|Investing in the common good - Cohousing, Coho/US - and an upcoming paid leadership opportunity||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Craig Ragland (craigraglandgmail.com)|
|Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2010 18:36:47 -0800 (PST)|
Dear Cohousers and Cohousing allies, Susan Hedgpeth's recent email about balancing investments in her community touched my heart and has inspired me to share some of the decisions I've made about investing in the Cohousing movement through the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US). I also write to give everybody an early heads-up that I'll be leaving my job as Executive Director of Coho/US in mid-2011. This creates an opportunity for another to be the next staff leader of the association - this will be a great opportunity for somebody to make a real difference. Shortly after the 2011 National Cohousing Conference in Washington DC, I expect to transition out of the Exec. Dir. role as the next Executive Director comes on board. I hope to introduce the next Executive Director at the 2011 Conference. Perhaps the job will be filled by one of the many fine people who lives in Cohousing today? Or, perhaps they will be part of a forming group? The Coho/US Board of directors will begin a formal search for my replacement soon - the announcement will be posted to Coho-L and on Cohousing.org. I got involved in Cohousing on a national level because of the role models I met as I helped create and then live at Songaia Cohousing Community. Our founders, the Crows and Lanphears, focused their lives on building the common good through work in different non-profit organizations. At that time, I was focusing my young adult energy on creating software - first as an entrepeneur, and then as a Microsoft employee. This work allowed my family to buy into the Songaia project, but it certainly did not feed my soul - or give me the chance to live my values. I had a great time doing really interesting, well-compensated work, but I did not really believe much in what I was doing. The Crows and Lanphears provided the early leadership that gathered and nurtured the people power and resources that has created a thriving community. They created a living legacy that lives on beyond the lives of Stan Crow and Fred Lanphear, who have now passed away. Some of you knew them and some of you continue to know their spouses, Carol Crow and Nancy Lanphear - two dearly loved members of Songaia who I'll be spending New Years eve with shortly. Stan and Fred provided me the inspiration and confidence to leave the business world to put my own energy into the cohousing movement. In 2005, I "retired" from Microsoft and began doing volunteer work, which lead to a role on the Coho/US board of directors. In 2007, after the board realized that direct management of a small, part-time staff was not working, it hired me as the association's staff leader. I began the newly created position in January, 2008 with the expectation that we would hire a more experienced non-profit leader. I was committed to helping the association grow into a financial position that would allow it to pay a living wage. We're almost there and I am committed to achieving this by the time I step down. I will be asking other Cohousing supporters and activists to help me make this possible. By working and living closely with others who have made other life choices, Cohousing has helped my wife and I explore our core values - and then take positive action in creating better lives for our family and friends. Those of us who live in Cohousing have the privilege of sharing resources with other people that we come to know well. And, we have the chance to be known well by others. This gives us greater resilence and helps us make the hard choices required to live lives that are less about material weath and more about the real wealth of living in community - lives that contribute to the common good as we reinforce good choices made by our neighbors. Happy New Year - now its time for me to go to Songaia's annual New Years party! Craig Ragland Coho/US Executive Director P.S. Coho/US is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization - you'll be hearing more about the ways that your support can help us realize a more sustainable world, one neighborhood at a time.
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