Investing in the common good - Cohousing, Coho/US - and an upcoming paid leadership opportunity
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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