As an organization, East Point Peace Academy is committed to offering all of our community programs on a Gift Economics model. We are committed to this model not only to ensure the participation of all members of our community regardless of income, but also because we are committed to changing the paradigm of how we view money, wealth and value in our society.
What Is Gift Economics?
Gift economics is a different way of interacting with money and understanding what something is “worth.” In a Gift model, goods and services are not sold as they are in a market model of economics. Rather, they are given freely with no requirement of an exchange. We believe that the lessons and teachings we give and receive in our workshops are priceless.
At the same time, we do have needs as an organization operating within the current economic and social structures. Therefore, all participants in our community workshops are offered an opportunity to support our work. No one is required to give, and no amount is considered to small or too large.
Check out a short Tedx talk on the Gift Economy from our friend Nipun Mehta.
What It Means for East Point
Gift Economics means that we do not charge a fee for our work. Working on this model means that sometimes, our workshops can end up costing us money. For us, a commitment to the Gift model is also a leap of faith. We operate on faith that if our work is something that the community needs, then our community will come together to sustain it. If our work is not needed, we do not want to take resources away from the many other worthy projects that are constantly emerging.
East Point Peace Academy conducts much of our work in prisons, county jails, schools and with youth groups that have little or no capacity to pay. In these situations, it costs us money every time we conduct a training. We are committed to supporting these communities, and every dollar given to East Point will ensure that we will be able to continue to offer our work in these communities.
To ensure the sustainability of our work, please consider making a donation to support not only East Point Peace Academy, but the many communities with which we work.
For more information on the Gift Economy, check out our friends over at Service Space, and read below the principles of Gift Economics that were developed by the East Bay Meditation Center.
Principles of Gift Economics
1) No price, No fee
In a Gift Economic System, goods or services are offered for no price or fee. There is no request for any money (or anything) in exchange for the goods or services offered. The offering is made out of generosity. An offering out of generosity is a uni-directional movement. (In a Market Economic System, goods or services are offered as part of an exchange or trade — a reciprocal, bi-directional movement.)
2) Voluntary Giving to “Pay It Forward”
Instead of a request for money (or anything) in exchange, all recipients of goods or services are offered an opportunity to make a voluntary gift to the provider of the goods or services. This is an opportunity to “pay it forward”, to allow the provider to continue to offer their goods or services to others.
3) Giving in Response to Need
The motivation for giving, in the Gift Economic System, is to help meet the needs of the recipient. Therefore, information about the magnitude of the need is helpful information for prospective givers, to help inform their decision about the magnitude of their gift.
4) Giving in Proportion to One’s Ability
The participants in the Gift Economics System are invited to offer gifts that are in proportion to their ability to give. Everyone is invited to make a gift, if they are able. And those who have a greater ability are invited to offer greater gifts. (In a Market Economic System, everyone is asked for the same price in exchange for the goods or services offered.)
5) Information feedback loop
A Gift Economic System functions best when the givers are able to know when the need has been met, or how close or far the need is from being met. This “information feedback loop” also helps the givers, to inform their decision about the magnitude of their gift.