Getting Started


Creating a community based on Intentional Neighboring is a long-term and complex undertaking. This Getting Started Guide is an introduction to help you begin the process. Generations of Hope has for the last several years provided a technical service to help any group in the United States and Canada implement the steps necessary to build and operate an intergenerational intentional community. In recent years it has added consultative services so that each site can move more quickly in the implementation phases. This document is to help a project understand the beginning steps and to move along those steps knowing they are following other successful projects. The Generations of Hope team is constantly learning from others experience. We will up date this document as we can share those experiences.


Our goal is to help you create a new community for seniors, families and a vulnerable population within a five year time period. The community, village or groups of villages will have no more than 150 residents in each village with the majority of resident seniors. While there are a multitude of vulnerable populations to date we look at these groups as similar to existing or planned sites:’

  • Wounded Warrior families
  • Foster Care
  • Kindred Care
  • Young Foster Youth aging out of foster care
  • Young parents previously foster children that have aged out of foster carefully
  • Young adults and older adults with behavioral-centered or development disabilities
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and questioning older youth in the foster care system

We feel comfortable adding to this list as we gain experience helping others serve different vulnerable populations. The Generations of Hope Website ( and the newest site, Better Life Through Community ( are good places to begin to learn about existing and developing communities and to explore the more extensive research documentation that has gone into the development of the Generations of Hope concept.

A Little Background

There is growing recognition that too many people in this country are facing serious challenges that threaten their well-being, including their happiness and ability to contribute to society. Using the Double Social Utility concept one solution is a fuller response to vulnerability, one that includes a concept we call Intentional Neighboring. We define this as the coming together of people from all walks of life to live intentionally as caring neighbors, embracing those among us who are most vulnerable, and surrounding each other with a culture of friendliness, kindness, helpfulness, and consideration. The result is a fuller life for the children, youth and adults in the vulnerable population and a more purposeful life for seniors and other members of the community.

Several components of a planned intentional community that serve as the key underpinnings of the intentional neighboring philosophy. Each represents a significant difference from conventional intervention perspectives and practices, and each denotes a very different approach to vulnerability than is provided by the safety net local, state and national governments.

The characteristics of intentional neighboring are quite different. Here assistance is community-driven with the primary focus being on:

  • the universal need for caring relationships and neighboring
  • people facing serious social challenges becoming assets to the community
  • the capacity of ordinary people of all ages to care about and for one another.

The stark contrasts between the characteristics of local, state and national safety net and of intentional neighboring do not have to be incompatible. Rather, the effective implementation of both has the potential to provide a much fuller response to vulnerability by:

  • broadening our perception of “vulnerability” to include the whole person, not just the circumstances or factors that make someone vulnerable
  • providing a fuller, more complete response to basic human needs, (i.e., adding caring relationships and neighboring to the categories of food, shelter, etc.)
  • utilizing the talents and experiences of, not only professionals, but of all of us, including those most vulnerable
  • being more encompassing, providing both targeted services and the daily care and support of family, friends, and neighbors.

PART 1: First Steps in Creating and Generations of Hope Inspired Community

  1. Assembling a Local Founders Team

Communities based on intentional neighboring usually begins with an individual, a group of citizens or an organization who sees a social need that they believe could be best addressed by an intentional, closely knit, and caring community. The individual(s) who initiates the project is usually thought of as the Founder(s); and the core group of people who work with the Founder(s) to begin the process is the Founding Council.* The Founder(s) and Founding Council play a crucial, but a time-limited role in the early project development. The group’s most immediate task is to explore the viability of the proposed project in their community by meeting with key local and state agencies, stakeholders, philanthropists, and various other professional experts. In most cases, after this period of reconnoitering the Founder(s) and Founding Council, will decide to move forward with the project. Three important tasks that carry the project to the next step are: 1) applying for 501(c) non-profit status(2) initiating the process of selecting a Board of Directors important tasks; and 3) executing the first, pre-development fundraising to establish a full time implementation office. The fund raising will establish adequate funds to hire an executive director.

*In the case of Genesis in Washington D.C., the city of Washington provided the leadership in creating and funding the new community. All implementation was achieved within the city government with consulation by Generations of Hope. The Deputy Mayor took the leadership role and worked closely with other cabinet members.

Over time we can expect other governments to develop Generations of Hope Communities.

  1. Founding Director and Founding Team – Building a Network of Support

The local management team including the Founder(s), Founding Team, and eventually the Board of Directors and Executive Director will find it helpful to meet with the following people and organizations:

  • Legal counsel, needed for acquiring 501(c) (3) status, learning about housing and other relevant codes and regulations, and preparing organizational bylaws, employment agreements, lease contracts, and human resource policies. (Hint: Often pro bono help can be found for this task)
  • Local and state government officials should be made aware of the aspirations of the group and its proposed timeline. (A small brochure may help sell your idea.) (Hint: Talk jobs, affordable housing and community growth)
  • Social service agencies/systems again by making them aware of the projects aspirations and timeline as well as working through any issues that might relate to rules and regulations, (Hint: listen to them and probe organization finding positive professionals)
  • People with knowledge of corporation start-ups, business plan development and business planning will become essential in turning the Boards aspirations into reality. ( Hint:sometimes SCORE, sometimes local college, sometimes the Mayor will help find the right people)
  • Experts to help develop access to potential financial resources. Most projects need a combination of private funds (fund raising, foundation grants and gifts) and government funding from local, state and Federal sources. Loans and grants from government programs will in most cases make up a large portion of the project’s cost. (Hint: Almost nobody has the breadth of knowledge you will need to put together a project.)
  • Housing developers and zoning administrators can identify possible properties, give information on development grants, and advise on issues of zoning, licensing, building codes, and other concerns pertinent to site identification and development. ( Hint look for people in the professional sub-field of non-profit, affordable housing in your area or state. Lots of the experiences you will need.)
  • Development and fundraising experts can advise on grants, public and private funding sources, and a possible capital campaign drive that can help fund the early exploratory phase as well as later programs and operations. (Hint: make sure you check their track record!)
  • Realtor(s) can help identify potential sites and offer information on possible land use restrictions. Seeking out free land, shared land, and land trust acreages is not a waste of time. While you may have to purchase land, the intentional community for a vulnerable population is appealing and may bring in land donors.
  • Architects can adapt the intentional intergenerational site design concepts and architectural guidelines to a specific proposed site. This is prerequisite to obtaining the building cost estimate which will be needed for a feasibility study and an eventual financial plan. (Hint: Architects will love your intentional intergenerational challenge!)

Visioning – Providing The Focus

This guide has been built on the experiences of six communities now in operation and several more in the implementation stage. This is only a guide, and not a set of “must follow rules.” Not everything about prior experience will be relevant in the development of your intergenerational community. Every village will be different, addressing different social challenges and composed of different residents and different staff. Some will be a mix of private residences and rental properties and some will have commercial activities. Each village make-up will add their own uniqueness and dynamics to the community. These foci become the focal point for organizing their work on behalf of the community, and becomes a fundamental source for creating and reinforcing identity and cohesion.

As the founder you have in mind the kind of community being developed. Visioning is bringing an idea into focus. Setting up a concept paper identifying the vulnerable population, the mission, the mix of seniors and families. A vision of what the community will look like (pocket neighborhood, tiny houses, apartments, group homes and private residences. The vision should also consider how this village will relate to the larger community. Because the vision will be new to many people listening to your presentations also include the key Generations of Hope indicators, volunteering by residents, minimal staffing to encourage, careful intergrative design and affordability. Converting the vision designed by the Founding group to a Trifold Brochure or some document prepared as a “take-away” item. As your team begins to network you have a clear description of the new community.

Strategic Planning- Providing Detail to the Focus

The Strategy Planning process will identify strategic goals, partnerships, community funding priorities, and direct services. It will become the process of pinpoint activities and priorties on the timeline.

The purpose of implementing a strategic planning process is to:

  • identifying the short term and long term goals and priorities;
  • clarifying the group’s role in providing a new intentional community;
  • detailing community partgnerships to leverage and coordinate resources and services to seniors and you vulnerable population;
  • develop a financial plan options with goals of the group.

Some of the items to be studied, discussed and detailed in the plan will be

  • Envisioning the community
  • Land options and community layout
  • Number and types of units
  • Community Spaces and center
  • Building a sense of community within the neighborhood
  • Assuring diversity in residents, living spaces and community spaces
  • Resident groups
  • Resident profiles
  • Volunteering system
  • Daily activity assistance and services assurance
  • Community as interventions
  • Staffing and operations
  • Financing modeling for development
  • Financing modeling for sustainability
  • Key Challenges that could speed up or doom the concept
  • Market Demand
  • Implementation Strategy
  • Establishment of Development Team
  • Establishment of Timelines

Generations of Hope can help bringing the right people together to help put together a site specific plan.   We have found that a two day workshop can help accomplish draft answers to most of these categories. With refinement you can turn the Strategic Plan into a pitch book.

The Big Sell

One of your first products emanating from the hardwork developing the above is a pitch book. This is a marketing presentation created by the founding group.   It consists of a careful arrangement and analysis of the challenge and the team’s solutions. Its primary purpose is to help you get funders excited, to get government leaders excited and to build expectations of the end community.

Other than the 501c3 application, a pitch book(let) is the first significant expense for the project (other than your time and shoe leather). It will serve multiple purposes as you work your way through the network building and the funding sources.

The Question of Land

Locate Available Land To begin the development of your community, you find a site on which to build, or with existing structures that can be repurposed. You should begin your search for available sites as early as possible in the planning process.The site for an your community should be located close to grocery stores, gas stations, medical centers, schools, and of course close to public transportation. If the site is rural and/or rural with farming “near” becomes a ideal.   The total cost of creating a community based on intentional neighboring will be much less if the land is donated or made available for minimal cost. Local governments may own land that is suitable, including land where institutions once were built for orphans, the mentally ill or developmentally disabled, etc., or where neglected buildings in blighted neighborhoods are being removed. Churches or synagogues may have had property donated to them that could be appropriate. Also, it is possible that builders of mixed-income developments or retirement communities may view an INC as an amenity and be willing to provide financing.   Existing infrastructure is another important consideration in selecting land as building access to roads, water, sewage, and utilities can be very costly. The ideal acreage for your community will vary depending on location – urban vs. rural – and whether building will be primarily or exclusively horizontal or vertical. On larger acreage there should be enough space for approximately 12 to 15 homes for the families facing the social challenge, 36 to 50 homes for seniors, and a community center. Administrative space is also needed. Smaller acreage will require having fewer numbers of family and senior households.

Something you may not know

One of the key goals of a community is to maintain its affordability and purpose for a very long time (in perpetuity) Community Land Trusts are a method of a way for perserving purpose and affordability. Using a Community Land Trust the project can mix privately owned property, apartments and other rentals and at the same time control market driven selling which will drive out the social purpose. Ask us for our concept paper on Community Land Trusts.

Program Plan Establishing these strategic relationships helps to ensure the success of the recruitment and placement stages of the permanency process. At Hope Meadows the focus is on nonrelative adoption. Bridge Meadows focuses on adoption or guardianship by relatives.   Program Philosophy Intentional neighboring communities have evolved into a paradigm that extends beyond the challenge of adopting children from foster care. As stated earlier, every INC is grounded in core components. To summarize, INC residents are not viewed as problems-to-be-managed, but as ordinary people with overwhelming life challenges that can best be addressed in the kind of family and community setting that we would want for ourselves. In these purposefully created neighborhoods, there are no “clients,” “wards,” “cases” or other social service terms for vulnerable populations. Rather everyone is a member of the community with strengths and skills and life experiences that add to the success of each unique neighborhood. People of with similarities and differences, are brought together to build relationships that support each other. Although there is one primary social challenge that an INC addresses, these neighborhoods have a natural way of sustaining everyone in the community through acts of kindness and a belief in possibilities. INCs emphasize the enduring capacity of the individual to care. Given the opportunity, ordinary people will care for one another in ways, and to a degree, that goes beyond the scope of traditional interventions. Purposely placed together in a “normal” neighborhood that not only feels like home but is home, groups of people form caring relationships as family, friends, and neighbors. Staff help facilitate these relationships both formally and informally by introducing people, making suggestions for ways to become involved, and coordinating events and other gathering opportunities within the neighborhood. Relationships often begin from carefully constructed opportunities consciously provided by the INC. Without these opportunities, caring relationships may never form or may not endure. Over time a culture of care emerges where the relationships created in the INC exceed the scope of relationships formed in a service-client environment. In an INC people are there for each other in good times and bad; just being there for each other makes a consequential difference in each other’s lives. All of the core components of an INC serve to facilitate and support meaningful relationships and purposeful engagement across generations and shift the initial focus of problem solving from conventional social service providers to the members of the community.

Program Components Though every INC initiative will differ in some ways from each other, we have included examples from the Hope Meadows model of the various components of the neighborhood program. Most of these components will be common across various sites and are necessary in developing an INC.   Human Components Board of Directors As noted earlier, a Board of Directors serves as a governing body for your organization. Directors assist in the establishment of your organizational policies, spreading the word, and generating funding. Your Board of Directors should be a diverse group with different background expertise and have an excellent network of people to draw upon.

Office Staff Listed below are examples of staff positions that have been employed at Hope Meadows which also was a licensed child welfare agency. Over time, as the community took on more and more responsibility, fewer staff were needed. Depending on the size of your program and the needs of your community, these positions may or may not be needed, or some of the roles described might be combined into a single staff position. They also may or may not be full time equivalent positions. It is important to recruit and hire staff that understand and agree with the core components of intentional neighboring and the specific mission of your community. It is also important to recognize staff as an essential component of community relationship building. Relationship building and the importance of each staff member’s contribution to this within the community cannot be over-estimated. • Executive Director. The first full-time paid employee is often the Executive Director. She or he is usually selected before the INC is built so that she or he can play a major role in the development process. Typical roles and tasks of the Executive Director have been outlined previously in this paper. In addition it is important to remember that this person must work to incorporate INC core values and essential design patterns into the framework of the INC. She or he must embody these core underpinnings on a daily basis in interactions with staff and residents of the INC. • Program Coordinator. The right hand person to the Executive Director is the Program Coordinator. She or he is responsible for a majority of the day-to-day operations of the INC. This position is the immediate supervisor for all other positions and is responsible for identifying the key needs of the community and assuring that they are being met. Working with the Child and Family Coordinator and the Senior Volunteer Coordinator, the Program Coordinator is responsible for overseeing recruitment of residents, new resident orientation, on-going program development, and housing and facilities related issues. • Office and Facilities Manager. The major task for this position is the smooth functioning of the office on a day-to-day basis. She or he is the face of the organization for people contacting the INC. This person is responsible for a majority of the clerical work such as payroll, account management, personnel files, ordering of materials, etc. and for providing supervision of the facilities management supervisor.

  • Child and Family Coordinator. This person’s responsibilities include creating and implementing an ongoing strategic marketing campaign to recruit members of the target population that reside in the INC. She or he provides initial contact information to prospective residents and arranges for interviews and visits. This person conducts the primary orientation of new residents, stressing the mission of the INC, relationship building, and other important issues that can include cultural sensitivity and state regulations as they pertain to the INC. She or he should coordinate community efforts to support the children, youth, and families. Supporting positive relationships with prospective children and families as well as families already living in the neighborhood is essential and ongoing.. • Senior Volunteer Coordinator. This person is responsible for integrating senior residents into the overall mission of the INC. She or he develops and implements a marketing program to make seniors aware of the opportunities of living in an INC, provides initial contact information to prospective residents, and arranges for interviews and visits/ This person oversees the screening and selection of seniors and does the primary orientation of new seniors, stressing the mission of the INC, relationship building, and other important issues including cultural sensitivity and state regulations as they pertain to the INC. She or he is responsible for managing the volunteer hours of seniors, ensuring that all requirements are being met. This person should have the capacity to work with seniors to integrate the number of available hours of volunteer assistance per week in a meaningful way into the program. Educational opportunities for the seniors need to be ongoing. It is necessary for the Senior Volunteer Coordinator to maintain positive relationships with prospective seniors as well as seniors already living at the INC. • Special Programs Coordinator. The primary responsibilities of the Special Programs Coordinator is to oversee all programs that focus on cultivating intergenerational relationships between all the residents residing within the INC. This person oversees the weekly newsletter, monthly and annual events, activities specific to each generation’s interests and needs and activities to encourage intergenerational relationships. She or he should have experience in grant writing, event planning, and community organizing, should be creative, and must have expert skills in balancing relationship boundaries. This person needs to have a good working knowledge of community resources and the ability to evaluate elements of programming that are effective and ineffective. In addition, the

Special Programs Coordinator initiates and oversees the recruitment of non-residential volunteers to enhance events at the INC. • Therapist. The therapist is responsible for providing a clinical assessment of each child, youth, or vulnerable family upon their moving to the INC. When necessary, she or he develops and implements a behavioral-centered intervention or crisis management plan. The therapist is responsible for monthly evaluations and holding regular meetings with each family and staff. In an INC, the therapist must be able to manage boundaries between confidentiality with residents and collaboration with staff. • Social Services Specialist. The Social Services Specialist coordinates all professional social services needed by community residents. She or he acts as the liaison between local and state agencies and the INC and either provides or locates appropriate services, making referrals when necessary. This person monitors all mandatory training and maintains necessary records, documentation, and licensing. She or he needs to maintain a positive, trusting, professional relationship with the residents to assure appropriate social services are provided. The Social Service Specialist, in coordination with staff and community members, determines when the services needed may be provided by the community and when the need exceeds the community’s capacity. • Facilities Maintenance Supervisor. This person can either hold a staff position or be on contract from an outside service provider. The maintenance supervisor is responsible for maintaining the buildings and grounds in a safe and attractive condition. She or he is responsible for property repairs, preventive maintenance, regular facility inspections, implementing state building regulations as they pertain to rental units, and preparing homes for new residents. The Facilities Maintenance Supervisor is on-call for emergency maintenance and assists in any necessary outsourcing of maintenance and grounds related work. Primary Support Population The development of supportive and enduring relationships between the vulnerable and primary support population(s) is crucial to the INC’s success. This population may or may not be compensated for their contribution to the community. • Hope Parents. In the case of Hope Meadows, the primary support population is the parents who support the children they adopted from foster care. Parents, upon completing the application process and being accepted into the program, are compensated with an annual salary that is adjusted during the adoption process, benefits, and affordable housing. The application process is extensive, allowing the INC staff to assess the parents’ desire to not only want to adopt children, but to want to do it in an intergenerational community that encourages relationship building with the entire neighborhood. Secondary Support Population (Volunteers) All INCs will have a secondary support population. This population provides additional support to the vulnerable population, as well as to the primary support population. The secondary support population at Hope Meadows is the older adults. • Hope Seniors. At Hope Meadows, both singles and couples, age 55 and over, may apply to become a Hope Meadows Senior. Though they are not compensated financially, seniors are offered other benefits, including reduced rent. With a recommended ratio of 3 to 4 retiree households for every family household, the benefit of having the support of seniors for the families is invaluable. Hope Meadows also provides benefits to seniors including access to intergenerational activities, support from staff, a community of caring neighbors, a safe environment, companionship of like-minded individuals, and the opportunity to continue having a positive impact by contributing to the lives of others even as they become more vulnerable due to advanced age.   Recruiting Recruiting for both the Primary Support Population and the Secondary Support Population are similar. The aim through recruitment is to be able to maintain at Hope Meadows, over time, between 10 and 15 adoptive families and between 36 and 50 senior households. Developing this number of families gradually makes for a manageable scale and increases the likelihood of close ties among the residents. Either two adults or one can head a Hope family or senior household. However, ideally single female-headed families or senior households should constitute no more than one-third of either population in order to assure a sufficient presence of adult male role models and two-parent households in the neighborhood. Physical Components As stated previously, an INC is a geographically contiguous, intergenerational neighborhood composed of people who come together to address a social challenge. We have identified five key components that are essential in creating the physical, social, and emotional environment for this unique neighborhood.

On-site office It is preferable for management of the property and program, for information purposes, and for the security of the residents, that every INC have an on-site office. At Hope Meadows the office, which is indistinguishable from other building in the neighborhood, is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. During this time, residents can come ask questions, conduct meetings with staff, manage leasing information, and much more. Often, prospective residents will stop by the office to obtain information.   Intergenerational Center (IGC) Known as the “hub” of the neighborhood and functioning as the center of social, cultural, and educational activities, the Intergenerational Center is a building in the center of Hope Meadows and serves a variety of purposes for the community. The IGC has several rooms, including one large room for big events, the community library and computer lab, and multi-purpose rooms to best meet the needs of the community (e.g., play rooms, art rooms, tutoring rooms, and game rooms). The IGC is open during the hours that the office is open, allowing different interest groups to meet, facilitating the development of relationships. It is open after hours for special events. Whenever possible, neighborhood events and activities are encouraged to take place at the IGC. Rules and guidelines have been developed to govern its use. These include, for example, hours of operation and scheduling of activities, who can use the IGC and for what purposes, and volunteer responsibilities.

Other Components Community-wide activities In order to develop and foster relationships between the generations at Hope Meadows, as well as to cultivate a sense of community, it is important that meaningful, purposeful, and wellplanned activities are organized and made available for everyone in the community. Monthly birthday parties, adoption parties, afterschool special activities, craft and skill- centered activities, movie nights, game nights, regular intergenerational trips, and fundraisers are all activities open to the entire community. Relationship development is at the core of all programming. All special programs and activities are the responsibilities of the Special Programs Coordinator.

Generation-specific activities While intergenerational relationships are at the core of the mission of INCs, it is important to invest in and develop each generation in order to accurately meet their unique needs. At Hope Meadows there are child-specific programs where the key programming factors are determined based on the needs and wants of the children. For example, Girls’ Group is a special group only for girls of a predetermined age. This allows the facilitator to address issues of importance to this gender- and age-specific group. For the parents, Hope Meadows has regular parent gatherings where parents come together and discuss certain topics, host a guest speaker, or engage in an agreed upon activity. For the seniors, there is a monthly senior coffee that provides trainings, neighborhood updates, and opportunities to socialize. Bi-annually, a trip is planned just for them. This kind of programming also makes the target population feel special and important to the neighborhood. Neighborhood communication tools Communication is essential in the development of relationships and neighborhood cohesiveness. Communication tools for INCs are important to share information, cultivate relationships, instill pride, and encourage participation in the community. At Hope Meadows, there are several communication tools. Parents, kids, seniors, and staff are encouraged to regularly submit information for a weekly neighborhood newsletter called Seedlings. Senior volunteers distribute Seedlings to all households, and some are even mailed out to supporters of Hope Meadows who do not live on the premises. This newsletter is also featured electronically on the website. Another key established communication tool is a phone tree. This has been effective in getting important information out rapidly. A third communication tool is a monthly calendar of events, often distributed through Seedlings, which features birthdays, and all special activities.


This guide was created to provide an overview in getting started in developing a community based on intentional neighboring. It presents an outline of first steps in assembling a local management team, establishing a founding board and nonprofit, locating land, and provides basic program components.

Creating a Founding Board of Directors Board Composition There are several things to consider when selecting board members. The general task is to assemble a diverse and committed group of individuals who have a strong interest in the mission of the organization and have skills, knowledge and/or influence that would be beneficial to the organization. The optimal size of the Board of Directors is five to seven members. If additional expertise is needed, an advisory council can be established. People with skills, knowledge, and experience in the following areas would be assets on an INC Board of Directors or advisory council: • Law • Business • Investments/banking • Housing • Aging • Development/fundraising/networking • Social services • Research and policy analysis Board Duties According to BoardSource, ten basic responsibilities of nonprofit boards are: • Determine the organization’s mission and purpose. It is the board’s responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served. • Select the chief executive. Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive’s responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position. • Provide proper financial oversight. The board must approve the annual budget and ensure that proper financial controls are in place. • Ensure adequate resources. One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to secure adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. • Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms. • Ensure effective organizational planning. Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s goals. • Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance. All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.

  • Enhance the organization’s public standing. The board should clearly articulate the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community. • Determine, monitor, and strengthen the organization’s programs and services. The board’s responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with the organization’s mission and to monitor their effectiveness. • Support the chief executive and assess his or her performance. The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the goals of the organization.

Executive Director The Executive Director is often the first full-time paid employee. S/he is usually selected well before the INC is built so that s/he can be involved in the planning and development process in conjunction with the Board of Directors. As the INC evolves, roles and tasks will emerge including: • Work with the Board to develop a mission, vision, and goals • Work with the Board on strategic planning • Work cooperatively with the leadership of Generations of Hope • Work to ensure fidelity to the INC core components

Nonprofit Boards For extensive information on Nonprofit Boards, we recommend • the Field Guide to Developing and Operating Your Nonprofit Board of Directors, by Carter McNamara. (Minneapolis: Authenticity Consulting, LLC, 2002). To order, call: 763-971-8890. • the valuable information provided by BoardSource:

More on Intentional Neighboring

  • Generations of Hope White Paper The White Paper, A Fuller Response to Vulnerability (July 2015) is an important document in understanding the basics of an intentional neighboring community (INC), including the foundational values and essential design patterns critical to implementing the INC paradigm. To access the paper, visit

In some instances, the Founder(s) or some members of the Founding Council may be enlisted to serve on the BD. In building a board, careful consideration must be given to the expertise and skills needed by the organization in both the short and the long term. While it is important for board members to “have a heart” for the INC project and agree with the INC core components, it is also important that they bring vital skills and knowledge to their leadership role. One way to transition from the Founding Council to the BD is to have the Founder(s) and Founding Council, if not serving on the BD, continue in an adjunct, advisory or task-specific capacity, perhaps serving on an ad hoc committee(s) to the BD. Ad hoc committees are typically temporary and task-specific. Such an ad hoc committee might work on a piece of the bigger project, for example a capital campaign committee, a public relations/publicity committee, a nomination committee (seeking the most qualified board members), or a research committee (gathering information that will be needed by the board to make important decisions).

Board Responsibilities

Oversee the development of organizational structure, differentiation of responsibilities, job descriptions, and employee qualifications

  • Recruit, select, develop, and evaluate staff members
  • Work with staff to develop, plan, and implement components of intentional neighboring • Establish productive relationships with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies
  • Act as project spokesperson and primary media liaison
  • Develop a personnel policies and procedures manual. Enforce policies. • Work with the Board to ensure adequate program funding/revenue
  • Work with the Board to develop and monitor a budget
  • Communicate regularly with the Board

Establishing a Nonprofit 501(c)(3) One of the first steps in forming an INC is to file for status as a legal nonprofit entity with the Internal Revenue Service. The nonprofit creating the INC will want to acquire both tax-exempt status (the organization does not pay taxes) and tax deductible status (donors may receive tax deductions). Note: All nonprofits must still pay employment taxes. It is best to obtain legal assistance from a nonprofit law attorney or an experienced accountant when applying for 501(c)(3) status. This application process includes developing Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. Legal non-profits are required to open a bank account, and file with the IRS annually.   Typical Requirements for Establishing a 501(c)(3) The organization’s mission and functions must be charitable as defined by the IRS. Some charitable functions that might pertain to INCs include assisting the economically or physically disadvantaged, defending human and civil rights secured by law, combating community deterioration, helping children stay in school and stay out of legal trouble, lessening neighborhood tensions, advancement of religion, and lessening the burdens of government.

  • The 501(c)(3) must not be organized or operated to benefit private interests.
  • No earnings may inure to any individual or private shareholder.
  • The organization may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities. It may not endorse political candidates nor participate in campaign activities.
  • The organization must be a corporation, community chest, fund, or foundation • The organizing documents must limit the activities of the organization to charitable purposes as outlined above. • The organization’s assets must be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose, and if the nonprofit is dissolved, its assets must be distributed to a tax exempt or public purpose. It is best to specify asset distribution in the event of dissolution in the Articles of Incorporation.

Articles of Incorporation The following information is typically required in the Articles of Incorporation: • Organization name and mission/purpose • Statement that the corporation is “perpetual” • Names and addresses of initial directors • Name and address of the Founder(s) and the registered agent of the corporation • Specification as to whether the organization’s members will be voting or non-voting •

  • Asset distribution in the event of corporate dissolution

Establishing 501(c)(3) non-profit status You can find a comprehensive guide to establishing a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation on the IRS website:,,id=96099,00.html

Further sources of information The information in this document regarding Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, and Helpful Forms was compiled from: • the Field Guide to Developing and Operating Your Nonprofit Board of Directors, and • How to Start a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization, available at

By-Laws By-laws specify how the organization will be configured and operate. They are written by the organization and may be later amended by a Board decision. Typical issues addressed include:


  • Organization name and mission/purpose
  • Size of the Board of Directors and key Board positions and committees
  • Length of Board terms and frequency of Board Member elections, if applicable
  • Membership (responsibilities, dues, quorum, voting procedure)
  • Procedures for amending by-laws
  • Output Expectations
  • Aging in place (isolation list)
  • Successful life course transitions
    • Residential launching
    • First employment
    • Major anniversaries
    • Death of spouse
  • Transformataive gains
  • Independence
  • Social connectedness
  • Graduated Growth in Responsibilities
  • Expanded role in community at large

A Generations of Hope community demonstrates what we know intuitively: that ordinary people, under the right circumstances, through caring relationships and enduring commitments, can make the kind of difference conventional social service systems alone cannot. It is caring intergenerational relationships formed within the neighborhood between older adults, parents, and a vulnerable population, and their ongoing involvement with each other that transforms a community into a successful village. All communities depend on obtaining the cooperation of the state and local governments including housing agencies and human service agencies.

Social Challenge An INC is designed to respond directly to a social challenge which, left unaddressed, has potential long-term negative consequences. These challenges involve persons whose broad range of needs is usually too great to be satisfied solely by a formal social service system. Often, the children, youth, and young adults affected are disconnected from or lack support of a strong family and community. Like everyone else, they need nurturing, stable, and consistent familial relationships that provide responsive and reciprocal interactions in a safe, supportive, and stable neighborhood. People are motivated to live in and support an INC by the specific social challenge it addresses and by the opportunity to “make a difference.”

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