The SRI Article is a good general background introduction to the importance of Socially Responsible Investing, & explains why this kind of project is of a particularly important type to be investing in.
Shares in the EcoVillage
The land remains property of a Foundation, Association or Cooperative – members have shares & right of use & re-sale – note that share prices are reviewed and usually will go up every year.
We expect all permanent members to eventually have a full share, but you don’t have to start with such a big investment from the beginning, and just contribute more for the monthly costs (we have a sliding scale), but if you just want to come for part of each year on your vacations, you can also have mini-shares corresponding to how many months of the year you want to spend here.
Note that technically what we here call ‘shares’ are loans to the Project (association, foundation, cooperative – once established) toward the 8thLife Panama Initiative, they are not stocks or securities and there is no joint stock company at present. We use the term share as described in the first definition of the wikipedia share disambiguation page: To share a resource (such as food or money) is to make joint use of it; see sharing.
Four Investment Options
You become an investor in the Community as soon as you invest in the project, giving your full name and passport number on the deposit description, paying any multiple of $2,000 (up to $20,000 maximum). The minimum investment is $2,000 (one ‘mini-share’) and the maximum is $20,000 (one full ‘share’). The percentage of interest gained will be proportional to the increase in productive value of the site, and this you can contribute to directly if you wish, by being an active patron of this Collaborative Work-Life Initiative.
You can withdraw your investment at any time on condition that there is another person that wishes to buy your share at the time. The value of the shares should increase with time, depending on the quality of the work done on the farm, external markets and the productivity of the eco-community and eco-businesses we are creating here.
So of course your creative involvement toward those ends is encouraged, although not obligatory. Your application will take priority should you wish to become an Community Resident, if all other usual conditions permit. Note that share prices will be reviewed (usually will go up) every year.
Your initial payment for a share as founder, member villager, collaborative villager, or external collaborator are investments. Monthly quotas pay monthly expenses of everyone who live at the Community and aren’t an investment.
1 Be a permanent member and invest in a full share or a portion thereof
People who have invested money in one share – or at least 5 months worth (of living on site) as a minimum = $10,000 – are residents.
After the mutual decision is made, then you invest in a share of the Eco Community. With your share comes a lot to build your house on and the ability to develop productive projects on the land, along with participation and vote in the village assemblies.
Your investment is a share in the community. In 2017 the initial share value is $20,000. This gives you access to a residential lot on which to build your house in one of the healthiest possible living environments, access to productive land for other projects, and a supportive living and working environment plus some interesting business opportunities, in case, like most of us, you’re not financially independent. Of course your home and business can be sold if you ever wish to move on, adding greatly to your investment.
2 Pay a monthly rent & not have a share to start with- maybe later on
3 Come here for part of every year and have mini-shares
This works like a time-share. $2,000 for each mini-share (a mini-share equals one month per year) – if you buy one month, you can live on site one month per year, (at a reduced cost of ‘rent’ during the time you’re here) until you re-sell your share to someone else. This support the project – please note that each share or mini-share is a permanent investment, so you only need to pay for them once, not every year or month.
4 Invest in the EcoCommunity but not live here
External Investors (or ‘Angel Investors’ = people who do not live in the EcoVillage, although they might visit or stay for holidays as arranged with the residents)
We welcome external investors, in which case you will simply “keep your money in the project” as you would keep money in a bank, but knowing that ‘the bank’ in this case is the earth, quite directly. Here we are only putting the ‘shares money’ to work on improving the fertility and economic viability of a specific piece of land and project, as described in this web and in strict accordance with permaculture design principles, ethics, directives and techniques. The first external investors may contribute to reimbursing the land value to the founder, establishing the legal entity and transferring the land to it.
What do those investments pay for?
This share money goes mainly to infrastructure costs & can be recuperated on exit from the project (if there are new share-holders wanting to buy your share).
In addition there are monthly living costs which are shared among all residents, as in any household, and ‘rent’. Rent applies to everyone during the early stages before members build their houses on the property, to mini-share holders, renters, and anyone at any point in time who lives at the Guest House.
The initial quotas of the founders first go to pay for the land then towards the costs of establishing the legal entity which will ensure the future of the Community. A common fund will also be maintained to cover the initial infrastructure projects. Percentages will be established for each.
The manager of the 8thLife Panama Collaborative Work-Life Initiative already purchased the land, but to maintain equality among members, once there are sufficient co-founders to reimburse her the cost of the land (less the value of her initial quota) and to establish the legal entity under which the land will be held, the land will be transferred to the legal entity. This way everyone has an equal stake in the project.
Other investments can be designated for the land fund or for the common infrastructure project fund. Some examples of infrastructure that are needed include: a culvert/bridge to cross the stream, and the water and electric systems. Also included in this category is the development of the detailed plan of the Finca with its respective topography and indicating the type of vegetation, soils, superficial water, etc. The manager/ initial founder of this initiative may continue to invest in some of these elements, which may increase the initial share value and/or where initial share investments are deposited (land fund versus common infrastructure fund, for instance).
At some point in time we estimate there may be a cost associated with administering these funds, which may very well be the EcoBusiness of a co-founder which is dedicated to seeking new investments and donations and promoting the project. If and when this occurs, we will disclose it here.
Donations are also welcome from individuals & organizations who wish to support our work, and can be of any amount. The difference with donations is of course that they are a gift, with no expectation of return of the moneys in the future, but investments are loans (& speculative risk, as with any type of investment).
We welcome those making donations (as with investors) who also wish to be involved more actively in the management of whatever funds they donate – for example in making the decisions about which project to support with their funds, follow developments & be involved in the practical work to any extent which is possible.
Some examples of project costs follow (but note that even small donations of $10-100 for example are very useful & welcome as we could put them towards funds for any of these or other projects):
there are many young people who would greatly benefit from doing one of the practical integral permaculture design internships but can’t afford the costs. We would love to offer some scholarships to cover partial or full costs for such people. The volunteers/interns can then be matched up with donors to keep them in touch personally with their progress, if the donor wishes. A full scholarship (course, transport, 2 month residency + materials to build whatever project they choose) for one intern is between $2500-$3000
Scholarships for Permaculture Students
we work with NodoEspiral of the PermaCulture Academy which donates all income to building transition projects & most of the regular income which has made possible our sister eco-village project in the Canary Islands comes from this source. So any students that get scholarships to do any of the Academy’s courses (see http://bit.ly/ActionLearningCourses) would have a double benefit: for the student and the eco-village project. A full scholarship for one student would be between 140€ & 2,700€ (EUROS) depending on which course they choose.
Building Small Structures
many small structures will need to be built for the community, like solar showers, compost toilets, out-door kitchen, animal shelters, clay ovens, solar panels, windmills, micro-hydro plants, water storage … etc.
If you have a pet project you would like to build, or see built, this is a great way to combine a donation with an active holiday, or just monitor it from a distance as we can keep you fully informed of progress (with videos, etc) & involved in all design decisions (through skype meetings), if you wish.
These can cost anything between $50 and $5,000 in materials, + more if we also employ an expert builder (also helping employ local skilled artisans, which is very important for the economy).
Building Major Structures
Initial cost estimates for the culvert/bridge that will be needed in order to access the property put it around $15,000.00. We still haven’t priced development of the topographic map described earlier, or the development of the water and electric systems. Of course, these can start small, we’re looking for replicable and expandable solutions.
Subsidizing a Share
Subsidizing families & individuals who would love to buy a share in the Community but don’t have the funds to do so is a great way to ensure that someone who has been cooperating and sharing with us and who has participated in the PDCi courses, can become a member more quickly. The amounts for this option would be between $5,000 – $50,000 – $100,000 & they don’t have to come from one donor, but you can say if you would like your donation to start such a fund.
Testimony from an Investor
From Heloisa Primavera, on becoming the first Angel Investor of 8thLife La Palma, Canary Islands.
Today what we most need is knowledge. To express ourselves, to know who needs the much that we can produce, to take the much & varied that we need from others … Including to use the little money we need to live well.
These days a bigger crisis is passing in front of us – global, integrated, deep, ready to disintegrate us as a species. I correct here the current accepted view that “the planet” is in danger: the planet if fine, thanks!
It demonstrates it all the time with its adjustments, as we have been witnessing these last years, against which we can do little or nothing, if we haven’t predicted it since 30-50years. It is us as a species that believes ourselves the dominant one who is doing very badly ..
For that reason, those savings we had reserved for the future (as our grandparents wanted) is very good that we start using them NOW, with some strategic sense: to ensure that there will be liveable space for our children & grandchildren. & their children & grandchildren
I don’t know how many we will be, but some of us believe that even so we have things to do.
For that reason I decided, without hesitation, to make an investment in this present future that is the EcoVillage Project of Gaia Tasiri, where we are building new relationships in many dimensions: between each of us and their family, with our neighbours near & further on, with Mother Earth, our Pachamama who is tired of being irrationally exploited. We want to be able to take on healing & caring for our little & infinite blue planet, for ourselves & future generations.
My speciality is the construction of sustainable money systems. They look at me and see “social currencies”: those which are designed, produced, distributed & controlled by their users, for the satisfaction of their mutual needs, by those who believe they have not only the right but also the duty to un-mask that great misunderstanding that was transforming money into a commodity
But a sustainable money system needs a sustainable territory in order to make sense!
For this reason the re-localization of my savings makes sense.
I was looking for it for a while. I didn’t find it because I know too well the traditional banking system. I remembered Stella Strega (never better named) & we got back in touch in order to see how we were doing & I didn’t doubt one instant. I know that we will have very concrete results to show for it very soon.
Welcome to the little canarian ship that is already sailing in the future of our young ones.