Jamaine Smith
Our Stories
A Letter From Our Chief Commons Director
CultureWorks Growing Community

Hey CultureWorkers and Friends!

I shared a short list of organizational updates CultureWorks has made over the past two years with the CW Admin Team earlier this week and I thought I’d share it with all of you. 

Listening to, observing, and building relationship with you all inspired these updates. CultureWorks is now a community growing in intention around a set of shared values and resources..and its all your fault in the best way possible! CultureWorks will only continue to evolve and I’m excited about what that means for our community at large. Thanks for evolving right alongside us. 



// CW doubled its staff (from 4 to 8) in response to increased demand for its resources and the opportunity to expand nationally. 

// We began national expansion efforts.



// Thaddeus Squire, Founder and Managing Director of CultureWorks, transitioned into CultureWorks Commons Management (CCM) an organization formed to oversee our national expansion efforts. He serves as CCM’s Chief Commons Officer. 

// Liz Systma, Associate Director of CultureWorks, seceded Thaddeus as Chief Commons Director of CultureWorks Philly and began to infuse a renewed focus on caretaking amongst the CW administrative team and the CW community as a whole.

// We merged the board of CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia and CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia (our fiscal sponsorship umbrella entity) for more efficient governance and ease of replication in new locations.

// We restructured as an organization, birthing new staff roles and responsibilities that fit our unique personalities and skill sets. 

// We began to refer to CW as a management commons, dispelling the myth that we were “just” a co-working space, or “just” offered fiscal sponsorship. Instead of a la carte, silo’d resources we infused relationship building into our membership model, offering resource “tracks” that represent a deeper relationship and level of trust as you advance through each. 

// We developed our organizational core values: Be empathetic. Be equitable. Be Creative. Be Bold. Share

// We gained a deeper understanding of our organizational end goal, the flourishing our our members, and developed language for it. 

// We deepened our commitment to anti-oppressive practices, creating policies and procedures that reflect this commitment. 

// We developed an entirely new member intake process, which included the development of new membership criteria (Impact, Intentionality, and Interaction), a revised intake form and the incorporation of a free 360 assessment of new member’s projects or organizations. 

// We adopted a new space management system titled Nexudus, which now handles billing, room bookings (no more Cobot, no more google calendar!), a message board, and more.

// Desiring more member representation at the highest level of power in our organization, we wrote the formation of a Membership Committee into our board bylaws and held our first round of nominations and elections for committee members. 

// We rebranded with a revamped logo and new language to describe our work.

// We offered a suite of educational workshops for CW members and the community at large through partnerships with Vision Driven Artists, PACA, the Leeway Foundation, and other fabulous community partners. 

// We spoke about our work, the awesome work of you all, and our commitment to equity at conferences in Denver, New Orleans, New York, and other cities throughout the US.



// Track 2 (CultureTrust - our fiscal sponsorship), houses over 90 fiscally sponsored projects.

// We launched a new website, designed to shift the focus onto the community of awesome folks we are privileged to work with.

// We launched The Copilot Initiative, a component of Track 2 focused on sharing management services with standalone organizations with budget sizes of $250k - $3mil. 

// Wilfredo, our new Consulting & Community Director joined us. 

// Wilfredo is revamping our consulting program, which includes relaunching our affiliate network.

// Liz Systma, Chief Commons Director, followed a nudge from the universe, transitioned out of CultureWorks, and is opening her own fiber arts and home goods store.

// Jamaine Smith, Senior Community Experience Director, transitioned into the role of Chief Commons Director.

// We are engaging with the Anti-Oppression Resources & Training Alliance (AORTA) to help us deepen our commitment to anti-oppression practices (as promised in May of 2018) by exploring the CultureWorks Theory of Change. The CultureWorks administrative team, board, and members of our community will be engaged.

// We are increasing our understanding of trauma informed practices and finding ways to incorporate them into our work.

// We’re adopting a more robust accounting system (Sage Intaact) that will increase the autonomy of our fiscally sponsored projects and increase capacity for our Finance and Operations team (Ellen & Alexa).

// We’re exploring what physical space means to CultureWorks and how it contributes to the flourishing of our community members.

Onward, we go.

Jamaine Smith, Chief Commons Director 

30 Mar

CultureWorks Community Conversation