Dear NYC REIC Members,
We have gone into full-swing in our Workgroups, with much to report from the past three weeks.
The latest REIC (say R-E-I-C) newsletter is hot off the virtual press - this time in its new monthly format. For ease of navigating, sandwiched between all-member meeting information and basic info to conclude, you will find reports from each workgroup.
Get informed, and get active! Get involved in shaping the REIC!
Recent Events – Past Meetings
We last all met at the All Workgroup Meeting on October 15 at Brooklyn Law School. We discussed how the workgroups of the summer quarter would transform during the fall to winter quarter, through to the next All-Member Meeting on January 28, 2016. Some workgroups were put on hold, some expanded their scope of activity, and a couple of new workgroups were launched, including the Governance Workgroup.
See information about all of the current workgroups here: http://nycreic.com/meet/ and join us!
SAVE the DATES!
Upcoming Events – Future Meetings
Governance Workgroup will host a Report Back Meeting and present a Draft Governance Proposal to the membership on November 18, 6:30-8:30pm at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South. Come ask all your questions about bylaws, policies, and procedures for creating a board and soliciting member input as we make choices as a cooperative. If you want to steer the REIC, join the Governance Workgroup to help shape the plan we will implement together in January 2016.
First All-Coop Decision-Making Meeting on January 28, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Stay tuned as the Governance Workgroup establishes bylaws, policies and procedures for making choices in preparation for this important date. Please come to the November meeting in preparation for this important All-Member Meeting.
Become a Member of NYC REIC:
There are 4 requirements for active membership in NYC REIC:
(1) Reading and signing the member agreement;
(2) Contributing a membership fee of $10;
(3) Attending a quarterly All-Member NYC REIC meeting;
(4) Endeavoring to conduct membership in accordance with the principles of cooperation.
Arts & Media
Arts & Media Workgroup meeting October 30. Photo: Stephen Korns
Arts & Media held its first workgroup meeting for this quarter on October 30. The main topic of conversation was establishing an organizational archive in order to facilitate understanding of the REIC for new and future members, and to ensure documentation of the organic development/growth that is not likely to be collected via the blog or the wiki. This may have overlaps with other initiatives by other groups - we will be reaching out to discuss our scope and gather ideas.
We have been working on expanding REIC communications outlets. First up: the Blog is going live! We invite you contribute! We are looking for designated bloggers from each workgroup to get information about your group activities out in the world between monthly newsletters. Please also share your stories, events and information re: REIC related topics, e.g.: cooperatives, land trusts, news items about alternative methods of financing, and so on. We have created a Blogging Standards and Style Guide which you can access through the REIC Blog (http://nycreic.com/blogging-standards-and-style-guide/) or in document form here. Secondly: we now have official Tweeters. Send us input! Contact for blogging and tweeting is: email@example.com
Our next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 21, at 3:00-5pm, at 139 Fulton Street, 903A.
Member Data Management
Specifically: we need you to commit to calling 3-10 NYC REIC members and saying hello next week, double-checking that we have the right information for them and reminding them about the November 18 Governance Report Back Meeting. It will be fun! We will be making calls next week and we will train you. Join us on a conference call on Monday, November 9 at 8-9pm for a training for the calls: (605) 475-5900, access code 309-0118.
We have a new workgroup to make sure that our information flows in all the right directions. We are upgrading from paper forms stored on Adina’s bookshelf and a spreadsheet to an actual system through which we can keep accurate information about all of our members, our collective resources and motivations and each of our contributions to our cooperative efforts. To do this well, we need you!
If you want to make calls (we know you do!), but can’t make the conference call training, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject PHONE TREE and we’ll set up another time to fill you in.
On October 22, Risa Shoup and Caroline Woolard presented at the MAS Summit 2015, an annual event that draws together individuals from the public and private sectors to generate dialogue about challenges to our built and natural environments and pose innovative solutions to remedy them for the betterment of our City.
Risa and Caroline described the origin of the REIC, our current goals, and how to join. They spoke with many individuals from the fields of planning and development who expressed support for the project an interest in joining. Watch the video here!
Photo: Sam Frommer (Risa Shoup is the shorter one)
Paula Segal spoke at the SOCAP Conference in San Francisco on October 8. She was joined by Amy Cortese, journalist and founder of Locavesting; John Katovich, President of Cutting Edge Capital; Steve King, ED of Oakland Community Land Trust; and Chris Tittle, Director of Organizational Resources for the Sustainable Economies Law Center. The panel addressed “innovative approaches – from real estate investment cooperatives to community land trusts – to keep property and control in the hands of residents and ensure vibrant, diverse communities.”
Pictured from left to right: Steve King, John Katovich, Amy Cortese, Chris Tittle, and Paula.
The Interim Facilitation Team has set up bi-monthly Thursday night meetings starting on November 5. However, they also enjoy spending time together in a more social capacity. Above is a shot of a recent dinner they had together!
The Governance Workgroup met in Brooklyn on October 19. The purpose of this first meeting was to establish internal norms of the group, clarify the group's purpose, and set short-term and long-term goals. At this stage, Governance is researching cooperative principles and examining bylaws used by other cooperatives. They are excited to be working with students from Brooklyn Law School’s CUBE, who will help with research and legal issues. The Governance Workgroup will make a presentation to the REIC on November 18 to explain the values that will guide them in writing bylaws and clarify any questions about current and future REIC governance.
Feel free to contact Governance Workgroup via email: email@example.com
The Governance Workgroup has just held a meeting on November 2, and its next meeting will take place on November 16 at 6:30pm. All active REIC members are welcome to attend!
Case Studies- REIC U
The second topic of discussion was the Wiki (http://reic-wiki.herokuapp.com), which will continue to serve as a repository for financial models, governance structures, cooperative ventures, and other projects that can guide the REIC. Lastly, the decision was made to explore different methods of small-group collaboration at future Case Studies meetings that can serve as best practices for keeping workgroup meetings focused and productive.
In the weeks ahead, Case Studies will attempt to prepare two card decks with Arts & Media for the November 18 Governance Report Back Meeting, one set describing specific investment precedents, and the other explaining broader financial and governance structures. Case Studies will also collaborate with Governance in the coming months to weed through the structures of other cooperatives, in order to formulate a set of draft bylaws.
To reach Case Studies Workgroup by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the October 15 All-Workgroup Meeting, the need for a case studies workgroup was reaffirmed, and Case Studies met for the first time during its 2nd quarter on October 22. One topic of discussion that evening was the formation of what is tentatively named “REIC U”, a program designed to help new and existing members catch up on the precedent research performed by Case Studies. This will hopefully enable more members to be on the same page when discussing investment and real estate jargon with each other, in addition to getting everyone familiar with successful elements of the various case studies we might use in creating our own cooperative enterprise.
Brainstorming and scoping. Photo: Dan Taeyoung
PBIG (Public Buildings Inventory Group & Community Outreach)
During the first quarter of our activity, over the course of the summer, we identified 6 potential properties for the REIC.
These properties are all vacant, city-owned, and geared toward commercial or manufacturing uses. By focusing on buildings that are owned by the city first, we insure that publicly held assets are utilized to the benefit of the neighborhoods they are located in.
We have already had some significant achievements and steps in progress among the identified properties:
Now in our second quarter, we are expanding our scope of action to comprise the next steps in community outreach, as well as further feasibility studies and more direct communication with the relevant government agencies.
Rafael and Paula achieved success in their grassroots effort, collaboration with Council Member Ruben Wills, 596 Acres, Picture the Homeless, and Banana Kelly to keep a former Health Department building in Jamaica that the REIC identified as a potential development property a public asset. Since the building still belongs to the City, there remains a possibility of a long-term community-centered planning process for the building's use. Here is how they did it: at the urging of neighbors, a local church, the REIC, the New York City Community Land Initiative and 596 Acres, Council Member Wills requested that the City remove the building from the “Surplus” Real Estate Auction held on October 28, 2015; the City ignored his request, but Paula made sure that potential bidders were aware that the Council Member did not support the privatization of the property by distributing copies of the letter from the Member to every potential bidder in the auction hall. Check out the City Limits coverage of the auction – and protest – here.
Adele and Ben testified in favor of landmark status at the hearing for the Coney Island Pumping Station, which would preserve the historically significant structure, and open up the opportunity for a community based use in the long term. We will keep in touch with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and we should know the outcome in the beginning of 2016. Meanwhile, this also provided a big step in community outreach and first contacts.
Paula, Dan and Adele took part in a productive discussion with the National Trust for Historic Preservation at a closed session of the MAS Summit 2015, initiated by the NTHP in an attempt to get information about how they can better serve the needs of NYC. The discussion was the first in an ongoing series, to be continued. The Coney Island Pumping Station was discussed here, among other issues.
If you are interested in securing permanent, community based uses for these four properties, have ideas for organizational engagement around the other two, or know of another building we should explore for NYC REIC, please send an email to the group, or come to our next meeting!
Our email: email@example.com
Our next meeting will take place on November 17, at 7pm, at 596 Acres, 540 President St., 2E. If you plan on attending, please RSVP here.
Project Scoping met for the first time on October 26 to define their own scope. The group engaged in a project/criteria brainstorming process, as a means of clarifying and honing specific ideas for what each member envisions. This process enabled the group (1) to tentatively define specific ideas for an REIC project, which would then be used to garner feedback between workgroups; and (2) to further clarify a brainstorming process to take the project forward in a constant mode of redefinition.
In the coming weeks, Project Scoping hopes to present a tentative example of a project and a set of questions to each workgroup, in a process designed to make the most of each workgroup's research and work. Project Scoping has just held a meeting on November 2, with the next meeting TBA.
To reach Project Scoping workgroup by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our Calendar:
The Project Scoping workgroup was formed during the October 15 All-Workgroup Meeting. By interfacing with the other workgroups, it aims to facilitate defining a scope for specific REIC projects.
We maintain a Google Calendar with all workgroup meetings. Please add this to your gCal, or look at http://nycreic.com/meet to stay updated with our meeting times:
Please Help Cover our Current Operating Expenses!
You can support REIC’s development by making a charitable donation during this incubation period for very basic expenses, like the monthly charges that must be paid to circulate this e-newsletter. Please contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to make a charitable contribution (not an investment) during the incubation period of the NYC REIC.
REIC Learn and Share
What the REIC? Check Out Our Video:
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New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative