Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal was the catalyst for the creation of Northampton Neighbors. After reading his book, two separate groups began to explore the possibility of creating a village like the ones Gawande discussed. In February 2016 the two groups joined forces. Organizing efforts then took off.
As a first step, Northampton Neighbors joined the Village to Village Network and talked to many other villages around the country, who kindly shared their expertise and experiences. Wellesley Neighbors generously agreed to serve as a mentor village and continues to provide helpful answers to many questions. One member attended a meeting of all Massachusetts villages in June 2016 and came home with many additional useful resources.
By the end of 2017 Northampton Neighbors had registered as a nonprofit corporation, formed a Board of Directors, developed a mission statement and bylaws, created a logo and brochure, set up a website, and received 501(c)(3) (non-profit) status, and had set up a training program for our member-volunteers. We began providing services to our members in November, 2017. Unlike many other villages, we do not charge a membership fee. Rather we rely on donations from our members, support from local businesses, and donations from non-members.
In 2018 we have added new Board members, formed relationships with strategic partners, sought and received grants, established member interest groups, and launched other programs. As of August 2018 we have more than 470 members and 70 trained volunteers.