Our crowdfunding campaign starts Tuesday December 1 at 7am CST at generosity.com. Please be ready to help as soon as it starts! We need our friends to help plant seeds.
I’ll send another reminder with details, in time for you to take action.
I’m excited to share our new video with you! I’ve been working hard on it, with my friend Marina Kelly who’s earned a lot of timebank hours the last couple weeks… You’ll likely recognize some faces and voices, stay tuned…
And you’re welcome to start stocking up on MAN swag right away too, at http://www.cafepress.com/mutualaidnetworks – we’ll be adding more designs soon too!
Thanks for all your support. Things are getting exciting!
As some of you know, I made an attempt to do an east coast tour in late September, which was cut short by an opportunity to head to British Columbia for the Impact Economy Summit. I’ll write a separate post on that but for now, a report on the eastward jaunt…
Well, first I’ll back up to the Monday before I left, September 21, when the Community Response Team held a panel meeting to address the problem of police shootings in our neighborhood. It’s relevant here because action like this factors into our ideas about a Mutual Aid Network for the Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex. You can read more about that here.
A few days later I drove to Yellow Springs Ohio where I was asked to present a workshop on timebanking and Mutual Aid Networks at the Arthur Morgan Institute’s Community Solutions conference, Climate Crisis Solutions: Tools for Transition.
Saturday morning Kat Walter and I did a workshop to show how timebanking can work and then brainstorm about local applications.
After that I headed to my sister Gwynne and niece Ariel’s house in Dayton. I visited the great arts magnet school where Gwynne teaches art, Stivers, Gwynne and I watched the blood moon eclipse from her back deck, we all chatted about Ariel’s really cool ideas about how to use timebanking to help bring a grocery store to a food desert, and had a good and relaxing time.
I went back to Yellow Springs on September 29 to do a workshop on Mutual Aid Networks. That was cool. We mainly focused on how to start timebanking effectively, how we can apply it to solve problems or build community capacity, and how the framework of Mutual Aid Networks can take it all farther. And my sister generously offered to help me with drawing in the future… :)
That evening I drove to my parents’ house in Akron and had a short but sweet visit with them the next day.
Then jaunted to Kent to have dinner with the wonderful Abby Greer of Crooked River Alliance of TimeBanks. Then played a show the TimeBank hosted at the Stone Tavern. That was tons of fun! and I somehow failed to take any pictures there…
Next day drove 7 hours to New York to play a show at Caffe Vivaldi. On a beautiful grand piano. A really cool crew showed up including Alessandra whom I’d recently met at Giftival in Rome, Mashi Blech the timebank goddess of NYC, Eric and Annie who had come to the MAN Up summit, dear old friends Tracy and Sabrina and Ignacio (new old friend), friends of friends and a handful of strangers (or whatever the kids are calling them these days).
I stayed up late with Sabrina, then got up the next day to drive 2 hours to see Kathy Perlow, Hasshan and Janelle of the Lehigh Valley MAN pilot. I got to hear Hasshan and Janelle’s vision for building this wellness and justice-oriented community capacity development project, based in a federally qualified health center. It’s really cool! You’ll get a chance to learn more about it soon as we bring all our pilot sites online in a visible way, coming soon (November).
After that I drove as quickly as I could back across the country to Chicago, where I got to see my great friends Ann, Barry and Hannah, and see the play they’ve all been working on, MERCHILD, at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. See it this weekend (last chance!) if you live anywhere near there! Very powerful.
and flew out early the next morning for Whistler, British Columbia, for the Impact Economy Summit. Which I’ll write about next…
Things continue to move at lightning pace here in MANland. That’s a good thing!
We just embarked on a web summit, an online learning journey to help us all get grounded in what Mutual Aid Networks are and what they can do for us and our various and intersecting communities.
Please join us! Every Wednesday into August and likely beyond. Yesterday (July 1) was the premier session, an overview of Mutual Aid Networks, a summary of how we expect the series to go, and a preview of how we’ll lead into our MAN Up Summit August 20-28. Which will culminate in the ‘grand opening’ public launch of the Main MAN and some of our initial pilot sites.
Stay tuned for more info on the summit, but you can make plans to come to Madison Wisconsin that week. If you live in Madison you’re welcome to offer your home to our out-of-town guests. We’ll experiment with MAN-style sharing and reciprocity (i.e. you could ask for timebank hours, other resources to recognize your generosity) to support the people traveling here to share their skills and ideas. We’re expecting Julien Dussart, a Wezer programmer and complementary currency leader coming from France, James Priest, a Sociocracy leader and trainer coming from the UK, Stephen Hinton, Founder of Transition Sweden and board member of the JAK cooperative bank, plus MAN partners and community leaders from Detroit, St. Louis, Pennsylvania, Chicago and more. And if we’re lucky Nigeria by way of India – our newest Advisory Board member Bayo Akomolafe. Very exciting! We’ll learn a lot and get a lot of work done. Deep trainings, deep collaborative explorations, our first Main MAN general membership meeting, a MAN Up simulation game, and celebrations! You’re probably wondering how you can help out, besides coming and offering up housing. Well, you can help us pay for people’s travel and other related expenses. Like space, food, all the other supplies that go into making a great party and getting serious work done.
In other news, on Sunday Lorrie Hurckes (Dane County TimeBank Co-Director and Youth Court Coordinator, plus my Ladyscissors bandmate) and I embark on a trip to the UK. This will be a trip for work, fun and music. We’ll do some timebanking, restorative justice, and MAN events, plus a few shows. The impetus for the trip initially was (is) the Leading Wellbeing International Research Festival, where I’ll be doing a little session on DCTB and how we can apply and expand on our models globally via MANs – with Leander Bindewald (Time For the World collaborator circa 2011)! Plus playing some music, with Lorrie joining on a few songs. Plus Lorrie and I will be presenting a paper titled: The Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex: We Can Do It! I’m very excited about this paper, and then about going ahead and doing it once we have it written up properly. :)
This festival has a lot of focus on leadership development which is great timing, especially as Lorrie takes on more leadership in DCTB (where she’s already a major force, and picking up more of my slack all the time) as I shift my work focus from there to a full-time focus on MANs and music. Generally applying MAN practices to do exactly what I want to with my life. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to do that soon too, and we can learn how together – that’s the point of the whole thing.
I digress. Before the festival we’ll hit London, Milton Keynes, Bath, Totnes, and Bristol, connecting with timebankers/co-opers/MAN-curious/restorative justicers. After the festival in the Lake District (and hiking and kayaking and those kinds of things) we go to Hull, another MAN pilot site. I’m very excited to see all the things they have going on there, which include a timebank and a city-sponsored cryptocurrency, Hull Coin, designed to support residents in poverty. And I/we have a show at the Adelphi on July 22!
And then come back to some Ladyscissors shows, including our set at my (and our host’s) birthday party, the Rock for Restorative Justice benefit for DCTB’s RJ projects. August 8.
Followed by the MAN Up summit later in August!!!
More on that as it develops. Meanwhile, don’t forget to give till it hurts :)
Thanks for reading,
p.s. a little bonus present for getting all the way to the end
St. Louis and New Orleans learning trip report – Allied Community Coop, Mutual Aid Networks, Restorative JusticePosted: 29 Jun, 2015
Some of the leaders of Madison’s Allied Community Coop (ACC) had the great fortune to take a learning trip to St. Louis and New Orleans. Thanks so much to the Willy Street Coop, Rebecca Kemble, and our other generous donors who helped make it happen!
Coop leaders who went were Cassandra Sonko, ACC Board President; Sina Davis, ACC Board member and former ACC Coordinator; Gloria Farr, ACC Board Member and representative of Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development and Allied Wellness Center; Lavern Harrison, newly hired ACC staff; and me, ACC Board Treasurer and representative of Dane County TimeBank.
We had a very full agenda! First we had breakfast with the fantastic Renee Marver, one of the organizers of the very first modern timebank in the United States, Grace Hill Settlement House’s MORE Time Dollar Exchange. The neighbors and staff at Grace Hill worked together in 1981 to invent Service Credits, which became known as time dollars and then timebank hours over time. But it was their own creative approach to making up for big cuts in government support of vulnerable people, and the massive success they had is a testament to the strength of that vision. Renee was able to share a lot of their story and the awesome programs they ran, which included a Neighborhood College, six timebank stores, support for vulnerable neighbors, inter-generational care and exchange, and much more. The MORE exchange had tens of thousands of members in neighborhoods throughout St. Louis in its heyday.
After changes in agency leadership much of that activity ceased, but the Patch Neighborhood Center is still going strong. We visited and learned about their timebank store, where neighbors get new toiletries and cleaning supplies for the hours they work in the community, the “Little Macy’s” thrift store where they sell secondhand clothing to support their operational costs, their inter-generational gatherings that connect seniors and kids, their daycare, the field trips they organize, and mostly, the fact that the neighbors run the show. There are a couple staff who started as participants in activities there and have been around 12+ years – including Debbie, who I’ve met at a couple conferences and our previous field trip back in 2007. Great to see people doing what they love!
The leaders of St. Louis’ wonderful timebank, the Cowry Collective, and a new MORE, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, organized two discussions with us. The first was focused on Restorative Justice and included members of the Coalition to Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex, plus people active in juvenile justice as advocates and also as professionals (an arts teacher at the juvenile detention center which seems open to innovation). We had a very stimulating discussion where each of our individual experiences were able to spawn ideas relevant to each other’s projects. For example, we learned about ‘neighborhood accountability boards’ being put into place by St. Louis’ formal juvenile justice system. Pieces of that structure could apply here in Madison, but initiated at the community level which will give us more freedom to keep kids’ needs front and center. We were able to suggest some ways to involve more youth as leaders there and to advocate for some creative approaches that could involve timebanking to help build skills and resources.
The next day we were joined by a few of the same people and a couple new ones for a conversation about Mutual Aid Networks and how that structure could be applied to help us all take our work farther. We talked with attendees about the MAN Up Summit in August and about pursuing further collaborations. We’re all excited to see what unfolds.
Immediately after the MAN discussion we hit the road to get a start on the drive to beautiful New Orleans. It’s 10 hours from St. Louis and we decided to stop near Memphis, so we could take a quick trip by Graceland in the morning just for fun.
Then we arrived in New Orleans just in time for the NOLA Timebank potluck that Gretchen Zalkind, NOLA TimeBank founder and coordinator, organized in conjunction with our visit. This was great! There were organizers of local cooperative businesses, our hosts at Conserve Our Resource Economy (CORE), people ready to engage in the neighborhood in new ways. We shared a lot of our experience with Allied Coop and had open discussion about how we could all take our work farther.
The next morning we visited Backstreet Cultural Museum, one of my very favorite places and where I first learned of Mutual Aid Societies and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, my inspiration for the cooperative savings and community investment pools piece of Mutual Aid Networks. I was really excited to take my fellow ACC leaders there so they could see the real deal, and think about how they want to apply it in their own lives and neighborhood. We got a great tour and learned a lot. Plus we had the good fortune to have a Jazz Funeral pass nearby while we were there. The museum guides went out with us to see it, and told us that jazz funerals welcome everyone to join in celebration of the life of the person about to be buried. It was very festive and very beautiful.
Later that day I left my cohorts to get some rest and hang out with a Louisiana-based friend while I went to meet Anna Boyer (part of NOLA Timebank also) at the C4Tech & Design Coop where she’s a worker owner. Very cool cooperative business begun in 2008, and I learned details about how it’s run that will really come in handy for our various MAN efforts. C4 Tech has three divisions – a computer repair shop that mainly caters to neighborhood residents (and resonates with a long-standing plan to work with our local Union Tech Coop to build computer repair capacity in Allied Drive). They have a website and graphic design department that works with businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions. And they have an IT support department that works with similar clients from around the world. Each division has a separate but overlapping budget and each division manages its own revenue itself, paying agreed-upon base wages and distributing a quarterly profit share.
We spent the rest of the evening seeing the sights of NOLA, then hit the road the next morning for the epic 15-hour drive home. I walked in my door at 2am. Good times!
And good thing we had this fun break, and learned so much about our potential. Because the Allied Coop is the only applicant for a $300K forgivable loan the city is offering to subsidize a grocery store in the Allied Drive neighborhood. The RFP they put out doesn’t completely match up with our vision and circumstances, but being the only applicant we’ll be in good shape to have some serious discussions with the City about how they could help us move forward with a neighborhood-grown and -owned project.
Thanks for reading this massive missive. More soon on continuing developments…
On Wednesday Feb. 25 we hosted a Builders Workshop on creating Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N) Care Teams. We had a special guest – Kathy Perlow, creator and implementer of the Lehigh Valley Time Exchange, a hospital-based timebank in Pennsylvania. There Kathy piloted N2N Care Teams around hospital patients who needed a hand. Kathy has recently retired and will be creating an even more robust model, based in a health center and in the form of a Mutual Aid Network. She came to Madison to share what she learned and help us create our own system tailored to our local needs.
What is a N2N Care Team?
We decided to form at least three N2N Care Teams, based around people or groups who have interest and need. Ryan suggested his apartment complex in South Madison, where we happen to have another member who could use a hand after breaking a bone. We’re forming another care team in Sun Prairie, where we have our Capacity Building Initiative working with families and community members with and without disabilities to create more networks of mutual support and engagement. And another around our efforts in central Madison, working to support people who are homeless.
You can read details in the notes from the workshop here.
The next evening Kathy joined me as we introduced our next steps in building N2N Care Teams in Sun Prairie. We have a follow-up next week and will share the steps we take to get started, just in case you’d like to make one in your own community.
Thanks for reading,
We left Manchester for a very brief visit with Leesa in Oxfordshire. Matthew introduced me to Leesa last time I was in the UK, when she offered her home to me never having met me in person. She’s wonderful! She met Matthew initially through a small business organizing and mutual credit effort she runs called Collaboraction.
We had to leave the next morning in order to return the car at Milton Keynes. The fabulous Anna Peters picked us up from the rental place and took us to her amazing workplace, the buszy. The buszy is a renovated old bus station that is now home to lots of activities that support young people. There’s a coffeeshop, a thrift store, a dance/exercise studio with a sprung wood floor, a recording studio, an art gallery, some container gardens, a skate park, and a park-and-ride service that helps fund the whole thing. And now, after our little visit, they have a timebank! Matthew was able to set them up with a free and open-source timebank site from Community Forge. I’m looking forward to hearing how it works with the young people who use the center. What a cool place!
I left for Heathrow early morning on November 10 to fly back to Chicago, where I stayed a few days for more MAN work
On the way home, though, I saw a sight I’ve always wanted to see: a round rainbow! it was over Greenland, and though the photos can’t do it justice I’m including one. It was much larger and brighter than this shows, with concentric rings of rainbow stretching out over the clouds. Breathtaking…
Back in Chicago, I caught up with Chris Petit, my co-coordinator on the MAN project. And then we prepared for a lunchtime gathering that happened November 14, with Bayo Akomolafe and Manish Jain of the newly formed International Alliance for Localization. I’d met Bayo and Manish last year in Turkey at Giftival. Bayo lives in Nigeria (en route to India) and Manish in India, and their visit was the reason I stayed in Chicago so long. They are wonderful people and their new initiative is really important. And there’s so much synergy with what we’re working on in Mutual Aid Networks. We are now planning to work together and will Skype more this week to figure out exactly what that will mean.
After the lunch gathering I took a detour to see the David Bowie exhibit at MCA (very exciting to see his handwritten lyrics, with changes and corrections among other things).
Then a lovely dinner gathering at the home of Lina Cramer and Dick Durning, two of the people who helped organize last year’s Giftival, with Bayo and Manish, plus Robin McKenna (Canadian documentary filmmaker working on a film adaptation of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift) whom I’d also met at Giftival, and many others including several people I’ve met through Art of Hosting trainings.
I came home immediately following the dinner in order to be back in time to help facilitate an Allied Coop gathering Nov. 15. Next post I’ll update you on all that.
but for now this concludes my reporting on my MAN-building trip. It was a good one!
We were met at the bus station by Nuria and Yaciel, James’ partner and 3.5-year-old son respectively, plus surprise guest Peter – Matthew’s father. (argh! I somehow failed to get any photos of Matthew with his father, or of his father at all). James was still on his way back from Sweden where he’d been leading a Sociocracy training.
We only had one day together but that was enough to establish that yes, sociocracy can be an excellent tool for facilitating complex group processes and could really apply to Mutual Aid Networks. And James also walked me through some ideas he has on fractal organizations. We’ll be talking more to explore the possibility of working together. We could use a hand in creating optimal organizational structure and decision-making processes for our very complex work.
We left early morning on November 6 to get to the Timebanking UK conference in Manchester. Because trains were costing us an arm and a leg and it was uncertain if we’d be able to get to the conference on time, we ended up renting a car for the next few stops on the trip. It was an adventure to drive on the left side of the road for my first time!
The conference in Manchester was really wonderful. First and foremost, it was great to see lots of old friends there. Philippe, Robert and Richard from Rushey Green, Linda and Terry from hOurworld, Sarah and Martin from Timebanking UK, and on and on. And of course we met more great people.
I gave a short presentation about Dane County TimeBank and Mutual Aid Networks during the afternoon panel on Timebanking Around the World. Then I led a workshop on Mutual Aid Networks.
The participants in the workshop had a lot of diverse interests, which was perfect for the topic. We focused on applied timebanking and how connecting it with other cooperative tools could provide the comprehensive resource base that people and projects need in order to thrive.
Some of my biggest takeaways from the conference – the folks in Hull are interested in becoming a MAN pilot site! And there’s a lot of enthusiasm, energy and expertise available to take timebanking much farther in the UK. And a group who are doing the same kind of medical transportation for outpatient surgery that we’re about to start, and they have offered to help us with advice from their experience.
After the conference was over we picked up a life-sized cardboard Gandalf to take to Leesa Daymond in Oxfordshire. What luck! and this can also approximate what it would have been like had I gotten a photo of Matthew with his dad…
Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of this trip report – Milton Keynes to Chicago.