I started a non-profit in 2016 to be able to use as the corporate structure under which I could organize local initiatives based around community building and sustainability. I founded the organization without the help of lawyers and tax professionals, a process I recommend for anyone interested in starting an organization of their own. It let me understand the process, something I had absolutely no experience with. I wrote the bylaws for the organization and also appointed a board of directors who oversees the non-profit. I also created the website, brand, mission statement, and just about everything else involved with the project.
We started selling a few items to support Syrians and Palestinians. Soap, tea, creosote oil (that I harvest myself here in Tucson), and so on. Little gifts people could purchase and a portion of the proceeds would go to help organizations on the ground working in the countries that created the products.
In November of 2016, I was awarded a $120k grant for Llacuna, and we are currently using that grant to create a marketing strategy that furthers the ideas and values of the organization.
We still have not officially launched the organization, but plan to sometime in 2017. For now, there are a few things you can purchase and a few ideas for social projects on the website that you can read. Going forward, Llacuna is on a course to publish research and writings centered around its mission statement.
Below is a sample of Llacuna’s bylaws:
Declaration of Interdependence
3.1 We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. As a leader in this new economy, we believe:
That we must be the change we wish to see in the world.
That all business ought be conducted as if people and place matter.
That, through their products, practices and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each interdependent upon one another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
And just for fun, here are some more:
1.1 Supplier Preference
Women or minority owned businesses are considered prefered suppliers when being offered an equal value product to other suppliers. Women or minority owned businesses are businesses that are majority-owned and controlled by women or ethnic minorities.
1.2 Environmental Practices
Llacuna Inc. is required to weigh any environmental impact when:
a.) Choosing suppliers for goods and services
b.) Developing new programming or events
c.) Advocating for policy changes
d.) It is deemed by the community irresponsible to neglect
Furthermore, Llacuna Inc. must screen and evaluate Significant Suppliers for their social and environmental impact on the earth. Significant suppliers must allow Llacuna representatives on-site tours as a per-requisite to becoming a Significant Supplier. Suppliers may be dropped if their impact on earth is determined to be unhealthy by the board of directors.
1.3 Banking Practices
When possible, Llacuna Inc. shall work with responsible banking institutions that invest in sustainable development as part of their mission.