Membership Process

Learning about Heathcote Community

Before applying for membership, people have an opportunity to learn about our community. They can do so in the following ways:

Membership Categories

  1. FULL MEMBERSHIP. Full members are members of the Board of Directors of Heathcote Center, Inc. and share equally in the responsibilities of managing the community. They are responsible for paying a pledge, to cover living expenses, paying into the community development fund and committing 9 hours of labor per week to the community labor system.  Members also join Grandmother Moon, our vegetarian community food coop.  Community labor includes attending weekly business meetings, cooking, managerships, committee work, chores and work projects.
  2. PROVISIONAL MEMBERSHIP. Provisional members are people applying for full membership who must complete a nine month residential provisional membership period. Provisional members take on the responsibilities of full members although they cannot block consensus. Their payments into the community development fund are refunded if they are not accepted or if they choose not to pursue full membership.
  3. ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP. Associate members are members who want to participate in Heathcote’s work and community life on a regular basis but do not live on Heathcote Land and do not have the responsibilities of a full member. Associate members pay annual dues of $50 or more and contribute labor to the community. Associate members will create a statement of intent stating how they will contribute to and be involved in the community. Associate members are expected to abide by community policies. They can participate in community meetings but may not block consensus. Associate members are not required to pay into the community development fund.

Other Options for Community Participation

  1. INTERNSHIPS. Interns typically work 20 hours a week in exchange for their room during warm weather and pay $200 per month for food. Work projects include gardening, renovation and repair, permaculture, cooking, cleaning and organizing. We encourage interns to attend community meetings and participate in community life. You can find out more about our internship programs on our internship page.

Applying for Membership

Our membership application process is structured to enable the community and the applicant to explore the possibility of living in community together. It provides the applicant with the opportunity to experience community life and gives community members a chance to get to know the applicant. The applicant may decide at any point during the process that community membership is not the right option for them. Likewise, there are several points during the process when the community may decide to decline the membership application. In order to find clarity about the best outcome, it is important to give honest feedback and maintain clear communication during the application process. Although not all applicants become members, it is our hope that all applicants will become friends of the community.

Full Membership Application Process

  1. ATTEND VISITOR’S WEEKEND. Anyone who is interested in applying for membership must visit the community first, preferably during Visitor Day.
  2. APPLICATION. A person officially applies for membership by submitting a $50 application fee and a Membership Application. Upon receipt of the application the community’s membership liaison will be his/her contact person during the membership process. After reviewing the application, the community will decide whether or not to invite the applicant to an interview with the membership committee.
  3. INTERVIEW. A meeting is held with the membership committee to clarify the applicant’s intentions, discuss concerns and determine if there are any obvious impediments to membership. The committee will report back to the community and the community will decide whether or not to proceed with the 21-day visit. The liaison will notify the applicant of the community’s decision.
  4. 21-DAY VISIT. The applicant must spend a minimum of 21 days at Heathcote participating in community life. At least 7 days must be consecutive, but the other 14 may be at other times. The applicant must attend 14 community dinners. In order for an applicant’s time at Heathcote to count as a "day", the applicant must spend at least three hours at Heathcote. The visit must be completed within 6 months. During the 21-day visit the applicant will pay $6.58 per day for food and $20 per day for lodging (in the bunkroom). The applicant or the community may decide to terminate the application process at any time during the 21 days. The applicant along with all of his/her possessions must leave the community upon completion of the 21-day visit. During the 21-day visit the applicant should complete the 21 day checklist which includes the following requirements:
    1. Spend a minimum of 2 hours with each full member. This can include time during meals and work projects.
    2. Spend time with the children.
    3. Participate in community work days.
    4. Attend community meetings.
    5. Participate in check-ins about how the applicant’s membership process is going.
    6. While in residence, participate in chores and cooking.
    7. Do community work which the applicant is interested in and where labor is needed.
    8. Post a list of the applicant’s special food needs.
    9. Process conflicts as they arise.
    10. Eat 14 dinners with the community.
    11. Attend membership orientations.
    12. Review binder with information about the community (policies, legal agreements, etc.). Applicant may request copies of any documents.
  5. PROVISIONAL MEMBERSHIP CLEARNESS MEETING. At the end of the 21-day visit the applicant will attend a community meeting during which we will decide whether or not to proceed with the provisional membership. If the applicant desires more feedback, she/he may schedule a meeting with the membership committee to discuss the community’s decision.
  6. PROVISIONAL MEMBERSHIP. The provisional member will sign a 9-month provisional membership contract, and pay a security deposit on their living space and one month’s pledge. He/she will attend another orientation. Provisional members must live on the land during the provisional membership period.
  7. PROVISIONAL MEMBERSHIP CHECK-INS. Two meetings will be scheduled approximately 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through the provisional membership period for the applicant and community members to give each other feedback about how the provisional membership is going. This usually occurs during the weekly business meeting and will be scheduled at the beginning of the provisional membership period.
  8. OPTIONS FOR TERMINATING THE PROVISIONAL MEMBERSHIP. The provisional member may decide not to become a full member at any point during their provisional membership period. They may terminate their provisional membership contract by giving 30 days written notice and leaving the community. The community may terminate the provisional membership contract at any point during the provisional period by giving 30 days written notice. If the provisional member does not become a full member, the payments that they made into the community development fund will be refunded.
  9. FULL MEMBERSHIP CLEARNESS MEETING. Upon completion of the provisional membership period a meeting will be held with the provisional member to discuss the provisional period and any issues relating to the provisional membership. On the day of the clearness meeting, in a closed meeting, the full members will decide whether or not to accept the provisional member as a full member.
  10. FULL MEMBERSHIP. Member signs full membership contract and assumes full membership responsibilities.
  11. APPEALS PROCESS. If a Provisional Member is denied Full Membership he or she can request a special meeting to discuss the reasons for refusal of Full Membership

Associate Membership Application Process

  1. ATTEND VISITOR DAY. Anyone who is interested in applying for associate membership must visit the community first, preferably during Visitor Day.
  2. APPLICATION. A person officially applies for membership by submitting a $50 application fee and an Associate Membership Application. Upon receipt of the application the community’s membership liaison will be the applicant’s contact person during the membership process. After reviewing the application, the community will decide whether or not to invite the applicant to an interview with the membership committee.
  3. INTERVIEW. A meeting is held with the membership committee to clarify the applicant’s intentions, discuss concerns and determine if there are any obvious impediments to membership. The committee will report back to the community and the community will decide whether or not to proceed with the dinner visits. The liaison will notify the applicant of the community’s decision.
  4. DINNER VISITS. Our evening dinners are the best opportunity for teh Community and applicants to get to know one another as are after dinner clean-ups.  Therefore applicants must attend a minimum of seven diners and participate in clean-up after each dinner. If the community wishes to get to know an applicant better then the applicant may be requested to attend another seven dinners & clean-ups. But the community will act upon the application after a maximum of 14 dinners-visits. The vists must be completed within 6 months.  During the visits the applicant will pay appropriate fees for food and lodging if necessary. The applicant or the community may decide to terminate the application process at any time during the visits. In addition to dinner visits, the applicant should complete the following requirements:
    1. Spend a minimum of 2 hours with each full member, which could include sharing meals and after dinner clean-up.
    2. Spend time with the children.
    3. Participate in community work days.
    4. Attend some community meetings, though this is not mandatory.
    5. Participate in check-ins about how the applicant’s membership process is going.
    6. Do community work which the applicant is interested in and where labor is needed.
    7. Post a list of the applicant’s special food needs.
    8. Process conflicts as they arise.
    9. Attend membership orientations.
    10. Review binder with information about the community (policies, legal agreements, etc.). Applicant may request copies of any documents.
  1. ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP DECISION. After the applicant has completed a minimum of 7 dinner visits, but no more than 14, they are invited to a clearness meeting where the community will decide whether or not to accept the applicant as an Associate Member. After being accepted the associate member will sign an associate membership contract.

Labor Commitments of Full Members

Members agree to contribute 9 hours of labor per week to the community in the following areas:

Labor  Hours Per Week  Hours Per Year
Community Meetings 2 96
Cook Dinner Once a Week 2 96
Chores 1 48
Managerships and Committees 2 96
Work Projects 1.5 72
Retreats 0.6 32

Total 9.1 440

Members are required to attend community meetings and retreats, but have the flexibility to do more or less work in other areas so long as they complete a total of 440 hours for the year. Members may swap labor with other members or pay other people to do their community labor.

Financial Commitments of Full Members

Note: we have started to use a "pledge system" which gives us flexibility around how much we pay for rent and dues. Pledges are approved by consensus at our community meetings. 

  1. PLEDGE SYSTEM: We use a "pledge system" which gives us some flexibility around how much we pay for our living space and shared expenses. Individual members make a pledge each year that is approved by consensus at our community meetings. Current pledges range from $400-$700 per month per member.  We have established minimum pledges for specific spaces:  Rooms in Polaris - $650; Large bedrooms in the Farmhouse - $500; Large bedroom in the Mill - $500; Small bedroom in the Mill - $400.
  2. SECURITY DEPOSIT: One month of pledge. First month of pledge and the security deposit are due upon moving into Community space. The security deposit will be returned once it is determined that the occupied space has been left in a satisfactory condition and all of the member’s belongings have been removed from Community space.
  3. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FUND: Each new member is required to contribute an equal share to the community development fund in the amount of $10,486 in 2007 dollars. These funds are set aside for purchasing land, building new structures and improving community spaces. The funds must be paid within 10 years from the date a person is accepted as a Provisional Member. If they are not accepted as a Full Member then half of their contributions to the community development fund will be returned (but without interest). Currently, the average monthly payment would be about $120 to complete the member’s full contribution within 10 years.
  4. GRANDMOTHER MOON: $220 per adult (13-59 yrs of age) per month. For children in the following age ranges the payment is a percentage of the adult payment: < 1 year of age = 0%; 1-4 years = 40%; 5-8 years = 60%; and 9-12 years = 80%. Plus, those 60 and older pay 90%. Monthly Grandmother Moon payments may be reduced for each day a person does not consume food purchased through the Grandmother Moon Co-op. Visitors, including those here for their 21-day stay, pay $7.32 per day.
  5. PAYMENT DUE DATE: Pledge, Grandmother Moon, and community development fund payments are due at the first community meeting of each month. If a member will be late in making payments, we will discuss how they intend to quickly bring their payments up to date.

More information...

Conflict Resolution Policy
Core Values & Vision
Full Membership Application

Associate Membership Application