MAN development update

Hello, MANballoon

First, some great news! We received a grant from RSF Seed Fund, a very competitive national grant. We’re very proud to be recognized by such a great organization.

And we’re extremely happy to report that we have received core funding from the Kailo Fund, to support our core operations through November. This is wonderful. Now we’ll work to raise the rest of our funding for software development, organizational development, evaluation, documentation, etc. You can help with this by donating and spreading the word (there’s a donation button on this site).

This funding from the Kailo fund is especially wonderful in enabling me to bring on a new project Co-Coordinator, Chris Petit. Chris was on the Board of Dane County TimeBank before moving to Chicago last year. He was one of the first to recognize the potential of the cooperative saving/investment model in shoring up our work. I’m very excited to be able to bring him onboard. And relieved! It’s a lot of work to re-design work.

We continue to put together the pieces of this massive, living, breathing 3- (or 4-?) dimensional puzzle that is Mutual Aid Networks (MANs). There are so many moving parts that it’s hard to write it up as prose, so I’m going to list a few points and try to give you the gist of where we are.

Then on Saturday I leave for a 2-week tour of potential MAN pilot sites plus conferences where I expect to see and meet a lot of potential collaborators, supporters and friends. I’ll return later in June refreshed and ready to report on lots of progress!

Mark your calendar for Wednesday June 25, 4-6pm at Madison’s Central Library, where our Builders Workshop will be entirely on Mutual Aid Network development and exploring what we can do locally.  If you’d like to join online check for information about how to connect. Also, sign up there if you want to engage in ongoing communication about MAN development.

And here’s what’s happened since I last updated you:

MAN design team meetings – 1 local and 3 online with farther flung participants. We continue to pare down core principles, write draft bylaws, envision what it means to be a member of the MainMAN (our first iteration of Mutual Aid Networks, the borderless MAN that exists to support this work-redesign work), work toward setting up a board of directors.

At the same time, we have been meeting with organizers of our first local MAN, the Allied Community Coop. We came to agreement on what the bylaws should contain and how they should relate to the bylaws of the MainMAN.

Then we sent both sets of draft bylaws – for the MainMAN and the Allied Coop – to our lawyer, who is working on harmonizing them. The idea is that both can be used as templates for future MANs – one applied to mutual support among local initiatives, one applied to using the MAN structure as a template for sustainability within local initiatives.

At the same time we’re working through how we bridge Dane County TimeBank (DCTB) and the world of MANs. We held a strategic planning session for DCTB on May 10. There we discussed a lot of the implications of Mutual Aid Networks – including the fact that they are being designed largely in response to a felt need to find or develop new organizational structures that more effectively support the activity of timebanking, and can be more self-sustaining. But we need to be hyper-aware of any potential to create vulnerabilities in the timebank. We created a “Bridge Team” of people heavily invested in DCTB in order to navigate this process wisely. As usual, we’ll share our notes about this process in order to be able to use it as a model for similar transitions in other initiatives.

And we’re beginning to collect official letters of support/commitment from MAN pilot sites. Our first two have come in! From St. Louis Cowry Collective and the folks at MidMichigan TimeBank. Stay tuned for more updates, which will start coming in faster after our June trip.

And here’s the itinerary for the trip: Saturday in Chicago, Monday in Ithaca talking with folks from Ithacash, Tuesday in Maine, the Slow Living Summit in Brattleboro, VT from June 4-6 where I’ll serve on a panel with Edgar Cahn and attend a Brattleboro Time Traders event with Edgar and Charles Eisenstein, the CommonBound Conference in Boston June 6-8 with some meetings with Boston-area organizers and potential MANs, some nebulous days that I’m sure will fill up fast, the Philadelphia area on June 11, Lansing and Detroit Michigan June 13 and 14. If you’re between Boston and Philadelphia and want to talk more about how we can work together, please get in touch so we can get together between June 9 and 11.

In the meantime, feel free to give us money and/or send your ideas. Soon we’ll have more ways for you to plug in and contribute. That’s what the MAN is all about!

As always, thanks for reading



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