.  When the checks are in
and we have hard data, we will discuss specific ways to make the
financial demands of the development process manageable for those who
cannot come up with the monthly capital contributions.  We have
already talked about that situation at the meeting where the call for
money was made and while we like the idea of group members who are
comfortable with the risk and interested in making it happen
contributing more so that others can remain active, we have not made
any specific plans or arrangements yet.  I hope we can apply some of
the suggestions about integrating lower income households into our
financing structure.  I also agree with your assertions that we need
to have lower income members involved if we are to meaningfully
address their concerns.

Reading some other groups' agreements, I see that it is common for
groups to require that Associate members attend meetings and
participate in discussions with the caveat that they cannot block
consensus.  Given that our process is um, accelerated, I personally
think this should be a feature of our membership agreements as we
build our community.  In practice, we have informally adopted it with
respect to a household who had to move to Associate member status for
financial reasons.

Please try and understand the reality of *our* situation as opposed to
an *idealized* cohousing process before you judge us.  We have a site,
a contract to buy that land and time constraints that demand we spend
some money NOW on plans to put before the city ASAP or we will likely
have to start over.  Our situation demands concessions to the cold
reality of cash flow and contractual deadlines.  I'm not altogether
thrilled at committing money to this project without more clarity
around our groups process, membership details and commitments, legal
and financial structures we will use and host of things.  I *am*
thrilled that I have the opportunity to participate in a cohousing
development process that is focused, serious and going somewhere.  I
feel comfortable enough with our short lived community that I am
willing to put up funds to help make it real and I trust my groups
members enough to put my money where my philosophy is.  Now that I
think about it, I trust them even more for joining me in taking this
significant leap of faith.

Ideal?          no
Possible?       yes
Exciting?       yes
Sane?           hopefully :-)


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