Open Collective
Open Collective
Koinonia 2022 What's Update!
Published on December 21, 2022 by Rev. Drew Stever

2022 - whew. That happened. For better or for worse, if you're reading this, you've made it. You're still here. You're still healing. We are so proud of you.

As we look back on this year, we reflect on all that we've accomplished (it's a lot, turns out), all that we've grown and learned (also a lot), and what we are dreaming of and hoping for in 2023 (any way that we can still go slow, toward healing).

What did you accomplish during 2022? How did you use money?

In 2022, Koinonia Mutual Aid was born. We began as a “beta-testing” group in February 2022. We were introduced to Open Collective in March and chose to partner with them in April. At the time, we only had a handful of contributors, but that was the point - start small, water the seeds, and grow. In August 2022, we went live without a website and grew our membership and contributions. In April, we ended the month with $193.22 and 13 contributors and that amount grew steadily. By August, we had $3801.08 and 62 contributors. Now, in December 2022, we have $4,476.45 in the collective and 86 contributors. In total, we have received $14,220.91 in contributions and disbursed $9,744.46. In the last 8 months, disbursements have been used to support unexpected doctor visit bills, “introvert meals” for after those high intense conferences, car insurance expenses, therapy fees, MRI & CT scan fees for a member’s partner’s health needs, funding for “hospitality packages” for members and sustainers, massages, groceries, and more. Our goal has been to offset the costs of basic needs so members can have the ability to pursue activities and practices that bring them life and joy beyond the basics, and in reflecting back on what we have supported, we are proud to have made even the slightest dent in that mission.

What challenges did you face during 2022? What did your Collective learn? How did you change or grow

One of our main challenges wouldn’t necessarily be considered a “challenge,” but learning curves. Seeing how Open Collective was a new platform for most of us, we found ourselves having to learn the ins and outs of it as we went along. This was part of the reason why we started out with a “beta-testing group”. Three areas of learning are in the areas of supporting members who are students and have education fees, members whose reimbursement requests are higher than $600, and members who need funds to support their needs before they have the funding to do so, preventing them from being able to submit reimbursement requests. 

As we continue to grow as an organized community, we are recognizing the collective trauma that exists within our network and how trauma often disallows us from cultivating meaningful relationships - not because anything is wrong with us, but because too many wrongs have been done to us that has caused us to go into self-protection mode. We are finding that while our intention at the beginning was centered around building community, the basic needs of the community must be met first before anyone can be expected to enter into a vulnerable space of relationship. So while we will continue to offer opportunities for relationship building, we may be shifting our focus to providing resources and opportunities for members to meet their basic needs for wellness more heartily. 

What are your plans for 2023? Anything exciting coming up?

We have no concrete plans for 2023 as of yet and part of that is intentional. We move at the pace of relationship, and right now our relationships and our community are tired. We need slowness. And we need dreaming and hope, too. So there will be opportunities coming up that will invite community input for goals and projects in 2023, but that probably won’t be coming until about February. Some ideas that have come up already include: creating a podcast that focuses on mutual aid, community, trauma/healing, and leaders of faith from marginalized communities, book clubs, more arts and crafts virtual gatherings, partnering with other leaders to provide training for trauma-informed care, and more. There is conversation about how we can make Koinonia an official “organization,” but there is also the concept of mutual aid not being an organization, but an organized community, so perhaps creating an “umbrella organization” that Koinonia Mutual Aid can exist under. With that umbrella organization, a horizontally-designed leadership team will have to be developed to help shape it.

Wherever you find yourself as we wrap up this year, may love and softness and joy find you, may it break in wherever you are finding cracks, may it greet you with warmth. Until next time, community. Keep healing.