If you do not want to apply for membership, you are welcome to attend our Social Days which are specific days when we are open to the public, and paid for on the day. Social Days offer reduced facilities and do not reflect the full Riverstone Village experience. If you want to experience full membership but cannot participate regularly for some reason such as distance, please ask about our Guest Policy.
This is a summary of our admissions process. At the interview, we will be able to explain anything that might not be clear.
- Begin by attending an information session, a Social Day, or simply apply for an interview.
- Our interview fee is R250.
- If you have attended an information session or a Social Day, the interview fee is reduced to R50.
- At your interview, you will book your visiting week.
- The visiting week fee is R900, which covers all family members who wish to sign up to attend. If you do sign up, this fee will count towards your first month’s fees.
- Attend your visiting week. This is where all family members who wish to sign up can discover what joining Riverstone Village would be like, and where the community can get to know you.
- At the end of visiting week, we will all discuss and decide whether there is a good fit between your family and what we have to offer. If everyone is comfortable, your family registers, officially joining Riverstone Village. There is currently no additional registration fee.
You can choose between our General Fees and our Community Fees.
General Fees for 2018 are simpler: currently R3 500 per month per person attending, plus a R6 000 annual development levy payable in monthly installments if you prefer.
Community Fees are linked to your income level and your monthly fee covers all the members of your family who sign up to attend. The adults of your extended family also agree to donate 6 skilled hours per month – which can be done in one block by one person, or divided across several time periods and several adults. Instead of a development fee, your family brings a First Donation gift on arrival – something that fits your budget.
Please enquire about fees for the 2017 pilot project.
Read on below if you want More detail about our Community fees:
Our Community Fees Philosophy
At Riverstone Village we feel it is fair for everyone to pay an equal contribution – family membership fees should have about the same level of impact on each of our households.
What does the fee cover?
Your membership fee is for all the members of your family (the people who eat together and sleep under the same roof daily), and covers full time attendance. We don’t offer reduced rates for sending fewer people or coming less often, because that would give your family an incentive to participate less – when we want you all to participate as your heart desires.
What is the monthly fee?
You calculate your fee so that it is as much as you can sustainably afford month after month, that feels fair to your family and to the community. (You can always donate more or gift something from the wishlist in months where you have extra.) We suggest you look at 7% of your monthly budget, and 15% of the market-related monthly rental value of your current home – and use these to assess your family’s financial reality.
Why don’t you just have a flat rate with financial aid, like schools do?
We do offer a straight flat rate in our simpler General Fees structure, but we do not offer ‘financial aid’. We are not a conventional school, we are a learning community. We feel that charity is a vertical thing – it goes from the top down, and creates inequality between giver and receiver. We prefer solidarity, which is horizontal, and connects us in our diversely expressed equality.
Who calculates the Community fee?
You can use the table provided to estimate your fee. You might need to gather some information in order to calculate your accurate fee – e.g. if you own your home you might want to get a rental valuation. We do not supervise your fees calculation, because responsibility and respect for privacy are important values at Riverstone Village. If you need help calculating, please ask our treasurer, who will gladly assist you and keep your information confidential.
Estimate Your Community Membership Fees
|Monthly family budget||7% Fee||Monthly rental value||15% Fee|
|R10 000||R700||R10 000||R1 500|
|R20 000||R1 400||R20 000||R2 800|
|R30 000||R2 100||R30 000||R4 500|
|R40 000||R2 800||R40 000||R6000|
|R50 000||R3 500||R50 000||R7 500|
|R75 000||R5 250||R75 000||R11 250|
|R100 000||R7000||R100 000||R15 000|
|R150 000||R10 500||R150 000||R22 500|
|R200 000||R15 000||R200 000||R30 000|
What if the Community fee calculated like that is too high for us?
There might be families who need to adjust the calculation to make their membership possible. For example, if your budget is very small then it may be practically necessary to take some expenses such as food or transport off the top before calculating. Even if you have a high income but your family has exceptional circumstances such as a chronic, expensive medical condition, you may take these off the top before calculating your fee. You will know what feels fair. Consider, though, that we pay for what we value. If other expensive lifestyle features are more valuable to you than participation in Riverstone Village, you may want to reconsider your membership.
What if we can afford more than the calculated Community fee?
If you have been paying fees elsewhere, it certainly doesn’t make sense to pay any less to Riverstone Village, unless those fees were hurting. If your family has extra disposable income, you can, at your discretion, factor that into your calculation. You could also consider that we all lend and/or donate items to share from time to time – you might be able to share items or experiences we couldn’t have otherwise – ask about our WishList. You could also consider sponsoring special events, special guest staff, our exchange program, or a travel opportunity.
What if there is a big difference between the two estimates?
If 7% of your monthly budget is a very different amount than 15% of your rental value, that gives you a range to work with. Look at your other expenses and decide what amount inside that range is fair to the community and to you.
What if people freeload?
Paying less than one could while others are honest, is an abuse of trust and is bad for one’s own well-being. Dishonesty interferes with real connection. If someone doesn’t value the connection with Riverstone Village, they’re also not likely to do what it takes to stay, so they won’t be a problem for long. If other members rightly or wrongly feel that someone is freeloading, it will require conflict resolution to clear up.
Do staff get a discount?
Community Membership fees, staff salaries, and volunteering are treated separately. Unpaid staff members still pay full membership fees if there are others in their family who are not staff.
6 Volunteer Hours per month
We ask all Community Fees families to volunteer 6 hours of skilled adult time each month to help with various aspects of our sustainability. This can be done as one 6 hour stretch by one person, or in smaller doses and by several adults, including extended family members and family friends. This also gives you an opportunity to help your loved ones engage with Riverstone Village.
Child-care, transport, DIY, online marketing, bookkeeping, accounting, design, sales repping to retailers, social media, writing, legal, cleaning, admin, public speaking – if you have a skill to offer, we can use it!
You are welcome to donate as many more hours as you wish. All adults who will be in contact with children will need to undergo orientation and/or staff training. If you sign up and pay for the staff-training course, this can take the place of your 6 hours for that month.
If you absolutely cannot offer 6 skilled adult hours then you are welcome to pay in at your family’s highest skilled market-related adult hourly rate, so that we can hire someone who is your equivalent, to fulfill this commitment. But, you’ll be missing out!
Think of this as a gift to share to celebrate your arrival. Maybe it is money that the Meeting can decide how to use. Maybe it is a toy, musical instrument, tool, equipment or materials that you think will add to the joy. If you don’t have an exciting idea about what to offer, ask for our Wish List.