Please visit the general “Members” page to see our smiling faces, or the individual members profiles to get to know us better! The following is taken from our Equity Members’ Agreement, the document we sign to join this great ecovillage project.
What is an “Equity Member”?
An individual or family who feels a strong connection to the mission and vision of the Odonata Ecovillage may decide they are ready to become residents and “Build a Future” by investing in the project. Equity members make a serious time commitment, bringing skills, capital and experience in a cooperative development process. When you think Equity Member, think Villager!
As the Odonata community purchases and prepares land for building, those who have capital investment in the process will take part in those consensus-based decisions that affect the physical construction of community. The capital call required of all equity members is used to cover a portion of development costs; enable third-party financing; and help attract friendly financing.
Equity membership is a legally-binding agreement with partners in the process, and is outlined in the bylaws of the Odonata LLC.
How Do I Become an Equity Member?
To consider equity membership, it is prudent to get to know those with whom you plan to share capital, time and neighborhood; the Odonata Community certainly has the community’s best interest equally at heart. Also, members who pay funds through Equity Member cash calls, but later withdraw their interest to live in the Ecovillage, will not see their capital refunded until (unless) the village begins to see a return on investment through the sale of homes (again, as outlined in the LLC bylaws).
So those interested in really rolling up their sleeves and diving in with the larger community must first spend some introductory time as Exploring Members (approximately two months). In that short time, they may have their initial feelings confirmed, and know this is the place to be!
Exploring Members who have answered all their own questions regarding investment, involvement, and life in community, will sign this form as an application for Equity Membership, and have that membership petition reviewed in a consensus meeting of current Equity Members. The following should be completed before applying:
- Be an Exploring Member in good standing
- Obtain mortgage pre-approval for the market-rate value of your intended unit
- Agree to pay the initial Equity cash call, outlined in Financial Commitment, below
- Read and understand the LLC Operating Agreement and Policy Handbook
Benefits of Equity Membership
There is great satisfaction in being part of the team that chooses design, informs the architect, aids the builder, and opens the door on their new community home. Becoming an Equity Member assures you of those pleasures, and helps the process move more smoothly and successfully to completion!
While Equity members do not receive a financial return on their membership investment, the Odonata community recognizes their support by offering site location and unit selection by seniority. The ability to help define the look and feel of the residences should also not be underestimated!
As stated previously, all decisions which affect the development and construction of the ecovillage will be made on a modified consensus vote of Equity Members, and frequent discussions will inform those decisions. Exploring Members will be informed of progress, and polled for comment and input; while they do not have a direct vote in the use of equity, they may influence decision-makers with their wisdom and experience.
The benefits of Equity Membership will be revoked for non-payment of cash-call amounts, as outlined in the Operating Agreement. Suspended Equity Members continue to be part of the core processes in which they are involved, and may give voice to decisions, though their vote will not be tallied. Payment of overdue amounts will automatically reinstate the Member to full standing.
“Equity Membership” Process
As in most communities with common values and shared vision and mission, the real process of joining community is one of attunement. Most satisfied, long-term members of such communities are drawn to a premise, held by the promise, and grow their connection to co-residents in a process of cooperation, listening, and practicing non-violent communication.
Therefore, we feel it is important that interested parties spend two months as Exploring Members, having studied Odonata’s history and values, and educate themselves on the responsibilities and processes of a closely-woven community. After this process of community exploration and attunement, interested parties may apply for Equity Membership by submitting this signed form. A meeting of the current equity membership will be called to review the application.
Accepted applicants will be required to meet the financial and community responsibilities outlined in this form, and detailed in the Odonata LLC Operating Agreement and Policy Handbook.
A vested Equity Member commits to cash call deposits totaling $15,000, spread over a maximum of three payments. The initial payment is $3,000, with two additional calls of $6,000 each, whose dates will be determined by the Equity Membership. Equity down payments count toward the final purchase of a member’s chosen unit.
Equity Members may vote on additional cash calls, depending on needs of the project. The amount, deadline dates and other details of these cash calls will be based on financial need, and follow the procedure outlined in the Odonata LLC Operating Agreement. The exact timing of capital calls will be determined based upon our completed development pro-forma, as well as on the developer’s project plan, to meet estimated soft cost needs.
The LLC Operating Agreement contains clear procedures for scheduling, accounting, and uses of capital, as well as procedures for dealing with late payments.
If a Member Household wishes to withdraw from equity involvement at Odonata Ecovillage, invested capital may or may not be refunded, according to the terms outlined in the Odonata LLC Operating Agreement.
Decisions at Odonata Ecovillage are made through a modified consensus process, using a tried and tested model developed by the Winslow Cohousing community. The model uses colored consensus cards to organize thoughts and aid communication; participants indicate certain responses in the discussion and decision making process by holding up certain cards.
As an Equity Member, full participation in the decision-making process, committee membership, and attendance at the regular monthly community meetings are required. Conference calls and additional meetings may be scheduled as needed. Communications through e-mail are expected to be read and responded to periodically.
An Equity Member may take a leave of absence, during which regular community dues would still be required. Absent members agree to accept consensus decisions made during their leave, and are responsible for keeping current with the progress of the initiative.