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
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:
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.