A means to connect autonomous, equitable, collaborative and shareable arrangements of any style and in any location. This is a first-hand means by which entities exchange information and resources while building trust that is grounded in first-hand experiences.
Model Communities Association (MCA) cultivates, fosters and facilitates equitable, shareable, collaboratively governed arrangements, studying their economic and social impact.
“Living in community, especially one with a collaborative structure, enhances your life as a human being. The yen to share experiences, to depend upon each other, to create beautiful and nourishing spaces calls us to come together.
“When technology and social engineering lead us into silos, coming together as a community breaks those barriers down. And living in shared spaces acknowledges the reality of our world.
“We live in a shared space on this planet. And we can see what rejecting community, walling ourselves away, and moving into the echo chambers of similar thought can do.
“As we share in our spaces, we foster empathy for others and begin to see the value that every person brings to the conversation and to our communities.”
- Amy Kemp, Founder & Executive Director, Model Communities Association
Amy Kemp founded Model Communities Association in response to the growing inequity she saw around her. She envisioned a way to create an affordable housing solution that incorporated the ideas of sufficiency and equity to create a unique collaborative community.
Amy began her journey to this solution in 2009 as she grew more and more unhappy with the traditional landlord/tenant relationship. In this relationship, she witnessed tenants who lived in constant fear of rising rent, turned into observers or even victims as landlords made unilateral decisions that upended the tenants’ lives. Landlords, sometimes not even residing in the same state as their properties, ignored their property, paying attention only when something negative arose. Their power dissolved into one based on monetary action as they didn’t build the necessary relationships of trust with their tenants.
What obstacles prevented people from living together within a structure where residents and property owners felt safe and secure, residents’ rent wasn’t going to go up, and they had a say about what would happen within the property where they lived even though they didn’t own the property? As Amy investigated these obstacles, she looked for ways to build trust, remove fear, and dissolve profit as a motive in this space of the fundamental need of shelter.
Amy envisioned engaged individuals living independently and conscientiously within a structure that facilitates the sharing of space and resources. She saw conscious, independent, happy, and healthy communities, exchanging resources within an optimized economic structure that addresses all needs of those inhabiting this vibrant, diverse planet with ample resources available to sustain current and future generations.
Model Communities Association emerged out of this investigation.
Within this vision, Amy wanted to create a nonprofit, but the hierarchical structure of the nonprofit corporation worked directly against the collaborative, flat structure she wanted to use. This collaborative environment empowers those in the association, giving each person equity. Within a collaborative decision-making structure, an agreement must be reached with every person involved to result in a decision that equally benefits all.
Also, the nonprofit corporate structure represented an undue burden for those who struggle with monetary resources.
Thus, she settled on the idea of unincorporated associations as the legal structure.
An unincorporated association is a group of people who agree to work together for a common purpose. These associations exist everywhere as clubs, neighborhood associations, and a plethora of other options. You have probably belonged to one at some point in your life and not even thought about it. Most are formed for nonprofit reasons, such as gathering funds for a charity.
In several states across the US (including North Carolina where MCA originated), unincorporated associations are recognized as legal entities. Most often, these associations are nonprofit.
As of this writing, states that recognize unincorporated associations are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, North Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Each of these states has its own regulations and rules as to what constitutes an unincorporated association. Wherever you are choosing to use this structure, it is worth your while to talk to a lawyer to make sure you are operating within boundaries that feel comfortable for you.
By using the unincorporated association, interested parties can form their arrangements with simple agreements. Using this structure allows them a low-cost and flexibly formed system of self-governance.
However you choose to integrate the Model Communities Association structure, we hope you find guidance and inspiration within this site.
We've created several documents that outline MCA's unique structure and potential. Take a few minutes to read and gain a deeper understanding as to why we exist and some of our aspirations:
Association with the Eight Limbs of Yoga
“Whenever there is a self-governed soul, there is a happy blending of the authority of reason with the force of appetite” - James Richardson