Engather is a locally-based gift economy platform that reweaves the social fabric of our communities through supportive, joyful human connections.Join to pursue common interests, share skills & resources, and give or get a helping hand.You'll discover new relationships, stronger communities, and a thriving culture of mutual support.
Now welcoming new members in the Kingston area – sign up to attend one of our new member events.
We're thrilled to hear from you!
What is the gift economy?Compared to a market economy where goods and services are traded, the gift economy relies on giving freely and without expectation of getting anything in return. This ignites a virtuous cycle of gratitude and generosity, whereby generosity of the receiver, and joy experienced by the giver, inspires more generosity. So, rather than seeking the accumulation of wealth, like capitalism, participants in the gift economy actively invest in social capital–the care and wellbeing of the community. According to Charles Eisenstein, “in the gift economy, the more you give, the richer you are.” The beauty of an active gift economy is that there is a generative flow of abundance perpetuates, where diverse gifts flow and gain momentum in all directions across communities.
How is this different from a barter system or time banking?Barter and time banking are both quid pro quo, ledger-based systems of trading goods and services. In barter systems, a good or service is traded for another good or service without the exchange of currency. In a time banking system, an hour of your service is traded for an hour of another’s service.The gift economy has no ledger and is not quid pro quo. No one is keeping score, no one demands remuneration. Gifts are given and received freely. So if you want some Spanish lessons and I joyfully offer them to you, I don’t expect you to give me something in return. And, when I have a need–let’s say help to change the oil in my car–I don’t expect you to specifically fill that need for me because I gave you Spanish lessons, but am open to anyone in the community who is willing and able to support my need.
What are the benefits of a gift economy?Here are two incredibly compelling facts from two completely distinct pieces of research:• In Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam looked at several, seemingly similar towns in Italy and asked why is it that some of these towns are very successful and others are not? He found the answer: the towns that had the highest rates of wellbeing and economic success all shared something in common that the less successful towns did not: the quality of connection, reciprocity, and trust between people. This is the social capital that made these towns thrive.• The longest running study out of Harvard recently released its findings to the question what makes for a happy, healthy life? After studying the same people, their partners, and their children for over 80 years, they found that–more than income, health, or IQ–the leading indicator to a happy healthy life was supportive and meaningful relationships. In other words, the quality of connection, reciprocity, and trust between people.From our perspective, the answer is clear: meaningful and supportive relationships–the kind that generate gratitude and generosity that is perpetuated by the gift economy–has significant and pretty darn cool micro and macro implications on humanity.Plus, giving to one another is fun, reduces stress and depression, increases happiness and a sense of purpose, and saves us some money, too.
Do I need to record gifts in my taxes?One of many great things about the gift economy–unlike bartering, time banking, or currency exchanges–is that you do not need to report gifts on your taxes.
Is Engather free?Our intention is for Engather to be free for all individuals. So, the way we have structured our business model is to pass on our modest operating and overhead costs to the community at large, such as a local municipality or an institution. We are also looking to fill our funding gaps through grant funding, crowdfunding, and donations.One thing we want to be firm on is we do not want to take money from any person or institution who demands a return on their investment. We do not want a debt or a pressure to grow rapidly + return shareholder value to get in the way of our purpose and the communities we serve.
Engather is only accessible on computers and phones with access to internet, what about for people who cannot access these things?We are thinking the same things, my friend. From the start (which hasn’t been that long ago) we have thought about how to ensure Engather can be accessible to every single person. It will require deep community engagement, collaboration, and likely funding. We imagine each local community may have a slightly different approach, but we are already considering possibilities, from phone capabilities to community kiosks. We welcome any and all ideas you have on the matter.
How can I bring Engather into my community?Great question! Engather works best if it is adopted by a community–whether that is a town, an organization, or a group of people. If you are in a position to bring us on and roll us out in your community, please reach out to us and we can discuss the details of your community and how we can best support it. If you are a dedicated community member and want to advocate to bring us into your community, let’s connect so we can figure out how we can best show up and advocate with you.
We are a bootstrapped team of two who are committed to building Engather in an intentional way. That means we are building and co-creating an offering that is community minded, culture driven, and technologically intuitive. It also means that we need to work regular jobs that pay our bills. As we straddle between these two worlds, we recognize more than ever that it takes a village, and have been deeply humbled by the support our community has offered us to get Engather off the ground and in motion.If you are interested in supporting us, there are a few ways you can help:
Help us reach more people: Ideally Engather would roll out across towns and municipalities, and can also be quite successful in existing community groups that want to deepen their connection with each other. Having more eyes and ears to connect us with communities that would want Engather would go such a long way.
Access to funding: We are seeking grantors/funders who want to support highly grassroot economic alternatives to help communities prosper.
Legal counsel: To make sure we’re doing right by you and us.
If you want to support us in any of these ways, or want to offer another form of support, we would love to hear from you – please contact us.
Engather was born out of a commitment to bring people together, cultivate meaningful connections, and make life a little less hard and a lot more enjoyable.Our belief system guides everything we do:Supporting one another isn’t just helpful, it’s fun. Whether we’re helping someone move or building garden beds for each other, doing it together makes any task more enjoyable. We actually underestimate how much people enjoy helping one another.Communities that have each others’ backs provide far more reward than financial gain. When we create a social fabric that people can lean on, we alleviate the burden of having to do and pay for everything ourselves; we feel more personally invested in the well-being of our community; we are more resilient during local and global hardships; and we improve the quality of life for ourselves and our community members.There’s no better feeling than belonging in your community. To be accepted, supported, and valued for who you are within your community doesn’t just feel tremendously fulfilling, it is literally the leading indicator to living a happy and healthy life.Engather is not just tech. Engather is a culture and an economy that is facilitated by tech. We don’t believe that tech can single handedly solve our problems. As a matter of fact, tech can never replace the heart and humanity that we are capable of. That is why culture building is the most important part to nurturing our inherently generous and heartfelt human condition and unlocking a community-driven gift economy. Our tech is simply a tool to better enable this culture. And so, we strive to easily, safely, and joyfully get people off their phones and in community with one another.We are committed to building thriving, supportive communities that are accessible to all. Every decision we make must support this commitment. For us, this means making Engather as accessible as possible to everyone and letting the people we serve be our guide–not investors and banks. We aim to build a transparent and financially sustainable business model that supports us to do this work, while only generating revenue in ways that create value for all.
About the founders
Amanda and Chris met in Kingston, NY at a conference about democratizing wealth, hosted by Good Work Institute. They connected over their work in the design industry, their love of permaculture, and their commitment to building cultures of care that take people off technology and into human connection. While Chris was spending his time researching regenerative economic- and- community- based systems, Amanda quit her job and began actioning gift-based economies with friends and neighbors. A month after they met, Amanda reconnected with Chris and shared an idea about enabling the gift economy for communities, and together they decided to make the idea a reality.
It wasn’t until Amanda Cassiday (she/her) lived in a rural village in Burkina Faso that she experienced the resilient power of community, and learned that positive, abundant outcomes are not possible without cultivating the conditions that allow individuals, teams, and communities to thrive. For 15 years, this approach has been a driving force in Amanda’s personal and professional life, from facilitating a woman-led microfinance group in Takaledougou that continues to operate since 2009, to leading design teams responsible for some of the most successful launches in Johnson & Johnson’s history, bringing purpose and consumer needs to the heart of strategy & innovation. She is also a maker, a student of gardening and permaculture, and a mentor and investor to entrepreneurs.
Chris Woehrle (he/him) is a digital product designer, business founder, and community gardener/organizer. His current focus is finding ways to connect people through meaningful community projects. He also likes to grow vegetables, cook, and build things with wood and stone.
Terms of Service
By using our Platform, you are agreeing to our Terms of Service. The Terms of Service are a legally binding agreement between you and Engather LLC.Terms of ServiceTo the full extent permitted by applicable law, you agree not to hold us responsible for anything that happens related to transactions with third parties, member interactions, or in connection with an Engather group or Engather event. You also agree not to hold organizers responsible for their negligence in connection with their Content, a Engather group, or Engather event.To the full extent permitted by applicable law, you agree to release us and our officers, directors, agents, employees, consultants, affiliates, subsidiaries, sponsors, and other third-party partners ( “Engather Parties”) from claims, demands, and damages (direct and consequential) (“Claims”), arising out of or in any way connected with any transaction with a third party, your interactions with other members, or in connection with an Engather group or an Engather event. You also agree, to the full extent permitted by applicable law, to release organizers from Claims based on an organizer’s negligence arising out of or in any way connected with their Content, an Engather group, or an Engather event. The law in some countries and states do not allow the release, so these limits may not apply to you. You waive and relinquish all rights and benefits that you have or may have under Section 1542 of the California Civil Code or any similar provision of statutory or non-statutory law of any other jurisdiction to the fullest extent permitted by law.You acknowledge that some Engather events carry inherent dangers, such as the risk of illness, bodily injury, disability, or death. By participating in these events, you understand and agree that you have freely chosen to assume these risks.By signing up for this beta test, you acknowledge that you are sharing your ideas to improve Engather’s platform
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