Builders Workshop #20: Mutual Aid in Dane County and Beyond

photo 4We held a Builders Workshop, the 20th in our 2 year (nearly-) monthly work and learn series, last Wed. January 28. The title was “Mutual Aid in Dane County and Beyond” and the focus was on how work in and around Dane County TimeBank is coalescing in ways that make us ripe to go granular, with Neighbor-to-Neighbor Care Teams helping to create more neighborhood-based systems of coordinated mutual aid, helping timebanking to fulfill its potential as part of a system of informal care and support. And the conditions in Dane County seem ripe for MANs to emerge out of several of these projects.

I began by presenting these slides to demonstrate the new developments here – including our partnership in the Brighter Futures, Early Intervention Program, and Homelessness Restorative Court Restorative Justice initiatives. Plus Allied Community Coop, our Capacity Building Care Team project in Sun Prairie, our medical transportation project, the time and talents of our wonderful DCTB members, and a host of current and potential partners. photo 5 We discussed examples of connections already being made and then brainstormed new connections. We saw how N2N Care Teams could help current systems to flow better and also how forming Mutual Aid Networks could help to boost a few projects into new levels of effectiveness. An example of the latter – a group of people using timebanking to provide preventive wellness services to one another may now choose to form a MAN, under which they could create a savings pool where the money they save together can be available to members for their health insurance deductibles, clinical care, and other expenses not covered by insurance. This is an example of how a MAN can increase the resources available to a group. The group would have template agreements and help with governance and decision-making processes from the Main MAN umbrella cooperative.

The next steps for workshop follow-up are: Stephanie is sending an email with these notes, plus an invitation to the February 25 Builders Workshop where Kathy Perlow will present N2N Care Teams and the possibilities for her own health-focused MAN project in Pennsylvania, and how we can learn from each other as we develop similar projects. We’ll also invite participants into DCTB, its Front Yard Garden Project, the MAN email list, and MAN working groups.

Notes are here. And you can see the rough ideas discussed on the white board notes below.

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As always, thanks for reading.

Take care,


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