Re: Getting the work done
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 02:20:39 -0800 (PST)
At Cornerstone, we're experimenting with a variant of Takoma's system:  Any 
particular acquisition or improvement is inevitably of greater interest to some 
members, less to others.  Having no kids, I can't say a new playground 
structure is my personal top priority.  But I support (politically and 
financially) such an improvement because I believe that my own personal 
interests will be comparably supported some other time, in some other way.

But how to pay?  What we're trying out here is the concept that if you're part 
of the community, then you've also signed up for the community values — like 
intergenerational living — and thus you help pay for things supportive of these 
shared values whether or not you want them personally.   BUT AND HOWEVER, if 
you are having serious financial problems, ones which might even force you to 
leave the community, then you can self-excuse from participation in optional 
expenditures like a swing set or a garden shed or remodeling a community space. 
 Just notify the Treasurer, and you're off the hook.  It's strictly honor 
system, no submittal or review of household financial records is desired or 

So where Takoma presumes you're out unless you choose to buy in, we presume 
you're in unless you choose to opt out.

R Philip Dowds AIA
Cornerstone Cohousing
175 Harvey Street, Unit 5
Cambridge, MA 02140

On Nov 14, 2012, at 6:55 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 

> While almost no one pays instead of works in our community, we have had 
> instances where people contributed money to purchases. This is also 
> prohibited in some communities because it might lead to the rich controlling 
> purchases. We have definitely not found this to be true. We decide what we 
> want and we ask for donations. Those who want the object the most often 
> donate. In the case of a Universal Gym the community had to approve the 
> purchase but it was paid for by about 8-10 people, not the community. The 
> conditions are that it becomes the property of the community to be used as 
> any other facility.

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