Membership Overview

Emma's is currently open to meeting and getting to know folks interested in becoming long term members of our community!

Be sure to check out the 'FAQ' at the bottom of the page, and if you have any questions shoot us an e-mail at!

About The Membership Process

The Emma Goldman Finishing School is more than just a place to live. Though our members enjoy rich and full individual lives, we all share a committment to living in community and honoring our shared values. Living here takes a lot of work and engagement. The economic life of our members is organized in an egalitarian way, which offers unique benefits and poses special challenges.

First, a little background. While taking in new members is exciting, it can also be challenging to balance both the needs and abilities of the community and the needs and the abilities of the individual interested in us. We at Emma's tend to prefer a longer membership process (figure 3 months or so) because we really value a lot of face-to-face time to get to know each other. From our past experiences, we also feel its important that any prospective member is both interested in us as a community and in Seattle as a place to live. Because we are a small collective with no business of our own, people seeking membership should be locally employed (at least part time) and have a social life for themselves outside our community. That said, we're excited to engage with folks who might want to join our project!

Once granted membership, each of us has equal power to make decisions and equal responsibility to the welfare of the whole community.

Phase One: Introduction

In Phase One, the onus is on you to move the process forward. Don't be afraid to be persistent, ask questions, and call or e-mail often.

  • Read the website.
  • Email us at and express your interest and ask for documents.
  • Read the "Quick and Dirty" document.
  • Fill out the "Get To Know You" questionaire and e-mail it back to us, so we all can start getting to know you!
  • Attend an open house (or schedule a dinner if you can't make the open house).
  • Meet the majority of the house members.
  • Attend one more event, such as an open house, dinner, work party, etc.

    If you have completed all the above and you are still interested, let us know by shouting "I am interested!" and proceed to Phase Two.

    Phase Two: Information Dump

    In Phase Two, the responsibility of moving the process forward shifts to the house. We will hook you up with a house "buddy" who will be your liason with the house. We will do our best to schedule meetings, but your persistence will help! :)

  • Come to at least one house meeting, where we will have time to talk with you about you and your interest in Emma's.
  • Review these house documents: Politics Overview (#3), History (#4), Economic Overview (#5).
  • Have a one-on-one talk about the political purpose and foundation of the house (Politics Overview).
  • Have a one-on-one talk regarding the house economics (Economic Overview).

    If you have completed all the above and you are still interested, let us know by shouting "Green light go!" and proceed to Phase Three.

    Phase Three: Getting To Know You

    Up to this point, the membership process consists mostly of an avalanche of information coming at you. In Phase Three, the house learns about you and you learn more about the individuals in the community.

  • Attend at least two more house meetings and/or work parties.
  • Hang out one-on-one with everyone in the house.
  • Get detailed specifics about how your situation would fit with our economic system. We will experiment with exactly what our budgets and your labor expectations would look like if you were a house member.
  • Schedule a Membership Interview and get the page of "Membership Interview Questions" . We need to schedule far in advance because everyone needs to be there, and it is hard for us to find a date when everyone can make it.
  • Attend a Membership Interview, where we and you can ask any questions that haven't been answered yet, and where we will give you a definitive Yes :) or No :(
  • Move in! You are welcome to move in anytime after your membership interview as a "provisional member. As a "provisional member" you will participate and function in the house in almost every way as a full member, except:

    1. You do not have blocking power in our consensus decision-making process 2. While community consensus, you can be exempt from some agreements like our spending cap and owning your own car. 3. We don't figure you into our catastrophic health care budget item.

    After completing all the above, you shout "I'm moving in!" and pick out an open room, paint it if you choose, and move in!

    Phase Four: Provisional Membership

    After living with us for 3 months, we will have a membership check-in, where you will have a chance to say what's been good/hard for you at Emma's, and we also can give you feedback. All together we can discuss any concerns or issues that have come up. At this point you tell the group if you are ready to become a full member (and make a 2+ year commitment). If you or we want more time to feel things out, we j continue checking in every 3 months or so for up to a year. Usually by then it will be clear to everyone if Emma's is a good fit for you and vice versa.

    Membership FAQ

    Are you currently accepting new members?

    Yes!Emma's is getting pretty full! But we're still excited to meet folks interested in becoming long term members!

    Can my Dog/Cat live at Emma's with me?

    Unfortunately, no. Because of allergies and the challenges of making our home animal safe (keeping all the doors closed, not having a fenced yard etc.) EGFS cannot currently accomodate pets. (Fish or small caged animals can be discussed.)

    What can I expect to pay in rent?

    Short answer: we don't pay 'rent' we contribute 'quota'.

    Longer answer: Each member is expected to contribute to meeting the needs of the community through BOTH paid labor (outside of the house unless you work from home) and unpaid, in-house labor. At this point, full members contribute around 120-130 hours of labor a month. If that sounds like a lot: figure out how many hours you spend doing things like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, gardening etc. and then tally up your personal costs for food, utilities, healthcare, home maintainence, cleaning, insurance, rent/mortage, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, bus fare, bike maintainence, gas etc. etc. etc.

    How many hours a month does it take you to sustain your existence? For more details about how this works - contact us!

    What about kids?

    EGFS has been home to a number of kids and babies over the years, but we are currently not capable of accomodating families.

    I'm looking for a place to stay for myself/my friend, can I/they stay at Emma's for free?

    While we are open to having guests, we do ask that visitors contribute some labor(cook and clean up after a meal) and money for food during their stay (suggest $75 a week).

    Also, due to the number of requests, and the limited resources of the community we cannot accomodate every awesome person who contacts us, admittedly, it also helps to have some sort of relationship with the community, or a friend of the community. We also ask that guests limit their stay to a MAXIMUM of two weeks.