Join Us / Donate

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  –Ghandi

We consider CSC to be in its early years and know that there will by many more hands, hearts and heads joining us to fulfill the vision of an authentic and sustainable life here on earth.  If CSC is a fit for you, we welcome your participation.

Our 4 levels of participation are: 

Friends… receive our monthly e-mails and other correspondence. They are invited to participate in any open activities, projects, workshops or other functions of CSC and are free to donate time or resources when they wish. To become a friend, click Join Us! and subscribe to our monthly emails. We look forward to seeing or hearing from you. Welcome.

Donors… provide the gifts of money, service or material goods.  There are always projects waiting for financial and human resources so that we can make more rapid progress towards our vision.  As a 501(c)3, donations to Center for Sustainable Community are tax DEDUCTIBLE. Please mail financial gifts to CSC at  127 Sun Street, Stelle, Il 60919, or contact us with other suggestions or questions regarding gifts.  Email:  Phone:815-256-2204

Associates… may choose to participate in all activities and meetings of the CSC and have a clear influence on how our organizational activities and business decisions are conducted. They have a say in what we do, participate in different projects and functions, and may serve on committees. An Associate pledges:

  • a minimum of 12 hrs. per year of their time 
  • $120 in financial contributions ($10/month) to the work of CSC. (See Work/Pledge below.) 


Members… are invited to participate fully in all activities and meetings of the CSC. They have the added responsibility of electing and/or serving on the CSC Board of Directors. Members help the Board make decisions on larger organizational and fiscal matters. A member pledges:

  • a minimum of 100 hrs. per year of their time (8-9 hrs./month)
  • $1000 annually ($80-90/month) in financial contributions to CSC and its work. (See Work/Pledge below.)


ALL APPLICATIONS ARE REVIEWED and responded to in a timely fashion,

To be clear, to participate fully in CSC means one is committed to the work of building a whole, functional, and fulfilling future for humans and the natural world on this planet.  

What we ask of OURSELVES is to share the talents and gifts we have toward the greater good of all.  

We agree to support each other in loving and considerate ways with honesty and INTEGRITY as we work together to build a life and way of living on the planet that is genuine and sustainable.

As an organization we will expand, shrink and change to keep our bureaucracy as minimal as possible. Our aim is to always be responsive to what is truly needed and wanted to accomplish our vision and mission, nothing more. 

In a nutshell…
…we are not here to serve an organization (CSC) per say, but rather to do the work of accomplishing the vision set forth by CSC. 
If at some point the organization gets in the way of accomplishing the work 
then it is up to the participants to reform the organization or to terminate it, allowing for something more functional to arise.

It takes both time and money to fulfill the work before us, therefore we encourage everyone to attempt to donate both.

However, due to circumstance, it might not be possible for some to donate time, for others, gifts of money may be difficult. Therefore, participants may increase their hours to minimize or eliminate their financial contribution, and vice versa. For example, a member can choose to donate 200 hours per year (about 4 hours/week) and make no financial gifts to become a ‘Member’.  Someone who lives a good distance away from Stelle or who’s life is already too full, may desire to become an ‘Associate’ by donating $240/year and no time instead of $120 and 12 hours. The comparison is currently based on a $10/hour rate of service.

Please decide what is best for you and let the Member Coordinator know of your intentions on the CSC Participation Form.  BTW… keeping track of one’s hours of contribution is done mostly on the honor system.  There is no ‘time police’.  Gifts of service are just that….gifts.

Where to Donate Time to CSC
Members, Associates and Friends wondering how to be of service can look to these options (and more!) for inspiration:

  • Participate in CSC Co-ops, such as our garden co-op, chicken co-op, or tool co-op, or work towards creating a new co-op that will fulfill a need within Stelle.
  • Help us on the Land.  Our permaculture design includes gardens, greenhouses, naturally built cabins and more. What part of the design melts your butter?
  • Join us for work parties.  Our Join Us! will keep you abreast of these activities.
  • Help us get the word out by posting our events in your social networks and other organizations. You can live anywhere in the world really and help us with our work.
  • Volunteer to help out at any of our events.

How we go About Working Together

Working together as people is often the most challenging part of any group work, organization or community. 

CSC operates cognizant of the benefits of consciously evolving and compassionate group work. We who participate in CSC, therefore willingly embrace the following:

We understand that things may not always move the way we believe they should, so without diminishing others, we support the group decisions, while creatively working to change or create what we believe to be of the greatest good of all concerned.

We search for the deeper truth behind what appears to be happening on the surface, knowing that there are often several underlying layers in each situation, especially in our own feelings and thinking; 

We hold each of our colleagues as well-intentioned, even if we should disagree with them; 

We choose not to speak disparagingly of, or to, others.

We understand that we are the ones generating the emotions we are feeling—that our emotions are not “caused” by others.

We view our inner turmoil as a “friend,” indicating to ourselves an opportunity for personal insight or healing;

We trust in the results of the group process when we as individuals work from compassion, care, and respect.

Our Guiding Work

To better understand the above, we embrace the following guides which are highly recommend reading for Friends and Associates, and required for those applying to become members.

  • The Fires of Group Work, by Gloria Crook; 
  • The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz; 
  • Non-Violent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg; 
  • As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen; 
  • Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, by Diane Leafe Christian.