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.