Dear IS Community,
tl;dr – please read this anyway. It’s important news!
About 18 months ago this remarkable community was formed. We didn’t all find it at once, but we found it nevertheless; a congregation of smart, driven, dedicated and majorly pissed-off people who wanted to do our part to right the wrong that had befallen or country.
A few months in, the size and potential of IS became too much for any one person to manage, and we became a nonprofit entity with a Board of directors, committees, fundraising, accounting and all the other sexy, nothing-else-you’d-rather-do stuff that that entails. IS went through all the expected stages of organizational growth: forming, storming, norming, and then performing in ways that were nothing short of amazing for a group of our size.
Many of us, from administrative to boots-on-the-ground involvement, spent way too much time we didn’t really have, doing the hard work of development, iteration, euphoria, complete melt-down, cautious optimism, only to find that, whoa – we really had something here.
It’s Our Call. 2018 For The Win. Vote Remote. Energy and Environment. Creative. Tech. Link. Fund. Action. Writing and Media and Good News. Song Lab. Family Lab. Outreach. Our model of incubator did its job, and while a few experiments didn’t fly, most did hatch, and in really big ways.
How, then, could we give all that hard work and inspiration its due, and give these projects the wings they deserved? The IS Board decided to form a 501(c)(3) non-profit that would allow fundraising on a much larger, tax deductible scale. The (c)(3) would become a home for IS labs and projects that were ready to grow, and needed money and structure and maybe national attention to reach their full potential.
The Institute for Social Engagement, ISe, was formed. Nobody can type insitituteforsocialengagement.org, so we chose ThinkInformed.org as a working name. This serves as a project umbrella site for VoteRemote.us, Fweedom.org, and any other projects now or in the future held under the (c)(3) organization.
The miserable, expensive and emotionally difficult business of legal formation, administrative decision-making, and Board divisions have been made, and as of today, June 9th, 2018, IS and ISe are two separate organizations with two separate Boards of Directors. The IS Board will for now be comprised of Peter Kollm and Erin McKissick. Sean Edwards and I will form the ISe Board. Danielle Chapdelaine will step off of board work, and contribute to both organizations on a non-administrative basis.
We are still ONE community.
Just as Indivisible National has Indivisible Projects, a 501(c)(3), and Indivisible Civics, a 501 (c)(4), our Indivisible Somerville community also now has the two entities that make reach and growth possible: IS and ISe, “street name” ThinkInformed.
We love IS, and we’re among the people who’ve given the most time, thought, energy and resources to the cause. We’re not giving up on that! The one and only reason for this division is broader opportunity on all fronts. We’ve done a lot, and there’s a lot more to do. Pro tip: it’s easier to do things with money.
Indivisible Somerville and ISe will remain a collective hub for events and engagement across the local community, and a destination for motivated individuals to participate in progressive activist work– same as we are today.
The IS Slack group will continue, and from there we hope many more projects will form and flourish. Those meeting the 501 (c)(3) education and non-partisan criteria will be welcomed into ISe for further development and fundraising if they wish. An ISe Slack group has been formed for project work.
An “update” channels about ISe projects will remain on the IS Slack group, but nitty-gritty work and ongoing communications for ISe projects need to now take place on the ISe Slack. Please move your working groups to the ISe Slack as immediately as possible in order to meet our new nonprofit criteria.
Projects outside the parameters of a (c)(3), like those focused on specific legislation, candidate endorsement and/or unseating campaigns stay within IS, or may partner up with other organizations also doing that work.
How does this affect you?
Regardless of where a project lives, the community of IS and ISe can and will remain one.
- Indivisible Somerville will remain intact and open to all members to contribute, work, and network– an open working space for motivated individuals (same as today).
- The Institute for Social Engagement (ISe, doing business as ThinkInformed) is open to all members wanting to contribute work hours, networking or financial support to ISe projects.
- Candidate and bill endorsements and lobbying may only take place through IS.
- An open pipeline of support and co-promotion of IS and ISe will be an integral part of our work moving forward.
- Nothing prevents any member of the community from participating in both organizations.
Donations (If you have any questions regarding where your donation should go, simply ask us (emails listed below):
- A contribution to either organization will be used to support, promote and further the work of that organization.
- Only donations to ISe are tax deductible.
- Educationally-based and/or (c)(3) compliant projects wanting increased financing potential will be moved to ISe for additional growth and opportunity.
- Indivisible Somerville (IS) will launch an Act Blue page immediately (will be on the website shortly), in which 15% of donations will go to support Indivisible National’s work, as well as IS legal fees. The remaining 85% will be used for local IS supplies (meeting space, clipboards, signage etc.).
- All current IS donors will have the opportunity to reinstall their recurring (or single) donations on the Act Blue page, move their donations to an ISe project, or to do both.
- New members and contributors to ISe projects can still be found through IS, as well as through any other means, and the same holds true in the other direction: Everyone is free to work on projects in one or both organizations.
- To donate to Indivisible Somerville, check back soon for a new donate button for the Act Blue page.
- To donate to ISe / ThinkInformed.org to contribute, and to Vote Remote or other ISe projects, click here.
As Sean and I step off of the IS Board to begin ISe, as Danielle steps into the role of Artist to All, and as Peter and Erin take on the exciting work of leading IS into its second year and beyond, I’d just like to say a sincere and deep “thank you” to all of you in this community, and especially to my fellow Board members with whom I’ve worked so closely and intensely within the last year.
It’s an honor and a privilege to be doing this important work with all of you. Regaining and improving this country is going to be a long and ugly fight, but together we can make a real difference. And at least we’ll be doing it with people we value and enjoy.
Thank you for your support as we walk through this next part, and for your continued inspiration and hard work that gives IS and ISe such incredible potential.