Starting a Community

This page is a compilation of articles on Community Creation. We are continually adding information and articles, and your feedback and questions let us know what information is relevant and useful.


Organizing a Core Group

Creating a community is hard work, and often takes the devoted efforts of many people over many years to establish a stable realization of their goals.

A "core group" is a group of people who have agreed to devote themselves to the community creation process. Your core group will consist of the people who will take on tasks and do them. Your core group will be the people that see the project through.

The following sections will help to explain how to find people to form your core group, and important things for your core group to try to accomplish.


How will you and your future communards fund your communities creation? This section deals with the issues of funding.

Starting up a community can require a significant amount of capital. Many communities are started by the founding members pooling their existing assets into the new common treasury. This will probably be one of your main sources of funds. There are also several resources we suggest exploring for funding sources:


Contact the FEC

The FEC has recently started a expansion fund that will be used to loan money for communities in the formation stages. Click here to contact the FEC


PEACH is a collective catastrophic health insurance program started by the FEC for income-sharing communities. The health fund increases its capital by making loans for projects that are consistent with the overall goals of the member communities. One of these areas has been helping to fund new communities, although loans are not limited to this purpose. Click here to contact PEACH

FIC Community Magazine

While not specifically focused on egalitarian communities, the Foundation for Intentional Communities puts out a quarterly magazine called Communities. There are often many advertisements for funding in each issue. The magazine is also a place where one can publish ads requesting additional types of support and see other similar requests and offers, as well as being an excellent source of information about communities in general. Click here to visit the Communities magazine website.

Local/Project Specific Grants

Depending on where your community is located, there are often local sources of funding offered by local and state governments, or other various non-profit or non-governmental agencies. Many of these sources of funding are also specific project based. For example, some of the communities in Missouri were able to have the state's department of agriculture fund most of the cost of re-dredging some of their ponds which were necessary for their farming. Urban communities with more of an outreach focus may be able to receive funding or partner with various other organizations to accomplish common goals. Since most of these sources of funding are location based and extremely numerous they won't be listed here. However, it is worth keeping in mind that funding may be found in some amount from organizations that are not community focused, and a search of these sources should not be overlooked.



The Communities Directory and Communities Magazine are both published by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, and contain a wealth of information that is useful for forming and established communities. The most recent version of the Directory was released in 2007, and Communities Magazine comes out quarterly. Content and ordering information is available at or phone 800-995-8342.

"Creating a Life Together". Subtitled "Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities", this book was written in 2005 by Diana Christian, editor of Communities Magazine. You can find out more at

In addition to "Creating a Life Together", the webpage contains an entire section on books on the theme of "Building Community". Visit the FIC's Store main homepage above or specifically or phone number above.

For people specifically interested in a large-scale, rural, income-sharing model, there are several books written about Twin Oaks, including the first five years. "Is It Utopia Yet?" is the most recent book (published 1994), and the earlier ones are "Living The Dream" and "A Walden II Experiment". Ordering information can be found at or by calling 540-894-5126.


The Fellowship for Intentional Community is a networking, umbrella group of hundreds of communities of all different styles. One of their primary missions is to distribute information about community building.  They maintain a directory of community consultants.  They also archive articles from Communities Magazine online and are searchable by tags such as "starting a community".

The Federation of Egalitarian Communities: this webpage features a "Systems and Structures" section, which is a compilation of policies from various income-sharing communities. They are freely available for people to peruse and use as they see fit, either modifying them to suit your group, or using them as a springboard for forming your own.

The Northwest Intentional Communities Association (NICA) is a community networking group for the NorthWest US. Their homepage has a large "Intentional Community Resources" section for creating community. 

The Twin Oaks website has a lot of information about how Twin Oaks is organized, including a policies page. These policies are specific toTwin Oaks but could be modified or used as a starting framework for new groups. 


For forming groups, it is extremely useful to visit real life communities, including ones that are very different from your vision. Finding out how other groups organize themselves provides an enormous amount of information as a starting point, and can be very helpful in clarifying for yourselves how you do or don't want to do things. I encourage you to visit as many communities as you can. (it's often easier to do this in your geographic region, as it requires a lower investment of time and travel money). The FIC's webpage includes a list of communities, and you can search geographically, so you'd be able to find ones in the area you're interested in. (go to the "List of...." link and click "geographic search").


Twin Oaks hosts an annual Communities Conference which offers workshops on various aspects of living cooperatively (decison- making, interpersonal skills, etc.). The conference is a wonderful resource for meeting both other seekers who may want to join your effort, as well as experienced communitarians who have insights and skills to offer. For more information, please visit the Communities Conference website or call 540-894-5126.

You might also want to consider doing a Three-Week Visitor Program at Twin Oaks to learn how Twin Oaks structures ourselves. (Bear in mind that we are income-sharing, which may be different from your set-up, and still useful). Our Visitor Program is quite structured and offers orientations on various aspects of how we structure and organize ourselves--communal decision-making and self-governance, group health care, our legal structure and policies, child-raising, and more. If you're in our area sometime, you may want to come for a Saturday tour.

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in California offers a Starting and Sustaining Intentional Communities Course for those who dream of establishing a land-based intentional community or education center.  It covers topics such as visioning; how to find land and finance a purchase; the various legal forms available for holding land (limited liability company, corporation, land trust, etc.); organizing as a for-profit or a nonprofit; group decision-making process (meetings, agreements, facilitation, agenda management, conflict resolution); financial organization of your community; legal and insurance issues and costs; dealing with zoning and regulations; and long-term planning.  For more information, contact the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.

Diana Christian, author of "Creating A Life Together," offers workshops on starting new communities. The workshops take place in existing communities around the country.  She also offers consultations, webinars, courses, and other presentations geared towards starting or existing communities.  More information is available on her website.

The Fellowship for Intentional Community maintains an events calendar on which individuals can list community-related events around the country.