I started a non-profit in 2016 to support local initiatives based around community building and sustainability. I founded the organization without the help of lawyers or tax professionals, a process I recommend for anyone interested in starting an organization of their own. It led me to understand the process of forming a corporate entity, 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 Google grant for Llacuna, and we used that grant to create a marketing strategy that furthered the ideas and values of the organization.
In 2019, the organization changed its focus, dropping the online shop in favor of building technology to support the our mission. Since then, we have built a web presence for Tucson based groups focusing on social justice, independent media, and immigration. Going forward, Llacuna is will publish research and writings while organizing communities around sustainability.
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.
here are some more:
1.1 Supplier Preference
Women or minority owned businesses are considered preferred 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.