- To become a Mosaic Commons cohousing affiliate
- A potential affiliate individual or household must have at least two cohousing members from two different households as "sponsors". (See below for the ongoing responsibilities of sponsors.)
- Sponsors should alert the membership integration team, then send an email to the Mosaic “Announce” list (not the general community discussion list) to introduce and propose the potential affiliates. The email should also list who the sponsors are.
- If any existing members of the cohousing group have concerns or objections about the proposed affiliate, they should discuss these with the membership integration team. Concerns should not be discussed on the community email list.
- If no one contacts the membership integration team with objections or concerns within two weeks of the proposal, the proposed affiliate is accepted automatically.
- If there are objections or concerns, the sponsors and those with concerns/objections should discuss the issue. (They may also wish to hold a discussion circle to get broader community input.) Hopefully, this will result in a resolution—the objection being withdrawn or the sponsors withdrawing the affiliate proposal. As a last resort, if a resolution is not possible, the question of approval will fall back on our usual plenary decision process.
- When an affiliate is accepted per the process above, a sponsor must
- Contact the Trustees with the name and the contact info for the new affiliate, as well as the affiliate’s pledge amount
- Introduce the new affiliate on the community email list
- The Trustees will add the new affiliate to the list of affiliates and contact the email list team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to add the new affiliate to relevant email lists and add website access.
- Sponsor responsibilities
- Sponsorship is an ongoing relationship. All current affiliates must have two sponsors from separate households who are members of the cohousing group. (Affiliates cannot sponsor other affiliates.)
- Sponsors serve as the link between the community and the affiliate.
- Sponsors should discuss the rights and responsibilities of affiliates with the affiliate or potential affiliate, including the necessity for pledging a monthly amount per our policy.
- Sponsors will serve as mentors for new affiliates or help the membership integration team identify a mentor.
- Remaining an affiliate
- An affiliate must have two sponsors to remain an affiliate. If a sponsor declines or is unable to continue sponsoring, they should contact the membership team and their sponsored affiliate. The membership integration team will ask if anyone else wants to volunteer. If no volunteers are found within a month, the affiliate will no longer be an affiliate.
- Once per year, the membership team will ask both sponsors and affiliates to reaffirm their desire to be an affiliate/to sponsor the affiliate.
- If the affiliate plus both sponsors do not reaffirm within 30 days, the affiliate will be removed.
- Affiliates must make a pledge toward the cohousing budget every year during the annual bid process. If an affiliate has not pledged the minimum amount by the bid deadline, the Trustees will contact the sponsors, who should talk to the affiliate about pledging. If the affiliate has not pledged within 60 days, they are no longer an affiliate.
- If at any time an affiliate is three months or more behind on their dues, the Trustees will contact the membership integration team and the sponsors, who should talk to the affiliate about paying. If the affiliate has not paid within 60 days thereafter, they are no longer an affiliate. (The Trustees may make exceptions in the case of financial hardship. Sponsors or affiliates may also wish to request funds from the Neighbor Fund.)
- Removing an affiliate
- An affiliate can choose to withdraw at any time. To do so, they should contact their sponsors, who should in turn notify the community and the Trustees.
- An affiliate can be removed at any time by plenary decision, whether they have a sponsor or not.
- Someone wanting to propose removal of an affiliate should talk to the affiliate's sponsors and/or the membership integration team and/or the affiliate to try and find a resolution. (The parties involved may wish to hold a discussion circle as part of this process.)
- If a resolution can't be found, and the affiliate does not withdraw voluntarily, the member integration team or the proposing individual may call for plenary decision through the standard process for plenary decisions.
- The plenary will be asked to approve the affiliate’s continued participation following Mosaic’s standard decision-making process. If the plenary does not approve the affiliate’s continued participation, they will be removed as an affiliate.
These notes are not part of the policy per se, but are included here to provide additional context for this policy.
Team responsibilities related to affiliates
- Maintain a list of current affiliates and their sponsors
- Work with tech team to have affiliates added or removed from email lists and website access when needed
- Notify membership integration team if an affiliate isn’t paying dues or hasn’t made a yearly pledge
Membership Integration Team:
- Manage process of accepting and removing affiliates (e.g. keeping track of member objections, proposing acceptance or removal to the plenary if necessary)
- Reach out to all affiliates and their sponsors once per year so they can reaffirm their interest in being an affiliate/sponsoring
- Notify the trustees of changes in affiliate status (joining, leaving, new sponsors, etc.)
Currently, Mosaic Commons’ membership and participation policy has three different categories for membership: HOA members (automatic for all owners), cohousing members (optional for residents), and cohousing “friends” (for non-residents, or residents who don’t wish to become full members).
There have been concerns expressed by some in the community that the process by which someone becomes a “friend” is ill-defined, and that there’s no process at all by which someone is removed as a “friend”.
Here are some key points the ad hoc team considered when developing this policy:
- In our polling of “friends” and community members, both groups were very keen on having the ability to involve people in the community who don’t live here! Apparently our “friends” really like our community, and vice versa.
- The word “friends” comes with emotional baggage in our culture. Rejecting or removing a “friend” might suggest we don’t like them, or that they are no longer welcome to visit the community. “Affiliate” is a more neutral term. Someone can still be friends with people in the community without having an official status!
- Our current process of approving “friends” by discussing them in the third person on the list and then “voting” on their approval is needlessly socially and emotionally difficult.
- Affiliates should, by definition, be a part of our community. The requirement to have two sponsors is a way of indicating that at least two people in the community consider someone as “belonging” to the community, enough that those sponsors are willing to commit the time and effort to make sure that the affiliate is truly a part of the community.
- Requiring affiliates to actively reaffirm their desire to be here prevents the situation where people just kind of “disappear” without any clear indication of whether they are really still part of the community.
- We currently have no mechanism by which to remove friends/affiliates. Once someone is a “friend”, they stay that way forever, even if they aren’t truly part of the community, if they aren’t connected with anyone here, if they aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities as friends (including paying dues), or if there are members who have active objections to their involvement. We view being an affiliate as a privilege, not a right. As such, it should be straightforward to remove them if appropriate.