In early November, a group of community members and grassroots leaders from Kingston, NY, gathered at The Uplands Center for the final retreat of a community fund project facilitated by three trustees of the Good Work Institute (GWI).
GWI is a worker-directed nonprofit based in the Mahicantuck / Hudson Valley of New York. Founded in 2015, the organization cultivates and supports a diverse network of people, initiatives, and organizations committed to Good Work, in order to foster and collectively manifest regenerative, just, and life-affirming communities.
GWI also aims to act as a catalyst for a sustained Just Transition movement in an era affected by climate change. As a part of that project, 18 participants gathered at the Uplands to apply the learning and trust that has built over five months, to inform the development of a democratically-managed community fund, aligned with the Just Transition framework, for the benefit of the people of Kingston. Aiming to uplift the possibilities of community-controlled finance, the fund’s pilot will redistribute $150K in 2024. The funds will be granted to people and groups whose ideas will benefit the community – including in the realms of housing, transportation, childcare, access to resources and fortifying community connections – and who would otherwise struggle to receive traditional funding.
Over three days, the group considered the “who,” “how” and “why” of their work together. Interspersed between working sessions, they enjoyed some of the offerings at The Uplands. They gathered around a fire in the living room during their first night together, deepening connections and preparing for the weekend’s program. On Day 2, the group’s intensive work sessions were book-ended by an Uplands-led yoga class in the morning and a sound bath in the evening, after a shared meal. Another sound bath was provided on their final day, requested by several participants.
The Uplands was delighted to host Good Work Institute and its Kingston-based cohort, as they foster care, connection and wise stewardship of our shared resources. We look forward to celebrating the fruits of their collective efforts in the coming period.