We Become What We Think About

A community is a social unit of any size that shares common values. Although embodied or face-to-face communities are usually small, larger or more extended communities such as a national community, international community and virtual community are also studied.

In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community has less geographical limitation, as people can now gather virtually in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location. Prior to the internet, virtual communities (like social or academic organizations) were far more limited by the constraints of available communication and transportation technologies.

The word “community” is derived from the Old French comunete which is derived from the Latin communitas (from Latin communis, things held in common), a broad term for fellowship or organized society. One broad definition which incorporates all the different forms of community is

a group or network of persons who are connected (objectively) to each other by relatively durable social relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties, and who mutually define that relationship (subjectively) as important to their social identity and social practice

Definitions of community as “organisms inhabiting a common environment and interacting with one another,” while scientifically accurate, do not convey the richness, diversity and complexity of human communities. Their classification, likewise is almost never precise. Untidy as it may be, community is vital for humans. M. Scott Peck expresses this in the following way: “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”


Voting Takes A Stand

FairVote (formerly the Citizens for Proportional Representation and the Center for Voting and Democracy) is a 501(c)(3) organization that advocates electoral reform in the United States. Founded in 1992 as the Citizens for Proportional Representation (CPR) to support the implementation of proportional representation in local elections, the organization has since changed its name to FairVote to emphasize its support of such platforms as instant-runoff voting for single-winner elections, a national popular vote for president, a right to vote amendment to the Constitution, and universal voter registration.

FairVote also releases regular publications, including Dubious Democracy and Monopoly Politics, that report on the state of the U.S. electoral system. Other projects, such as Representation 2020, aim for voter outreach and increased voter participation.

The organization influences and supports other groups that advocate alternative electoral practices, including FairVote Minnesota and FairVote Canada. Notable members of FairVote’s Board of Directors include John Anderson, a former Congressman who ran as an independent candidate for President in 1980, and Krist Novoselic, the bassist for Nirvana.


Wide Diversity of NPOs

A nonprofit organization (NPO) is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends.

While not-for-profit organizations are permitted to generate surplus revenues, they must be retained by the organization for its self-preservation, expansion, or plans. NPOs have controlling members or a board of directors. Many have paid staff including management, while others employ unpaid volunteers and even executives who work with or without compensation (occasionally nominal). Where there is a token fee, in general, it is used to meet legal requirements for establishing a contract between the executive and the organization.

Designation as a nonprofit does not mean that the organization does not intend to make a profit, but rather that the organization has no owners and that the funds realized in the operation of the organization will not be used to benefit any owners. The extent to which an NPO can generate surplus revenues may be constrained or use of surplus revenues may be restricted.