By Chris Wolf
One way we define vitality-centered education is learning that puts life at the center. When life is at the center of a design, change is something you can expect. The quote attributed to Heraclitus affirms: “Change is the only constant in life.” In accordance with this principle, every year at Springhouse we do some reevaluation of our roles and responsibilities as a staff, and coming out of that process this year I have stepped into finance-land! In addition to managing our day to day bookkeeping, I will be working on refining the language and implementation of our generative economic model.
I was SO excited and inspired about the change when we moved away from set tuition and fees to a model that removes the paywall from our programming and invites community members into the unknown waters of both unconditional welcome and a responsibility to contribute with integrity. Now even in signing up, you are invited into the beautiful and challenging process of building regenerative culture. We have moved from a transaction across lines, to a collaborative process around the same center.
It’s easy enough to open the doors, but it becomes more challenging to ensure that we bring in the funds to maintain operations and ensure our programs are sustainable. How do we keep both the warm spirit of unconditional welcome, while calling on everyone to do what they can to bring in the necessary resources for this project of Springhouse to continue? When there is no set program fee, it’s disorienting – change often is. Some things we’ll experiment with this year to support and empower you in determining the amount of your financial contributions:
- Providing more specific breakdowns on program costs
- Referencing the costs of comparable programs
- Inviting more rigorous personal budget examination
- Encouraging outreach within personal networks for financial support
- Asking for a “dream” financial contribution amount as well as a “realistic” one
I am glad to be working more closely with this financial aspect of Springhouse. It’s challenging, but I come away energized from almost all my conversations in this realm. Change can be fun also! Trust, transparency and relationship remain at the heart of the economic model. Let’s have faith, share what’s true and remember that we’re in this together.
P.S. Want to contribute to our work? You can give online here.
As someone who is about to enter the adult learner program, what would be helpful for me is guidance/a workshop on values clarification and setting economic priorities. The question “Can I afford_____?” was ingrained in me by a scarcity mentality. It didn’t include the idea that WE are all connected and maybe it’s not just all about me and my personal security. Maybe an investment in an organization that supports my values in the long run will produce a “dividend” that on my deathbed will be much more valuable to me than $. I have lots of curiosity about the SH economic model.