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History and structure

This group began when six residents gathered in Fall 2017 to watch the documentary, “Arc of Justice.” One woman was losing her home to foreclosure, another relocated from a neighborhood that gentrified. Others had decades of experience in Germantown, felt personally vulnerable, and wanted to maintain the bonds of community. We wanted to start a community land trust.

 

We gathered over potlucks, invited others, identified shared values and goals, zooming out to a bigger picture of beloved community. By Spring 2018, we had a name and a study group, and incorporated that December. In 2019, working groups formed, and we began hosting events and demonstrating models-- swap meets, collaborative learning around gentrification, and the time bank. We’ve grown to have a Tool Library in the making, Mutual Aid Fund (and more). 

GREAT's overall structure is committee-based. Focused around each of our main projects, we have committees, and sometimes working groups or learning circles that meet monthly on average. The committees are the core body where projects and activities come from. Other volunteers help bring these activities to life by helping with specific events, tasks, etc.

For the first few years, GREAT was entirely volunteer-operated. During our Mutual Aid Fund, it became necessary to begin compensating folks in two roles- Organizer and Mutual Aid Fund Coordinator. As the activities and needs of the group evolved, so did the roles. Several folks who were active members of GREAT have begun to earn income for their contributions in varying capacities. This includes Garden Organizers, Housing Organizers, Project and Event Support, and Bookkeeping. With more financial resources, we will be able to compensate more adequately as well as continue to build our capacity so that we can keep up with the pace and scale of ideas that are generated by our committees.

Through the Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance (AORTA), we have learned about the non-profit industrial complex, and we strive to benefit from the resources that are available to non-profits, while not compromising on our mission and values. We aim to operate as a community organization, represented by the following graphic created by AORTA, and in contrast to the traditional non-profit organization model.

 

 

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