Re: Membership
From: Philip Dowds (
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2018 04:07:02 -0700 (PDT)
Without suggesting any amounts, I’ll make some general points re front-end cash:

1)  In most situations, money put in during the development and construction 
stages comes off the price of the dwelling unit.
2)  If for some reason the project fails, sunk costs are lost, and if any money 
is left over, it can be returned in proportion to the amount put in.
3)  If investor/members drop out along the way, can they take their money when 
they go?  This is complicated, and benefits from some clear understandings 
developed in advance.  And …
4)  What if a participating member has limited cash, and can’t keep up with 
on-going demands for more venture capital?  Again, this is complicated — and 
may suggest that this member doesn’t actually have the financial resources to 
buy a house without community help.

It’s hard to understand how front-end cash contributions can be less than five 
figures per household.  But just as important as the amount are all the shared 
understandings and agreements about how to handle the inevitable contingencies.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

> On Oct 3, 2018, at 11:33 PM, Dean smith via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> wrote:
> Greetings from Sunnyside Village Cohousing in Marysville, WA.  We’re just 
> forming even though our two founding members already have the land.  We’re 
> wondering what other groups have done to define membership, especially during 
> the formative stage.  We know that we will need $$ to proceed with 
> infrastructure, etc., and we want to do a lot of social development while 
> design, permitting and building is taking place.  How much is too much to 
> expect to charge for membership?  What levels of membership have worked for 
> others?  
> Dean Smith
> Sunnyside Village Cohousing
> dean [at] <mailto:dean [at]>
> 425-328-9979
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