Re: Setting up new membership fees for Friends and neighbors in Lakeland
From: Lynne Markell (
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2018 09:33:41 -0800 (PST)
I live in Ottawa, so grant sources may be different in your town. One grant was 
from the local community foundation that was interested in what we were trying 
to do - provide a supportive community for seniors to age well. At that time we 
were  attempting to provide affordable housing as well.
The other was a national alternative investment fund that helped groups prepare 
for applying to them for financing.
These are very specific to our project, and we had to fit into their criteria 
and get a local group that had charitable status to administer the money. We 
also had people in our group that knew how to apply for grants and write grant 
proposals because of their work experience in non-profit organizations. This is 
a very useful skill.
Neither of these grants were specifically for cohousing.

My advice- look around your community and see who would be interested in what 
you are trying to accomplish. Describe your project in terms of what it will do 
for the community, how it will meet a community need, how it is innovative, or 
how it will help disadvantaged people. Don't talk about about your need for 
money to pay for expenses. Talk about doing feasibility work to prove it will 
work or developing a plan so it can be accomplished (so it can provide some 
community value)
My advice comes from years of experience and if this is new to you, find 
someone who understands this and can help you. Pay them to write your grant 
proposals. If you haven't already done so, hire a cohousing consultant. 
The founders of a cohousing project have to put out money to plan their future 
community. There will be costs, so face this and ask for money. Every group 
goes through this phase.
Hope this helps.

Lynne Markell, 
Lmarkell [at]
(613) 842-5222

> On Dec 7, 2018, at 8:47 AM, Fred-List manager <fholson [at]> 
> wrote:
> Debbie Fox <xof5 [at]>
> is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
> Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
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> --------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
> Lynn Markell:
> I would like to know more about the grants that you obtained to pay
> for attorney fees, etc.
> Debbie Fox Ralston Creek Cohousing Arvada, CO
> Lynne Markell <lmarkell [at]> wrote:
> Sounds like you are in the startup phase. Have you set up a formal
> organization for this  phase? We started a non profit organization
> and charged a $200 membership fee for full members and $50 for an
> associate. Full members had a vote. Associates could switch up, when
> they were ready.
> Then we created an equity membership with terms and conditions such as
> being willing to share the deposit for a bid on land and the down
> payment for the mortgage. This cost of $1500 ( per household) was used
> along with the original membership fees for expenses. This money was
> at risk, but will be credited to the final purchase,price, if the
> project goes ahead.
> We got two small grants to help us with some feasibility work to pay
> for lawyers, consultants, etc.  Generally you should count on costs
> of between $30 - 50k., until you get into land and architect costs.
> Benefits are an investment in a future home, larger sums being used
> against final unit purchase price, first in line for unit selection,
> and the right to make decisions and policies. People who join near the
> end may not have the same opportunities to shape the community. Hope
> this helps.
> Lynne Markell,
> Lmarkell [at]
> (613) 842-5222
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