Who Makes Magic?


Mag­ic demon­strates how peo­ple can apply sci­en­tif­ic meth­ods and prin­ci­ples to fur­ther com­mon inter­ests of humankind. We term this prac­tice val­ue­science. Cur­rent­ly, we’re using it to become health­i­er and more aware, to coop­er­ate for mutu­al ben­e­fit, and to pro­tect and restore the environment.

In this descrip­tion we por­tray Mag­ic as three inter­re­lat­ed enti­ties: a ser­vice com­mu­ni­ty, which includes all who con­duct or sup­port Mag­ic activ­i­ties; a res­i­den­tial pro­gram, whose par­tic­i­pants live and to vary­ing degrees work togeth­er to devel­op our own and Mag­ic’s capac­i­ties for con­tribut­ing to a com­mon good; and a pub­lic ben­e­fit, char­i­ta­ble cor­po­ra­tion, which pro­vides a legal frame­work for Magic.

Ours is an inte­grat­ed enter­prise, in which con­texts are merged and roles are flu­id. Here lines between home, school, work­place, and recre­ation­al facil­i­ty, and between fam­i­ly, friends, and pro­fes­sion­al col­leagues are rarely easy to dis­cern. Many at Mag­ic wear sev­er­al hats. A Res­i­dent may also be an Intern or an Offi­cer. A Project Man­ag­er in one sphere may be a client in another.

We oper­ate Mag­ic to encour­age indi­vid­ual cre­ativ­i­ty and ini­tia­tive in express­ing shared val­ues and attain­ing com­mon goals. We make deci­sions in an open, flex­i­ble, and con­sen­su­al man­ner. We allo­cate author­i­ty and respon­si­bil­i­ty, pow­er and account­abil­i­ty to enhance per­son­al free­dom and to apply the resources entrust­ed to us to fur­ther pub­lic interest.

We are find­ing a Mag­ic way, one by which we intend to show how peo­ple may learn to care more effec­tive­ly for our­selves, for each oth­er, and for the Earth. As you read this descrip­tion, please con­sid­er how you might enjoy mak­ing Mag­ic with us.


Who makes Mag­ic? Some call us the Magi­cians. And here we are, the whole gamut, from occa­sion­al client to full-time volunteer.


We think of every­one who serves or is served through Mag­ic as part of our com­mu­ni­ty. Past and present clients have includ­ed thou­sands of indi­vid­u­als, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions, busi­ness­es, and gov­ern­ment agen­cies. Mag­ic’s fees are based upon abil­i­ty to pay, and may include work exchange or oth­er barter. Many clients are served with­out charge. Clients who pay for Mag­ic’s ser­vices gen­er­ate more than half of the cor­po­ra­tion’s mon­ey income. Fee rev­enues are applied first to the costs of the pro­grams to which they are paid, then to fund oth­er Mag­ic services.

Phil­an­thropic donors pro­vide some of the wealth which flows through Mag­ic to ben­e­fit the gen­er­al pub­lic. Since its found­ing Mag­ic has enjoyed the gen­eros­i­ty of thou­sands of indi­vid­ual and insti­tu­tion­al donors. Because so many invest in Mag­ic with­out being asked, we’ve been able to devote more resource to direct ser­vice and less to fundrais­ing than is typ­i­cal. Vol­un­teers car­ry out near­ly all tasks entailed in oper­at­ing Mag­ic, from main­tain­ing records and cap­i­tal plant, to pro­vid­ing ser­vices direct­ly to the pub­lic. Donors who give mon­ey or goods lever­age labor of vol­un­teers, enabling us to serve more effectively.

Affiliates — regularly give labor, money, or material.

Affil­i­ates are indi­vid­ual and insti­tu­tion­al donors who pledge annu­al con­tri­bu­tions to Mag­ic of at least ten hours of vol­un­teer labor or at least fifty dol­lars. Some make sin­gle con­tri­bu­tions and oth­ers con­tribute month­ly, quar­ter­ly, or even week­ly. Affil­i­ates receive newslet­ters, project notes and notices of upcom­ing events, and are giv­en pref­er­ence in enrolling in Mag­ic pro­grams. As Affil­i­ates increase their com­mit­ment to Mag­ic they often take a more active part in devel­op­ing poli­cies and programs.

Project Managers — organize others to execute a project.

Project Man­agers are skilled indi­vid­u­als, famil­iar with Mag­ic’s oper­a­tions, who assume major respon­si­bil­i­ty for orga­niz­ing oth­ers to com­plete a project or a major phase of one. Usu­al­ly they com­mit to serve for at least one year.

Advisors — provide special expertise.

Advi­sors are vol­un­teers with spe­cial skills or oth­er attrib­ut­es applic­a­ble to devel­op­ing or oper­at­ing Mag­ic’s orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture or its pro­grams. By being on-call as need­ed, Advi­sors broad­en and deep­en the expe­ri­ence and tal­ent avail­able to oper­ate Mag­ic day-to-day.

Associates — semi-autonomously deliver Magic services.

Asso­ciates oper­ate with sub­stan­tial inde­pen­dence. They may solic­it gifts in the name of Mag­ic to sup­port their work. They man­age their projects to gen­er­ate net income to Mag­ic. Asso­ciates’ max­i­mum per­son­al com­pen­sa­tion, and that of any­one whom they employ with monies which flow through Mag­ic, are lim­it­ed by cur­rent pol­i­cy to the medi­an income in the area where they live.

Interns — are a hybrid of donor and client.

Interns sup­port Mag­ic with their labor while receiv­ing on-the-job train­ing. Mag­ic offers a wide range of intern­ships tai­lored to accom­mo­date indi­vid­ual com­mit­ment and com­pe­tence. Interns may per­form orga­ni­za­tion­al and facil­i­ties main­te­nance tasks, serve as teach­ing assis­tants, do research in libraries or in the field, and oth­er­wise assist in deliv­er­ing programs.


Since Mag­ic’s found­ing, we’ve con­duct­ed a res­i­den­tial edu­ca­tion pro­gram whose par­tic­i­pants are among the orga­ni­za­tion’s pri­ma­ry ben­e­fi­cia­ries and its most stal­wart servants.

Residents — live at Magic; model applied valuescience.

Res­i­dents con­duct an exper­i­ment in inten­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty aimed at demon­strat­ing the ben­e­fits to humankind of apply­ing sci­ence to address indi­vid­ual health and aware­ness, social peace and jus­tice, and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and stew­ard­ship. Res­i­dents con­tribute a com­bi­na­tion of labor and mon­ey. They share respon­si­bil­i­ty for the devel­op­ment and oper­a­tion of Mag­ic, includ­ing deliv­ery of many of its pro­grams. Res­i­dents devote sub­stan­tial life to prac­tices aimed at enhanc­ing their capac­i­ty for ser­vice to humankind.

Fellows — oversee development and delivery of programs.

Fel­lows vol­un­teer full-time at Mag­ic, deliv­er­ing and super­vis­ing oth­ers in deliv­er­ing Mag­ic pro­grams. They live at Mag­ic’s head­quar­ters at the con­ve­nience of Mag­ic and usu­al­ly have their basic needs for food, shel­ter, cloth­ing met by Mag­ic. They also may have some med­ical care, trans­porta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion expens­es reim­bursed by Magic.


Mag­ic is orga­nized as a pub­lic ben­e­fit cor­po­ra­tion ded­i­cat­ed to devel­op­ing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing val­ue­science in ser­vice of com­mon good.

Directors — are ultimately responsible for Magic.

Direc­tors over­see cor­po­rate oper­a­tions to ensure that Mag­ic’s resources are uti­lized to pub­lic ben­e­fit. The full Board usu­al­ly meets for busi­ness once every few months, but indi­vid­ual Board Mem­bers are active­ly engaged in devel­op­ing Mag­ic pro­grams on a day-to-day basis. Direc­tors are vol­un­teers. They serve for one year and elect their own successors.

Officers — maintain Magic as an organization.

The Pres­i­dent, Vice-Pres­i­dent, Sec­re­tary, and Trea­sur­er estab­lish and oper­ate sys­tems to sup­port the deliv­ery of pro­gram ser­vices. They make reg­u­lar reports to over­sight agen­cies, keep min­utes of Board meet­ings, make accu­rate records of legal and finan­cial trans­ac­tions, over­see main­te­nance of phys­i­cal plant and equip­ment, and ensure that Mag­ic remains in com­pli­ance with applic­a­ble laws and regulations.


The Mag­ic ser­vice com­mu­ni­ty includes all who are touched by the orga­ni­za­tion’s activ­i­ties. We who reg­u­lar­ly con­tribute labor, mate­r­i­al, and mon­ey to enable Mag­ic to demon­strate how the meth­ods and prin­ci­ples of val­ue­science can be applied to bet­ter the con­di­tion of humankind enjoy a close and sat­is­fy­ing fellowship.


Affil­i­ates com­mit ongo­ing sup­port to Mag­ic. By promis­ing and mak­ing reg­u­lar con­tri­bu­tions, Affil­i­ates enhance Mag­ic’s capac­i­ty to address issues too large or com­plex to be quick­ly resolved. They reduce the bur­dens of fundrais­ing, and of con­tin­gency plan­ning to accom­mo­date fluc­tu­at­ing resource avail­abil­i­ty. And they con­tribute to evo­lu­tion of Mag­ic as a com­mu­ni­ty of friends in service.

Responsibilities and Rewards

There are three types of Affil­i­a­tion, each designed to facil­i­tate expres­sion and recog­ni­tion of a dif­fer­ent degree of engagement.

Affil­i­ate Spon­sors annu­al­ly pledge to Mag­ic at least one thou­sandth of their income, or $50, or 10 hours of vol­un­teer ser­vice. They are reg­u­lar­ly informed of Mag­ic events and activ­i­ties in which they have expressed inter­est. Oper­at­ing per­son­nel aim to afford Spon­sors at least one oppor­tu­ni­ty each year to pose ques­tions and offer sug­ges­tions about Mag­ic’s struc­ture, phi­los­o­phy, and poli­cies, and about deliv­ery of its programs.

Affil­i­ate Patrons promise year­ly gifts of at least 1% of their income, or $400, or 60 hours of vol­un­teer ser­vice. To address con­cerns they deem press­ing, Patrons are invit­ed to con­fer with oper­at­ing per­son­nel at least once each month and are giv­en pref­er­ence in enrolling in, and sub­scrib­ing to Mag­ic pro­grams and services.

Affil­i­ate Part­ners give each year at least 10% of their income, or $3000, or 200 hours of ser­vice. Part­ners may active­ly shape the Mag­ic vision, orga­ni­za­tion, and pro­grams. They typ­i­cal­ly con­fer with oper­at­ing per­son­nel at least month­ly, though some pre­fer only infre­quent con­tact. They may enroll or sub­scribe on a pref­er­en­tial basis to Mag­ic pro­grams and services.

Advisors and Project Managers

Advi­sors are Affil­i­ates who bring spe­cial­ized skill and expe­ri­ence to the oper­a­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion or the deliv­ery of its pro­grams. Tech­ni­cal exper­tise and estab­lished rela­tion­ships in com­mu­ni­ties where Mag­ic serves are exam­ples of resources Advi­sors bring.

Project Man­agers are qual­i­fied Affil­i­ates who under­take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of a major seg­ment or phase of a Mag­ic pro­gram. They also may direct the com­ple­tion of a major task or project nec­es­sary to main­tain or improve Mag­ic’s orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­ture or operations.

Becoming an Affiliate

A per­son may become an Affil­i­ate by ful­fill­ing terms set forth above. Advi­sors are invit­ed to serve by the Fel­lows, who accept nom­i­na­tions from any source. Project Man­agers are select­ed by the Fel­low respon­si­ble for the project, in con­sul­ta­tion with oth­er project team personnel.


Asso­ciates take full respon­si­bil­i­ty for a project con­duct­ed under the aus­pices of Mag­ic. Asso­ciates are entre­pre­neurs who expand the breadth of Mag­ic’s offer­ings and increase the pop­u­la­tion it serves.

Responsibilities and Rewards

Asso­ciates oper­ate with a great deal of flex­i­bil­i­ty. They may solic­it vol­un­teers and con­tri­bu­tions in Mag­ic’s name to sup­port their project. They decide when, where, and how to work.

Asso­ciates are encour­aged to iden­ti­fy them­selves with Mag­ic, and to inform oth­ers of the cor­po­rate phi­los­o­phy and pro­grams. How­ev­er, they act and speak on behalf of the cor­po­ra­tion, rather than as indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with it, only to the extent specif­i­cal­ly autho­rized by the Fellows.

With each addi­tion­al Asso­ci­ate’s per­spec­tive, the qual­i­ties of the Mag­ic work envi­ron­ment, and of its pub­lic ser­vice become rich­er. By diver­si­fy­ing Mag­ic’s activ­i­ties, Asso­ciates can con­tribute sub­stan­tial­ly to the orga­ni­za­tion’s sta­bil­i­ty, insu­lat­ing it against unfore­seen dif­fi­cul­ty, and broad­en­ing its base of support.

Income gen­er­at­ed through Asso­ciate activ­i­ties is usu­al­ly paid direct­ly to Mag­ic. Direct costs incurred by Mag­ic and attrib­ut­able to a spe­cif­ic Asso­ciate pro­gram are charged against income. Mag­ic recov­ers indi­rect costs by levy­ing a per­cent­age (typ­i­cal­ly between 10 and 50 per­cent) of income. This amount is adjust­ed at least once per year to reflect true costs. Mag­ic also charges a fixed amount (typ­i­cal­ly ~$500) to cov­er the one-time expens­es of estab­lish­ing a new Associate.

After Mag­ic has been reim­bursed for the expens­es item­ized above, remain­ing income is avail­able to the Asso­ciate as reim­burse­ment for out-of-pock­et expens­es, as per­son­al com­pen­sa­tion, or to expand and improve pro­gram activ­i­ties. Rates of per­son­al com­pen­sa­tion are lim­it­ed to the medi­an wage in the area where the Asso­ciate resides.

Asso­ciate sta­tus is designed to com­bine the advan­tages of sev­er­al oth­er cours­es of action. Enjoy­ing much of the lib­er­ty of the inde­pen­dent prac­tic­ing pro­fes­sion­al, Asso­ciates also ben­e­fit from the close sup­port of oth­ers who share their val­ues. Stim­u­lat­ed by many of the same oppor­tu­ni­ties for per­son­al achieve­ment as any entre­pre­neur, they also may enjoy the sat­is­fac­tion of act­ing charitably.

Asso­ciates oper­ate with the ben­e­fit of Mag­ic’s name recog­ni­tion and his­to­ry of out­stand­ing ser­vice. They also are giv­en easy access to our grow­ing net­work of sup­port­ers. Mag­ic pro­vides a fis­cal­ly and orga­ni­za­tion­al­ly sound frame­work for peo­ple who share a com­mit­ment to val­ue­science, and to real­iz­ing their own poten­tial through ser­vice to others.

Asso­ciates bear only a frac­tion of the expens­es of main­tain­ing a pub­lic ben­e­fit cor­po­ra­tion, and thus reduce both their per­son­al out­lays, and the amount of com­mon wealth, devot­ed to trans­ac­tion costs. Among ser­vices avail­able through Mag­ic are mail, phone, meet­ing and work­space, infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing, desk­top pub­lish­ing, account­ing, legal, insur­ance, reg­u­la­to­ry com­pli­ance, and banking.

Per­haps more impor­tant­ly, Asso­ciates are immersed in a learn­ing envi­ron­ment, where the fore­most objec­tives are ser­vice to oth­ers and increased per­son­al sat­is­fac­tion through the con­scious prac­tice of val­ue­science. Because they are in close con­tact with oth­er Mag­ic per­son­nel who share their val­ues and who often pos­sess skills com­ple­men­tary to their own, Asso­ciates are able to find more eas­i­ly the advice and assis­tance they need to car­ry for­ward their work in a sat­is­fy­ing and gen­er­ous way. Asso­ciates receive pref­er­en­tial access to Mag­ic programs.

Conflict of Interest

Because Asso­ciates may retain sep­a­rate pro­fes­sion­al prac­tices inde­pen­dent of Mag­ic, and because their skills may over­lap with those of oth­ers who pro­vide ser­vices through the cor­po­ra­tion, they may expe­ri­ence con­flict of inter­est. Suc­cess­ful Asso­ciates bring ben­e­fits to the gen­er­al pub­lic, to Mag­ic, and to them­selves. Mag­ic asks that Asso­ciates be scrupu­lous in avoid­ing dis­place­ment of oth­er Mag­ic pro­grams as they solic­it clients and sup­port, both for their work at Mag­ic and for their oth­er pro­fes­sion­al activities.

Becoming an Associate

Prospec­tive Asso­ciates sub­mit a brief pro­pos­al to a Mag­ic Fel­low. In this doc­u­ment they out­line their life­plan, the nature of the ser­vice they intend to pro­vide through Mag­ic, their qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and the rea­sons they per­ceive Mag­ic to be an appro­pri­ate vehi­cle. If the ini­tial pro­pos­al is favor­ably received, the prospec­tive Asso­ciate devel­ops a work plan and bud­get in con­sul­ta­tion with the Fel­lows. These doc­u­ments include spe­cif­ic ser­vice objec­tives, writ­ten in terms of pro­gram con­tent and audi­ence, esti­mates of income and expens­es, and a sched­ule of activ­i­ties. The rela­tion­ship between Mag­ic and the Asso­ciate is detailed, so that both par­ties are aware of what is being offered and asked. The expand­ed pro­pos­al, with work plan and bud­get, is for­ward­ed by the Fel­lows to the Board of Direc­tors who grant an Asso­ciate appoint­ment or sug­gest an alter­na­tive course of action.


Interns work through Mag­ic in order to learn how to apply the meth­ods and prin­ci­ples of ecol­o­gy to pub­lic ser­vice. Interns learn how they may become health­i­er and more sat­is­fied, how they may work more coop­er­a­tive­ly with oth­ers, and how they may stew­ard the envi­ron­ment. Though often young or rel­a­tive­ly inex­pe­ri­enced, Interns have made valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to Mag­ic, and to those it serves.

Responsibilities and Rewards

Interns are exposed to the inter­nal work­ings of a unique, non-sec­tar­i­an res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ty found­ed on the prin­ci­ples that work­ing for com­mon good can be a path to per­son­al ful­fill­ment, and that val­ue­science pro­vides an under­pin­ning for effec­tive ser­vice. Each Intern is guid­ed by a men­tor drawn from the ranks of expe­ri­enced Mag­ic personnel.

Depend­ing upon pri­or expe­ri­ence, Interns may do every­thing from cook­ing and clean­ing, to writ­ing and edit­ing, to build­ing and gar­den­ing, to teach­ing and research­ing. They may work rel­a­tive­ly inde­pen­dent­ly or with close super­vi­sion. Intern­ship com­mit­ments range from a few hours per week to the equiv­a­lent of full-time employ­ment, and may extend from a month or so to more than a year. What­ev­er the extent of their promis­es, Mag­ic asks that Interns be con­sci­en­tious in ful­fill­ing them.

Becoming an Intern

Mag­ic lists intern­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties with sec­ondary schools, col­leges, and vol­un­teer recruit­ment agen­cies. Some­times prospec­tive Interns make inquiry direct­ly. Appli­ca­tion pro­ce­dures vary with intern­ship, appli­cant, and men­tor, and may entail writ­ing and per­son­al inter­views. An intern­ship is estab­lished when a Mag­ic Fel­low approves a con­tract between a men­tor and a prospec­tive Intern. We encour­age interns to exchange writ­ten per­for­mance reviews with their men­tor at least once each quarter.


Mag­ic owns and oper­ates three adja­cent res­i­dences on approx­i­mate­ly one-half acre of land in Palo Alto, Cal­for­nia. This prop­er­ty serves as cor­po­rate head­quar­ters. A res­i­den­tial edu­ca­tion­al pro­gram con­duct­ed here is cen­tral to Mag­ic’s operations.


Peo­ple live and work togeth­er at Mag­ic to learn to iden­ti­fy and fur­ther com­mon inter­ests of humankind. Life at Mag­ic is focused upon demon­strat­ing how val­ue­science may be applied across a full spec­trum of every­day activ­i­ties to devel­op indi­vid­ual poten­tial, to shape a more coop­er­a­tive soci­ety, and to stew­ard the environment.

Responsibilities and Rewards

Res­i­dents enter into three con­tracts. The first is a Social Con­tract, a hand­ful of gen­er­al pre­cepts which serve as a foun­da­tion for liv­ing in sat­is­fac­tion, and for con­tribut­ing to the sat­is­fac­tion of oth­ers, both with­in and beyond the res­i­den­tial pro­gram. The sec­ond is Guide­lines for Liv­ing at Mag­ic which embod­ies con­ven­tions devel­oped over time to facil­i­tate smooth func­tion­ing of the com­mu­ni­ty. The third is a Res­i­den­tial Pro­gram Agree­ment which lists con­tri­bu­tion of labor, mon­ey, or oth­er tan­gi­bles on which res­i­den­cy is con­di­tioned. Most Res­i­dents con­tribute an addi­tion­al 200 hours of labor or $3,000 each year to qual­i­fy as Affil­i­ate Part­ners. The terms of each Res­i­den­tial Pro­gram Agree­ment are nego­ti­at­ed by Fel­low and Resident.

Demon­strat­ing val­ue­science for ben­e­fit of the gen­er­al pub­lic can be a chal­leng­ing task, and becom­ing more com­pe­tent to do so can be intense­ly sat­is­fy­ing. Res­i­dents are con­strained in the mate­r­i­al aspects of liv­ing, and they give sub­stan­tial­ly to pub­lic ser­vice activ­i­ties aimed at bet­ter­ment of the human con­di­tion. They are exten­sive­ly sup­port­ed in align­ing their lives with their deep­est val­ues, and they enjoy both obvi­ous and more sub­tle ben­e­fits of mod­el­ing val­ue­science-informed ser­vice. A chief aim of the Res­i­den­tial Pro­gram is to show that liv­ing to fur­ther com­mon good can be joyful.

Becoming a Resident

Mag­ic is an enter­prise in which har­mo­nious per­son­al rela­tion­ships are a foun­da­tion for suc­cess­ful­ly meet­ing broad pub­lic ser­vice objec­tives with lim­it­ed resources. Prospec­tive Res­i­dents are encour­aged to become well-acquaint­ed with Mag­ic’s pro­grams and per­son­nel by study­ing the web­site, vis­it­ing, and volunteering.

Appli­cants for res­i­den­cy dis­cuss with a Fel­low how they imag­ine ben­e­fit­ting from res­i­den­cy and con­tribut­ing through Mag­ic. If prospect and Fel­low agree to move for­ward, they arrange meet­ings with oth­er Res­i­dents. After these, the Fel­low may draft a Res­i­den­tial Pro­gram Agree­ment in con­sul­ta­tion with the appli­cant, or pro­pose anoth­er arrangement.


Fel­lows are expe­ri­enced teach­ers and per­sis­tent learn­ers, who demon­strate through the exam­ple of their own lives how ecol­o­gy may be a basis for effec­tive ser­vice of the com­mon good.Current fel­lows have served through Mag­ic for decades. (List of cur­rent fellows)

Responsibilities and Rewards

Fel­lows are full-time vol­un­teers who con­tract to serve Mag­ic at least forty hours per week for a peri­od of one year or longer, qual­i­fy­ing them as Affil­i­ate Part­ners. The Direc­tors have del­e­gat­ed to the Fel­lows day-to-day respon­si­bil­i­ty for guid­ing the devel­op­ment and deliv­ery of Mag­ic’s pro­grams. In some instances Fel­lows con­duct pro­grams them­selves, and in oth­ers they super­vise Project Man­agers, Res­i­dents, Affil­i­ates, Interns, and oth­ers. Fel­lows are giv­en pri­ma­ry respon­si­bil­i­ty for rela­tion­ships with Asso­ciates, propos­ing asso­ci­a­tion with Mag­ic to them or respond­ing to their ini­tia­tives, and con­sult­ing with them in the con­duct of their projects. Fel­lows also pro­vide direc­tion to the Offi­cers, who devel­op and main­tain Mag­ic’s mate­r­i­al and orga­ni­za­tion­al infra­struc­ture to prop­er­ly sup­port exist­ing and antic­i­pat­ed programs.

Fel­lows reside at Mag­ic at the request of the Direc­tors. Usu­al­ly their basic needs for food and shel­ter are met by Mag­ic, and their cloth­ing, med­ical care, trans­porta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion expens­es may be defrayed in whole or in part by Mag­ic. Mag­ic pol­i­cy also pro­vides for com­pa­ra­ble sup­port for one minor or oth­er depen­dent of each Fellow.

Becoming a Fellow

Fel­lows are required to evi­dence deep under­stand­ing of val­ue­science, and broad com­pe­tence in demon­strat­ing how peo­ple may more effec­tive­ly care for self, for oth­ers, and for the air, land, water, and diverse species on which the qual­i­ty of human life depends.

Fel­low­ship appli­ca­tions are sub­mit­ted to an exist­ing Fel­low. Appli­ca­tions include a life­plan out­line, spec­i­fy­ing the appli­can­t’s goals and antic­i­pat­ed activ­i­ties, their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and lim­i­ta­tions as they per­ceive them, and what they aim to offer and obtain at Mag­ic. Appli­ca­tions are cir­cu­lat­ed among Fel­lows, Res­i­dents, Affil­i­ate Part­ners, and Asso­ciates for com­ment. If review is favor­able, the Fel­low who accept­ed the appli­ca­tion may for­ward it to the Direc­tors with a rec­om­men­da­tion for action. The Direc­tors may offer a pro­vi­sion­al appoint­ment of one to sev­er­al months. Dur­ing this inter­val, the appli­cant par­tic­i­pates at Mag­ic under the direc­tion of an exist­ing Fel­low. At the end of the tri­al peri­od, either the pro­vi­sion­al appoint­ment is extend­ed, or the appli­cant is offered a reg­u­lar appoint­ment for one year, or an alter­na­tive affil­i­a­tion with Mag­ic is proposed.

The per­for­mance of each Fel­low is reviewed by oth­er Fel­lows at least quar­ter­ly, and the by the Board of Direc­tors at least once per year. A Fel­low may be reap­point­ed at any time for a term of one year, or for anoth­er peri­od equal to or short­er than the tenure of ser­vice of that Fel­low at the time of reappointment.


Much about Mag­ic was decid­ed by the founders when they char­tered a cor­po­ra­tion to research and teach human ecol­o­gy for the ben­e­fit of the gen­er­al pub­lic. Mag­ic’s assets and the activ­i­ties car­ried out in its name are ded­i­cat­ed to this pur­pose, since amend­ed to specif­i­cal­ly man­date devel­op­ment and dis­sem­i­na­tion of valuescience.

As a pub­lic ben­e­fit cor­po­ra­tion Mag­ic has a struc­ture famil­iar to many in our soci­ety. This enables diverse indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions to inter­act more com­fort­ably with us.

Mag­ic is reg­u­lat­ed by sev­er­al gov­ern­ment agen­cies. We make annu­al reports, item­iz­ing our income and expens­es, and out­lin­ing our pro­grams and ser­vices, to the San­ta Clara Coun­ty Asses­sor, the Attor­ney Gen­er­al of the State of Cal­i­for­nia, the Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State, the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice of the Unit­ed States, and the Cal­i­for­nia Fran­chise Tax Board, all of whom over­see our activ­i­ties to make cer­tain that they con­form to our stat­ed pur­pose, and are in com­pli­ance with applic­a­ble law.


Direc­tors are empow­ered by Mag­ic’s by-laws to over­see the oper­a­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion. They are select­ed for their under­stand­ing of the analy­sis and vision under­pin­ning Mag­ic, and for their record of pub­lic ser­vice. They bring with them a diver­si­ty of expe­ri­ence and oth­er resources by which to enhance the sta­bil­i­ty and enable the growth of Magic.

Responsibilities and Rewards

Direc­tors pledge at least 200 hours of ser­vice or 10% of their income or $3000 annu­al­ly to Mag­ic, qual­i­fy­ing them as Affil­i­ate Part­ners. They enjoy the sat­is­fac­tion of col­lab­o­rat­ing with a group of peo­ple who are found­ing lives of ser­vice upon val­ue­science. To facil­i­tate har­mo­nious and coop­er­a­tive pur­suit of the cor­po­ra­tion’s pub­lic ser­vice objec­tives, they sus­tain close rela­tion­ships with Mag­ic’s oth­er key personnel.

Direc­tors are legal­ly respon­si­ble for oper­a­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion in accor­dance with its char­i­ta­ble pur­pose. They serve with­out pay and are pro­hib­it­ed by law from enter­ing into trans­ac­tions with Mag­ic which result in pecu­niary gain to them. Unless they act dili­gent­ly to ensure that Mag­ic’s resources are pru­dent­ly and unwa­ver­ing­ly applied to con­tribute to the wel­fare of the gen­er­al pub­lic, Direc­tors may be held account­able in civ­il or crim­i­nal proceedings.

Direc­tors elect their own suc­ces­sors, and they elect Offi­cers. In con­sul­ta­tion with oth­er per­son­nel, they select Asso­ciates and Fel­lows. Full Board meet­ings are held at least once per year. At the annu­al meet­ing, the Direc­tors review reports describ­ing the devel­op­ment and oper­a­tion of Mag­ic’s pro­grams and infra­struc­ture dur­ing the pri­or year, and out­lin­ing plans for the com­ing year. Spe­cial meet­ings of the full Board are sched­uled as required dur­ing the year. These may be sep­a­rat­ed by weeks or months. Meet­ings of Board com­mit­tees and between indi­vid­ual Direc­tors and oth­er per­son­nel are more frequent.

Becoming a Director

Mag­ic Direc­tors: (1) under­stand the fun­da­men­tals of val­ue­science and its broad applic­a­bil­i­ty, (2) view their own self-inter­est to include the well-being of oth­er peo­ple, oth­er life, and the abi­ot­ic envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors upon which life depends, (3) embrace a vision of Mag­ic as a mod­el of val­ue­science-based ser­vice com­mu­ni­ty, (4) per­ceive that they can con­tribute to the fuller real­iza­tion of that vision, and (5) com­mit to active­ly par­tic­i­pate in shap­ing Magic.

Direc­tors nom­i­nate them­selves, often at the request of oth­ers asso­ci­at­ed with the cor­po­ra­tion. Nom­i­nees are asked to sub­mit a state­ment describ­ing how they imag­ine serv­ing on the Board will ben­e­fit them and Mag­ic. All nom­i­na­tion papers are addressed to the Pres­i­dent, who cir­cu­lates them among Fel­lows, Affil­i­ate Part­ners, Asso­ciates, and Res­i­dents for com­ment, and for­wards them to the Board for action. The Board decides by major­i­ty vote whether to seat a nominee.


Offi­cers admin­is­ter Mag­ic to enable devel­op­ment and deliv­ery of pro­gram ser­vices for the ben­e­fit of the gen­er­al public.

Responsibilities and Rewards

Offi­cers pledge 200 hours of ser­vice or 10% of their income or $3000 annu­al­ly, qual­i­fy­ing them as Affil­i­ate Part­ners. The Direc­tors have del­e­gat­ed to the Offi­cers respon­si­bilty for imple­ment­ing Board poli­cies per­ti­nent to main­tain­ing Mag­ic’s orga­ni­za­tion­al infra­struc­ture, and for oper­at­ing it in a man­ner which com­plies with applic­a­ble fed­er­al, state, and local law. Offi­cers may del­e­gate tasks and super­vise oth­ers in ful­fill­ing them as they deem appropriate.

The Pres­i­dent con­venes and con­ducts Board meet­ings, exe­cutes con­tracts with per­son­nel, clients, and ven­dors, files over­sight agency reports, and over­sees oth­er offi­cers in per­form­ing their duties.

The Vice-pres­i­dent man­ages phys­i­cal plant and equip­ment, includ­ing real prop­er­ty, vehi­cles, com­put­ers, tools, and supplies.

The Sec­re­tary makes com­plete and accu­rate min­utes of Board meet­ings, retains cus­tody of the cor­po­rate seal and affix­es it as nec­es­sary, and man­ages infor­ma­tion­al resources, includ­ing cur­rent oper­at­ing poli­cies and pro­to­cols, pre­sen­ta­tion doc­u­ments, records of past activ­i­ties, and a data­base of affil­i­at­ed personnel.

The Trea­sur­er man­ages cor­po­rate finan­cial assets, keeps com­plete and accu­rate finan­cial records, drafts and updates oper­at­ing plans and bud­gets, and pre­pares quar­ter­ly and annu­al finan­cial reports.

Offi­cers are vol­un­teers. In addi­tion to their orga­ni­za­tion­al sup­port duties, they may under­take direct respon­si­bil­i­ty for deliv­er­ing Mag­ic pro­grams. If their role war­rants, they may reside at Mag­ic at the request of the cor­po­ra­tion. When they do, their basic expens­es for food and shel­ter may be met by the cor­po­ra­tion. Under some cir­cum­stances, their cloth­ing, med­ical care, trans­porta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion expens­es also may be defrayed in full or in part by Magic.

Becoming an Officer

Offi­cers are appoint­ed by a major­i­ty of the Board for one-year terms. They may nom­i­nate them­selves or be nom­i­nat­ed by oth­ers. Nom­i­na­tions are sub­mit­ted to the Pres­i­dent and cir­cu­lat­ed among the Affil­i­ate Part­ners, Asso­ciates, and Fel­lows for com­ment before being for­ward­ed to the Board. The per­for­mance of the Offi­cers is reviewed at least quar­ter­ly by the Fellows.


Mag­ic is oper­at­ed to pro­vide sat­is­fac­tion to those who con­tribute to its work, and to apply resources entrust­ed to its care to fur­ther human well-being.


The Board del­e­gates to the Fel­lows, Asso­ciates, Interns, and those Affil­i­ates who con­tribute labor the author­i­ty to car­ry Mag­ic for­ward on a day-to-day basis. Under nor­mal cir­cum­stances, oper­at­ing per­son­nel decide where and how to com­mit Mag­ic assets, whether they be mon­ey, mate­r­i­al, or labor. They also deter­mine who shall act on behalf of the cor­po­ra­tion, and in what capacity.

Although all oper­at­ing per­son­nel are respon­si­ble for main­te­nance of cor­po­rate infra­struc­ture, each per­son retains con­sid­er­able free­dom to choose what oth­er activ­i­ties per­son­al­ly to under­take, and how to con­duct them. Peo­ple spe­cial­ize both by for­mal and by infor­mal arrange­ment. We accom­mo­date and appre­ci­ate diver­si­ty, and we also cul­ti­vate unity.

We allo­cate cor­po­rate resources with respect to three principles:(1) equal­i­ty, because we per­ceive ben­e­fit in ful­ly con­sid­er­ing each per­son; (2) equi­ty, to acknowl­edge those who have been dili­gent in the past and are com­mit­ted for the future; and (3) effec­tive­ness, so that peo­ple with exper­tise and skill may con­tribute them fully.

Indi­vid­u­als may freely express their ideas about their work with Mag­ic, but they may write, speak, or oth­er­wise com­mu­ni­cate on behalf of Mag­ic only when autho­rized to do so by action of the Board, or when act­ing with the approval of some­one so autho­rized. The Offi­cers and oth­er oper­at­ing per­son­nel are del­e­gat­ed vary­ing degrees of author­i­ty to rep­re­sent Magic.

Oper­at­ing per­son­nel reg­u­lar­ly eval­u­ate each oth­er, so that all of us may learn to see our­selves and each oth­er more clear­ly. We gen­er­al­ly set aside a few min­utes dai­ly, sev­er­al hours week­ly, and sev­er­al days each quar­ter for plan­ning and review. Direc­tors and oth­ers con­nect­ed to Mag­ic some­times par­tic­i­pate in these activities.


Peo­ple remain joined togeth­er as Mag­ic because we per­ceive devel­op­in­hg and dis­sem­i­nat­ing val­ue­science for com­mon good, to be con­sis­tent with our per­son­al ideas about how to live well, and because we see advan­tage in orga­niz­ing for coop­er­a­tive action with­in the frame­work of this pub­lic ben­e­fit corporation.

The peo­ple at Mag­ic who par­tic­i­pate in devel­op­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al phi­los­o­phy and pol­i­cy, or in oper­at­ing ser­vice pro­grams, con­sid­er val­ue­science to be ani­m­por­tant tool for increas­ing human well-being. We also share a per­cep­tion, based in our own val­ue­science prac­tices, that we find greater sat­is­fac­tion in learn­ing to love bet­ter, than in com­mand­ing lux­u­ry goods and services.

Our mate­r­i­al rewards, if we receive any, are mod­est by con­trast to what we might reap, or have already expe­ri­enced in oth­er set­tings. We are moti­vat­ed by a vision of pub­lic ser­vice. The stan­dard to which we ask each oth­er to be account­able is one of net ser­vice, both to Mag­ic, and to the world beyond.

More than many orga­ni­za­tions, Mag­ic is a com­mu­ni­ty of friends. Like any descrip­tion of a group where peo­ple col­lab­o­rate in so many aspects of liv­ing, the words here are nec­es­sar­i­ly a very par­tial pic­ture. Mag­ic is steadi­ly chang­ing. As more peo­ple con­tribute, those with greater expe­ri­ence are find­ing new ways to share the plea­sures and the respon­si­bil­i­ties of plan­ning and decid­ing. The spir­it of Mag­ic is increas­ing­ly one of com­pas­sion and understanding.


If you have fur­ther ques­tions about the peo­ple who are mak­ing Mag­ic and the process­es by which the cor­po­ra­tion is being shaped, you may enjoy vis­it­ing our head­quar­ters, meet­ing some of us, and observ­ing or par­tic­i­pat­ing in the activ­i­ties by which we main­tain Mag­ic’s infra­struc­ture and deliv­er its pro­gram services.

Our orga­niz­ing doc­u­ments, state­ments of pol­i­cy, annu­al reports, project descrip­tions, the pub­li­ca­tions we have pro­duced to sup­port our var­i­ous pro­grams, and work­ing papers of many kinds are avail­able to the pub­lic by appoint­ment at 381 Oxford Avenue, Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia, or by mail to those who pay full costs of repro­duc­tion, postage, and handling.

To make arrange­ments to vis­it Mag­ic, or for infor­ma­tion about cur­rent oppor­tu­ni­ties to gen­er­ate or receive Mag­ic ser­vices, please con­tact us by click­ing the link below.

What­ev­er the extent of fur­ther con­tact with Mag­ic you choose, we hope that ideas you’ve encoun­tered here and the under­tak­ing they out­line will in some way be pos­i­tive influ­ences in your life. Thank you for your inter­est in mak­ing Magic.