About The Fellowship for Intentional Community
We believe that community is an essential building block for creating a cooperative and sustainable world. The structures and wisdom of community are both a means and an end to meeting the needs of all people and the planet, and must be available, understood, appreciated, and developed. We envision cooperative communities of all kinds working together to meet these needs.
Our mission is to support and promote the development of intentional communities and the evolution of cooperative culture.
Our primary focus at this time is the US and Canada.
- To provide and facilitate access to resources that support the creation, development, and maintenance of intentional communities.
- To provide accurate and comprehensive information about all forms of intentional community.
- To make significant contributions to the articulation and promotion of cooperative culture.
- To create opportunities for the public to learn about and experience intentional communities and cooperative culture.
- To disseminate broadly what is being learned in intentional communities.
- To develop the network of intentional communities for the sharing of innovations, information, and other forms of mutual benefit.
- To identify and import into the world of intentional communities innovations in technology, economics, governance, cooperative culture and other areas that can benefit them.
- To ally with other movements and organizations that share our values, learn from them, share what we have learned, work together for mutual benefit and to raise awareness of the worldwide movement towards sustainability, cooperation, and social justice.
Definitions and how we relate to them organizationally:
Community: A group of people who identify with each other. The association could be based on any combination of geography, history, vision, purpose, philosophy, or common social, economic, or political interests.
People meet their needs for community in a wide variety of ways. We celebrate the work of other organizations who share our values who are promoting community in various forms. Our primary focus is serving intentional communities and on contributing the lessons learned from intentional community to the development of cooperative culture.
Intentional Community: A group of people who live together or share common facilities and who regularly associate with each other on the basis of explicit common values.
FIC works with intentional communities, including cohousing, ecovillages, cooperative houses, communes and other shared living arrangements. We believe there is strength in this diversity.
Cooperative Culture: The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs among people that are characterized by sharing, empathy, self-responsibility, understanding and celebration of differences, peaceful conflict resolution, high regard for connection and relationship, interdependence, and care for how things are done as much as what gets done.
We see cooperative culture as an essential foundation of a just and sustainable world. Intentional communities are places where the transition to cooperative culture is often accelerated and deeply practiced. We believe this transition has powerful implications for the world at large. This can be seen especially in the realms of group dynamics, cooperative decision-making, health and well being, cooperative economics, and social sustainability, but also in the experimentation and implementation of a wide range of sustainable technologies in community settings. Intentional communities are places where we can observe directly and articulate the benefits of cooperative culture, and we are committed to playing a role in its development and promotion.
Our explicit organizational values are:
The social ills our work most directly address includes:
- Social isolation – lack of connection and belonging
- Economic disenfranchisement
- Oppression and exploitation
- Overconsumption, and its resultant unsustainability
- Dependence on environmentally destructive systems
- The struggle of individuals to live a values-based life
- A lack of right relationship (to self, others, and the planet)
- Inability to resolve differences peacefully and creatively
Audience: Who are we creating programs to serve?
- Existing and forming intentional communities.
- Individuals living in, seeking to live in, or starting intentional communities
- Individuals participating in or seeking to participate in manifestations of cooperative culture
- Organizations and movements who share our values and are developing cooperative culture
- Educators, the media, researchers, policy developers and anyone else who is seeking and/or generating accurate and comprehensive information about intentional communities and cooperative culture
Through… : We meet constituents needs through these programs:
Publications: multimedia resources we publish and distribute through Community Bookstore, including the Communities Directory and Communities magazine – the Journal of Cooperative Living. This also includes our digital publications like the FIC Blog, eNewsletter, and an active presence in social media.
Online Resources: www.ic.org – including the online Communities Directory, Community Bookstore, an events calendar, article archives, a wiki, and listings for community consultants.
Events: We host events and partner with aligned organizations for mutual benefit.
Mentorship: We provide advice, resources, and trainings in best practices for cooperative culture and intentional community development, and we create opportunities for dialog and networking among communities for mutual benefit.
Modeling: We embody cooperative culture in the operation of our organization, and celebrate inspirational models of cooperation in a variety of ways.
Meetings: Our organizational meetings operate by consensus in a way that encourages participation from all who attend. Meetings are held each spring and fall at intentional communities across the continent.
Development: We provide opportunities for members and donors to manifest our common values in the world.
Fiscal Sponsorships: We provide fiscal sponsorships for groups who are in alignment with our mission.
Archives: We are a repository of documents that hold the history of the North American communities movement.
Experiments: All of our programs are grounded in the wisdom of many years of community and cooperative experience. We also recognize that cooperative culture is a field that is evolving and being developed by a variety of organizations and movements. We support experimentation in ecological, economic, social and personal technologies and provide forums where the results of those experiments can be articulated and disseminated widely.
We are Sustained by…: Financial Model
The work of FIC is sustained by a combination of:
- Business income from products related to our mission, that we produce or that are produced by others, sold through Community Bookstore and other markets
- Advertising income from like-minded entities who wish to reach our audience
- Income from other programs and services related to our mission
- Membership, sponsors, and donations
- Foundation support
These are the questions we ask when evaluating if FIC will take on an initiative:
- Alignment: Is it aligned with our mission? Does it effectively meet one or more of our objectives? Are we an appropriate organization for the job?
- Resource Impact: What are the income and expenses? What are the labor needs? Is the outcome worth the effort and expense?
- Current Capacity: What is our capacity to implement this program in a quality way? Do we have the skills, support, and enthusiasm amongst board, staff, and volunteers to deliver?
- Social Impact: How many people will it impact? Can we affect people’s daily lives or have a major impact on their lives? Is this something that is sharable, replicable, and/or inspirational for other organizations?
- Capacity Building: How well does it develop our organizational capacity, leadership capacity, and/or partnerships with other organizations? Will we learn from it? Will this develop an asset for the organization? Will it help us develop beneficial partnerships with other organizations?
- Positioning: Are we the right organization to do this? Should someone else be doing this? Should we do this in partnership?
- Longevity: Does it have a future, given what we know now about future trends?
Learn more About FIC:
Did you know FIC’s origins were actually in 1937? You can read more about FIC on Wikipedia.
Intentional Communities have for many centuries been places where idealists have come together to create a better world. Although there are thousands of intentional communities in existence today, and many others in the formative stages, most people are unaware of them or the roots from which they spring.
The Fellowship for Intentional Community exists to increase public awareness of communities. We offer information and referrals for those who are actively seeking, or simply curious about, alternate lifestyles for themselves and their families.
“To make community accessible to all those who seek it.”
Communities come in all shapes and sizes, and share many similar challenges — such as defining membership, succeeding financially, distributing resources, making decisions, raising children, dividing work equitably, and choosing a standard of living. Many wrestle with questions about right livelihood, spiritual expression, land use, and the role of service in our lives. At the same time, there is limited awareness of what others are doing to meet these challenges — and much to gain through sharing information and experiences with others exploring similar paths.
The Fellowship for Intentional Community documents the visions and experiences of life in community, and actively promotes dialogue and cooperation among communities.
Intentional communities are often aware of themselves as different from mainstream culture, and many choose to highlight these differences. Yet, virtually all communities share a common root value of cooperation. The Fellowship for Intentional Community facilitates the extension of cooperation beyond membership boundaries and common values, understanding that differences can be a cause for celebration, and an occasion for enrichment and growth.
The Fellowship is helping draw the circles of cooperation ever larger, and assisting with the personal stretching that this requires In that spirit, FIC membership is open to everyone.
Sky Blue – Executive Director
Over the last 18 years, Sky Blue has been a member of Twin Oaks Community, a housing collective, a student housing cooperative, and a cohousing community. He’s helped start two small worker co-operatives and a small car-sharing system. He’s visited dozens of communities and cooperatives, in the US and in Europe. Living in community and furthering the larger cooperative movement has been a primary focus of his entire adult life.
He’s played a formal or informal role in a number of projects including, Board member and consultant to the forming community Ecovillage Charlottesville, consultant to the West Coast Communities Conference, staff facilitator for PEACH, a community health care fund. He also consults on a limited basis with other forming or developing groups.
At Twin Oaks he’s had many jobs, including, manager of the Twin Oaks Communities Conference, serving on numerous community committees, production and management for the community’s soyfoods business, and serving on the planning committee for the Twin Oaks 50th anniversary celebration in 2017. He also serves as one of the Twin Oaks delegates to the Federation of Egalitarian Communities.
On a more personal level, Sky is an amateur musician and DJ and loves organizing all manner of events, from parties to conferences. Personal growth and healthy interpersonal relationships are another focus of his life. He is the father of a teenager. His life is about bringing people together to make the world a better place for everyone.
Board of Directors
Harvey Baker, PhD, Dunmire Hollow Community (Waynesboro, TN)
Harvey is a cofounder (1974) of Dunmire Hollow Community, and helped reinvigorate and expand the FIC in the mid-80s. He has served on the board of the FIC for over 25 years, and also contributes as member of the Oversight, Ministry, and Personnel Cmtees. He is past president of the Communal Studies Association. He co-owns a community based custom woodworking business, and serves the Waynesboro community as high school soccer coach. He and his partner Dorie Mueller grow and eat a wide range of organic fruits and vegetables in their garden. He plays soccer and bicycles (and shovels organic matter into the garden) for exercise and fun, and plays harmonica in a wide range of musical genres and venues. He presents workshops at various communities conferences each year, and is a volunteer auctioneer when needed. He hosts community visitors, touring bicyclists, and SERVAS members, giving them a glimpse of a more community based lifestyle.
Betsy has 25 years in the field of community development. She is founding partner of Planning for Sustainable Communities, a small consultancy serving community deveopment corporations and anti-poverty agencies. She is co-organizer of East Bay Cohousing, a 2300 member group devoted to intentional community, sustainability, and transition economics. Past positions include Housing and Economic Development Director at Somos Mayfair in San Jose, CA; Senior Reseach Associate (Transportation & Climate Policy) at Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and Diirector of the MBA Program in Sustainable Enterprise at New College of California. Betsy has a PhD and Master’s in City & Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and a BA in Urban Studies and Small Group Dynamics from Beacon College. From 2006-2010 she was Research Director at Coho/US, and continues to be active with the Cohousing Research Network. She has lived in Berkeley Cohousing with her husband Raines Cohen, since 2003. Betsy joined the FIC Board in 2011.
Other FIC affiliations include: Communities Magazine author, guest editor; member of the Sustainability Education Committee.
Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage (Rutledge, MO)
Ma’ikwe is the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture at Dancing Rabbit, and the Sustainable Communities Director for Commonomics USA’s Materialized Empathy project. She has done sustainability education work for over 25 years, and combines that experience with over 2 decades of intentional community living to create wholistic, practical education experiences. Maikwe also teaches group dynamics (including facilitation, cooperative leadership and consensus), and is a climate change activist. In 2007, she published her first book, Passion as Big as a Planet, which looks at the intersection between spiritual development and effective ecological activism. She is currently working on starting a new community in Laramie, Wyoming with her partner, Matt Stannard.
Other FIC affiliation: former Events Team chair, Oversight Team member and Community Bookshelf Manager; Development Committee member and regular contributor to Communities magazine.
Marty Klaif, Shannon Farm (Afton VA)
Marty has lived most of his adult life (35 years) in intentional community. He is a co-founder of Network for New Culture, a bi-coastal organization which has promoted personal growth, personal empowerment and social change since 1995. He has been a leader in the business world, acting as a corporate and classroom trainer, and project manager, including being a founding partner of Abacus, Inc., an early Apple distributor that was key in Apple getting a foothold in the business world. Marty has brought his considerable experience to FIC for the past 13 years.
Other FIC Affiliations: Oversight Team member, Ministry Committee, Board Liaison for Staff for Web and Communities Magazine
Cynthia’s passion is making inspiring ideas happen. She works as a community organizer, educator, and facilitator for the transition to a new story of humanity based on the interbeing of all life. Cynthia has consulted communities around the world – from cities and universities to traditional villages and intentional communities – in how to thrive as models for a regenerative future. She teaches online courses and offers workshops in bringing people together to create lasting change. She thrives when holding spaces in which a collective voice can speak.
Cynthia currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), the Fellowship for Intentional Community, and GEN North America. She is a leader in NextGEN, a youth focused organization within GEN. She has led volunteer trips to InTerraTree, a sustainable community project in Togo, West Africa. In her present home of Asheville, North Carolina, Cynthia is the program coordinator of the Resilient Living School at Ashevillage Sanctuary and is a lead organizer of the Asheville unConference, an event and movement to empower citizens to actively create the future of their own city.
With a strong visual aptitude, Cynthia has developed a skill set in many forms of creative design, including permaculture landscape, website, and graphic design. Her design services are offered at www.cynthiatina.com
About the FIC Website
The Intentional Communities Website (ic.org) came online in 1994 and is published by the Fellowship for Intentional Community. This website is funded by donations and sales of online ads and all labor is provided volunteer and/or at very low rates by those who support the FIC and the communities movement. Consider making a donation or becoming an FIC member.
Christopher Kindig – FIC Business Manager
Roshana Ariel – Online Directory Manager
Pavan Rikhi – Webmaster
McCune Renwick-Porter – lives at Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, VA and he manages the FIC’s email newsletter as well as many aspects of the Community Store. He also handles the bulk of customer services requests and provides technical support.
About the Communities Directory
The Fellowship for Intentional Community published its first print edition of the Communities directory in 1990 with new editions in 1995 and 2000. In 2004 we brought the complete Communities Directory to this website and are now allowing communities to update their information online, thus providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information available.
This effort is funded through donations and volunteer labor. If you would like to support this project see our donations page. The print version of the Communities Directory has been published based on the data from this website for those wishing to have a hard copy version.
Previous Contributors to the Website and Communities Directory
|Tony Sirna lived at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri until 2014. He served on the FIC‘s board of directors since 1997, stepping down in 2013 after 17 years of service. He was the coordinator for this website since 2005. The primary coding for the Communities Directory was done by Skyhouse Consulting, with the bulk done by member Tony Sirna. Code was also supplied by Ofek and his work on the ICDB.org site.|
|Kate Adamson was the coordinator for the online Communities Directory, helping communities keep listings up to date and accurate. She lives near Charlottesville, VA.|
|The previous website design was created by Mark Mazziotti who lives at Red Earth Farms in Northeast Missouri. Mark also helped design the FIC’s logo.|
|Amy Seidan also lives at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and in Skyhouse. She has been instrumental in the graphic design of this site.|
|Jillian was on the road in the USA for two years as production manager of the 2000 edition of the Communities Directory and contributed to this website for many years. She lives at Great Oak Cohousing in Ann Arbor.|
|Elph first became acquainted with cooperative living in 1987 while at college and has been involved with the FIC and CSA since 1991. He worked at managing editor of the 2000 edition of the Communities Directory. He keeps busy learning about people and relationships, and working as a computer geek. Current projects involve living at Great Oak Cohousing.|
|Michael enjoys being focused on the present and finding pleasure in all the little things of life. He has lived in community since 1990 ranging from small co-op houses to the large (Sunward Cohousing) community. He became involved with the FIC at the Fall 94 Board meeting and was instrumental in the creation and maintenance of the ic.org site. He also co-managed cohousing.org for several years. Michael is still active in the communities movement.|
|Velma is a long time communitarian and currently lives at Abundant Dawn Community in Virginia. She is not currently active in ic.org work but she created the first ic.org store.|