Changing Organizational Culture: FIC at Twin Oaks

Changing Organizational Culture: FIC at Twin Oaks

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) hosted its twice annual Organizational (Org) Meeting at the end of October. For over thirty years, this gathering has taken place at different intentional communities throughout North America. This year we met at Twin Oaks, a six decades old income-sharing community located in Virginia. The meeting marked a pivotal milestone in the evolution of FIC. We are excited to share some of our new developments!

With autumn rain and chill outside, we met in “the pit,” a cushioned depression surrounding a fireplace in one of the common spaces at Twin Oaks. Twelve FIC Board Members and Staff dreamed, designed, and debated together over the course of three days. Each FIC Org Meeting begins with telling stories from the “bag of beads.” A long thread holds a unique array of beads, different colors and shapes, each one signifying an important moment in the history of FIC.  Rooted in our history, we focused our first morning session on the present moment. We each shared our reasons for being part of FIC and the wider communities movement. We spoke about how much inspiration, purpose, and support we find in this network. We affirmed that FIC has huge potential as a lever for global transformation. We then outlined key ways that FIC isn’t yet meeting our expectations as an impactful presence in the world. It was immensely satisfying to see progress in each of these areas during our meeting days.

FIC is working to build a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible organization. During our meeting at Twin Oaks, we took another important step in many strides FIC has taken in recent years to decenter our culture as predominately white, male, and middle-class. We are thrilled to welcome a woman of color to FIC’s Board. Courtney Dowe lives with her young son in an urban intentional community called Compersia in Washington D.C. It was amazing to witness how Courtney’s strong and unique voice transformed the nature of our conversations to include broader perspectives. We are committed to follow up our talk about collective liberation with real action. As another example, we approved a new project to build a nation-wide community land trust program, which we hope will make land more affordable and accessible for intentional communities. (For more information about this initiative, contact Mayana Ludwig at

FIC is in the midst of an extensive branding process. We are completely reimagining our self-identity – our visual presence, our stance on important issues, how our services can better meet the needs of users. We receive 40k unique visitors to each month. We want to do our utmost to make sure these visitors have an enjoyable experience on the website. Based on survey results from over 125 participants, we know we can make many improvements. Thank you to all who completed the survey for your valuable feedback. We felt your voice in the room as we approved new brand elements while meeting at Twin Oaks. Stay tuned for more updates about coming brand changes. A spirit of close community infused our meeting days. We eagerly listened to stories from elders in the room and embraced new ideas from younger people. We sensed our cohesion as a team, the leveling up of our vision, and our trust in the pull of innovation. We were vulnerable enough to ask ourselves difficult questions. FIC is walking humbly towards the questions, serving as keen observers to what is needed at this moment in humanity and our planet’s history. We welcome all voices within our movement to speak to us and through us. We hope to build on the rich contributions of our past, to become an even more relevant, resilient, and revolutionary organization in years ahead. Thank you for your part in our story! If this article touched you in any way, please leave a comment below or write to us at We’d love to hear from you.

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Cynthia Tina

Hi, I’m Cynthia.

I’m the community matchmaker, here to help you find an intentional community to call home. I’ve visited hundreds of communities around the world — ecovillages, cohousings, agrihoods, housing coops…

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