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Online Resource Center

Expressions of Interest

Preliminary commitments from potential tenants, also known as Letters of Intent
Alliance Center for Sustainability Pre-Leasing Survey
The Vancouver Hive’s Letter of Commitment for Nonprofit Center Tenants
Renewal Partner’s Inquiry Response Letter
Langs’ Community Partner Expression of Interest Form
Letter of Intent – Foster Community Foundation
Letter of Intent – Posner Center for International Development
Midland Shared Spaces Letter of Intent to Participate



Jerry Forbes Centre Tenancy Application
NTC at Liberty Station Tenant Application – Nonprofit
Carroll Nonprofit Center Tenant Application


Selection Criteria and Recruitment Strategies

NCN Webinar| Full House: Tenant Recruitment Strategies
NCN WebinarI Happy Tenant, Happy Landlord: Win-Win Leasing Strategies
NCN Webinar I Transitions
Hope Center Management Plan (Contains Partner Selection Criteria for the project)
Center for Social Innovation NYC Tenant Selection Criteria [Link]
Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s Tenant Selection Criteria
Jerry Forbes Centre Tenant Selection Process
Carroll Nonprofit Center Tenant Selection Criteria and Requirements


Getting Off on the Right Foot

Collaboration Expectations Kukui Center
Collaboration Charter – Jerry Forbes Centre
Denver Shared Spaces Partnership Readiness Assessment
Facilities Use Agreement – HNS Life Center
Resident Rules and Regulations – Chicago Literacy Center
Thoreau Center’s Community Charter for New Tenants

Email with any examples you are willing to share.


Topics Below

Proactive Tenant Recruitment Tenant SelectionCriteria for Recruiting New Tenants
Individual Memberships
Managing Office Space for Nonprofit Organizations
Managing the Appearance of Bias
See also Profit or Non-Profit Mixed Centers (Legalities Page)

Proactive Tenant Recruitment

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 7/9/15

Katie Edwards, Nonprofit Centers Network
We know that many nonprofit centers have waiting lists, but what do you do if you aren’t completely full and prospective tenants aren’t knocking on your door? Has anyone had this problem? What did you do to actively recruit new tenants?
I’m especially interested in anyone who has used incentives to increase your number of tenants. What incentive did you offer? What were the terms? In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?
Mike Gilbert, The Jones Centers
We are blessed to be debt free and 100% occupied in two of our three buildings. The other is at 85% today, our lowest rate since our initial tenant mix in 2009 when we open the Center for Nonprofits @ St. Mary’s.
Today, we have nearly 20,000 SF of our 205,000 leasable SF vacant.We are searching for the right tenant and do not feel the pressure to backfill the space to make our pro forma attractive. That said, we have reviewed the synergies that exist within the center and have developed a “target list” of who is the right fit in our community (and region) to complement the services offered in our facilities. I do not have a template or scope of work for this exercise, we just scheduled time with each of our community partners, and began to ask the questions about who do you collaborate with, who would you like to see in the center, who would you collaborate with if they were here, etc.Our rents are well below market rate and that is the primary incentive. We manage the public space and meeting rooms as an amenity to the lease and have 9 meeting rooms of varying sizes. We offer some TI allowance depending on term of lease, size and condition of space, etc.We would also be interested in learning of specific incentives both for leasing and retention.
Whitney Roux, NTC Foundation
At NTC Arts & Culture district we have a Tenant Referral Program. If a current tenant refers us a new tenant who signs a 2+ year lease we give them the new tenants first month’s rent. We find this builds cohesion and people refer other groups who support their business being successful. In the past we have had an artist in a small studio refer an art school- the check he received paid his rent for the next year.We also use multiple advertising opportunities including craigslist, co-star and social media to promote our available spaces. If you have a lot of space to fill it could be beneficial to work with a real estate broker. In the past we had a leasing specialist on staff, but after becoming 100% leased we moved to a model where we now work with an outside broker who can focus on that so staff can focus on programming.
Karen Maciorowski, The CT Nonprofit Center
We utilized a variety of strategies to recruit nonprofits to our space. We have officially been open 1 year this July and have nearly reached capacity. We have 20 nonprofit tenants about 160 employees and 3 vacant spaces. We have 3 for-profit organizations that have not yet left (there were over 40 when we started that have all vacated). They take up about 20,000 square feet and are here for another 3-5 years so we will have space available at that time. Right now we have about 5,000 square feet left.Strategies were informal:
1. Every time a new tenant joined us we did a press release2. The local community foundation has quarterly events for nonprofits – we speak at them and leave a flyer3. We have an email and mail database of 8,000 or about 4,000 nonprofits – we mail/email them regularly and if they are interested they fill out a short survey (2 mins) and we contact them4. We had a block party in May – all of our tenants had display tables in the courtyard and we invited the neighborhood, local businesses, elected officials, residents, nonprofits, etc. and had an open house and Center presentation – from that we received a lot of interest in both renting meeting space and renting space. About 1/3rd of our tenants came to us because they used our meeting space and loved it and wanted to stay.5. Word of mouth by tenants brought in another 1/3rd of the tenants.SO far the informal touch has worked for us. We have marketing collateral and are constantly promoting, but once the large space becomes available, we will need to be more formal about the process.

Hope it helps – see our Center page and our Facebook page for pictures

Tenant Selection

From an Ask-NCN Discussion – 5/22/2014

Brandi Stanley, Posner Center
I’m wondering if any of you have developed a tenant selection criteria or rubric of any sort that helps you determine tenants in your building (I’m assuming those that are particularly centered around a specific mission/theme)?If so, we would love to see any that you’d be willing to share, as we’re starting discussions around whether to do this, and how to do it well.
Russell Johnson, Community Partners Center for Health and Human Services
We do not have a tenant selection criteria. From a purely business perspective of ensuring the financial solvency and viability of your building, I would suggest you consider guidelines or priorities for tenants rather than any published policy. These can be tailored around messaging to prospective tenants. For our building, we seek tenants that have a primary mission of health and/or human services.
Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
Our board votes but we do not have a common mission “theme” other than being a nonprofit however below is a list of our requirements that the board reviews.REQUIREMENTS
In order to join the Knight Nonprofit Center we will need the following information:
1. 501c3 Letter (we do sometimes allow in with proof of application or other 501c status)
2. Letter of Good Standing from Secretary of State
3. Financial Statement – where do funds come from
4. Certificate of Insurance – Insurance requirements below as reads in lease
5. Prospectus; Information about nonprofit (website/brochure)
6. Mission Statement
7. How space will be utilized and traffic flow estimate/no direct services. Insurance. Tenant will at all times during the term of this Lease maintain general comprehensive public liability insurance against claims for bodily injury, death, or property damage occurring on, in, or about the Premises, such insurance to afford protection of not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) with respect to bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident, and not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) with respect to property damage in any one occurrence, or such other amounts in excess of the amounts set forth above as Landlord shall reasonably request. Such insurance shall be primary as to all claims arising out, related to or in any way connected with Tenant’s lease or use of the Premises. Such insurance shall be written by companies of recognized financial standing which are well rated by a national rating agency and are legally qualified to issue such insurance in the State of Mississippi, and such insurance shall name as an additional insured thereunder, Landlord, or its assigns, and Tenant. Such insurance may be obtained by Tenant by endorsement on its blanket insurance policies, provided that such blanket policies satisfy the requirements specified herein. Landlord shall not be required to prosecute any claim against any insurer or to contest any settlement proposed by any insurer, provided that Tenant may, at its cost and expense, prosecute any such claim or contest any such settlement, and in such event Tenant may bring any such prosecution or contest in the name of Landlord, Tenant, or both, and Landlord shall cooperate with Tenant and will join therein at Tenant’s written request upon receipt by Landlord of an indemnity from Tenant against all costs, liabilities, and expenses in connection with such cooperation, prosecution, or contest.
Bruce DeMartini, Thoreau Center for Sustainability
Thoreau Center’s requirements mimic Knight Nonprofit Center’s, but we ask for $2,000,000 for insurance coverage to include worker’s comp.
Eli Malinsky, Centre for Social Innovation
Our selection criteria is is quite different in tone and emphasis…attached…
Center for Social Innovation NYC Tenant Selection Criteria [Link]
Kim McNamer, Deschutes Children’s Foundation
Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s list of requirements is attached. It is a bit more detailed considering we do not charge rent. We request a proposal letter from interested nonprofits and then our Facilities and Program Committee reviews and proposes groups to the board for a vote.
Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s Tenant Selection Criteria
Shelly Hamilton, MarinSpace
Great replies so far. Just wanted to add in a few pragmatic items beyond the mission & collaboration criteria:

  • We ask for bank statements and last 990 to confirm financial ability to be a stable tenant
  • Tenant will need to have, or be able & willing to apply for (and receive within 3 years of occupancy) an Organizational Clearance Certificate (OCC) from the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) in order for us to claim the property tax deduction on their space (which is part of the reason we’re able to offer low rents). The process of getting an OCC# is ridiculously onerous and basically repeats the entire IRS process (submitting Bylaws, Articles of Inc., forms etc.) and the BOE has its own set of criteria as to what qualifies as an exempt use of a facility (which sometimes does not match the IRS qualifications – we’ve had nonprofits with many years of IRS standing be denied by the BOE! Go figure). We have to do A LOT of hand holding with new tenants to get them through this process.
  • Insurance minimum and additional insured certificates

From a similar Ask-NCN Discussion 1/14/2013:

Criteria for recruiting new tenants

Mary Jo Shircliffe, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has recently purchased a 28,800 sf. building in Louisville, Kentucky. The building will house Foundation offices and a conference facility. The Foundation is an endowed public charity that makes grants and other programmatic investments for health in Kentucky.We seek to identify organizations working for health in Kentucky to take up tenancy in the space…to collaborate and share in the use of common areas and the conference facility. We want organizations under one roof that are aligned with the Foundation’s mission and “play well with others”. Would anyone like to share their experience, criteria or policy on bringing in new tenants who best fit the goals of your center?
Judy Link, Kukui Children’s Center
The main issue is buy in and prevention.
Before we accepted anyone, I met with the ED and board president and went over the expectations.
For a year before we opened, we help planning meetings with all the tenant ED’s and got their input on policies.
The attached is part of the lease and was written collaboratively.I had been working here long enough that I didn’t consider ED’s that I thought would be “trouble” in fact withdrew one offer because of a “bad” attitude.
Before we opened we sponsored an off site day long facilitated retreat for everyone who would be working in the building.
After we opened, we have quarterly tenant pot lucks for everyone in the building, on a rotating basis. We also have quarterly tenant meetings with the ED’s with agency updates are reports on collaboration as part of the agenda.
You might want to look at our website Hope this helps.Attachment: Collaboration Expectations Kukui Center
Jonathan Spack, Third Sector New England
Excellent query, Mary Jo. At Third Sector New England we were faced with exactly the same issue when we opened our 110,000 sq. ft. NonProfit Center here in Boston in 2004. We also have a broad mission, focused on social change. And like your foundation, we have other programs besides the NonProfit Center. In an effort to be consistent in our decisions about tenants, we did two things:First, we created a diverse committee of board members and staff to vet potential tenants and to take up other policy issues relating to the Center. Second, we did our best to come up with a definition of social change to guide the committee members and ultimately the board of directors. It was important to us to be fairly strict about this because the only reason we bought and developed the NonProfit Center was to further our social justice mission. Our building is full now but in the first few years, even when we had quite a bit of vacant space, we said No to some sizable and very respectable potential tenants because they didn’t meet our social change criteria. It was scary but I’m glad we held firm. It hasn’t been a perfect system – we didn’t always have consensus on our committee – but at least it was a defensible system.Based on your message, it seems to me that if you try to base your tenant decisions on criteria as vague as “organizations … that are aligned with the Foundation’s mission and play well with others” you may run into problems because virtually every group that wants to be there will argue that they meet those standards. So I suggest you spend some time drilling down on those criteria with a goal of devising a more specific set of desired organizational characteristics that matches up as closely as possible with the kinds of groups you want to share the space and that you put in place a rational and transparent system for making those decisions. Good luck!
Debbie Walker, Jerry Forbes Center for Community Spirit
The Jerry Forbes Centre has a Tenant Selection committee which reports to our Centre Policy and Management Committee. It has taken us over 2 years to set this up as our Centre is themed on ‘volunteerism’ and sustainability (ability to pay). We needed to get it right. We find that meeting the Executive Director and a board member of tenant prospects helps during an interview to determine if they will fit the culture of the Centre even if it all looks good on paper.The tenant team uses the process above and based on our Tenant Policy (page 1 of the Application) we are able to say yes and no and final recommendations are sent to the Board of Directors. *(We are NOT even open yet but have made decisions and it is great to have specifics ready as saying ‘No’ can become political and must be done correctly.) We are also fortunate to have a lot of interest.Hope this helps, proceed to to see our online processAttachment: Tenant Selection Process
Attachment: Jerry Forbes Center Tenancy Application

Individual Memberships

From an Ask-NCN Discussion 7/15/15

Alison Hanold, Chicago Literacy Alliance
Hello all! We’re a non-profit shared workspace in Chicago focused specifically on literacy. We’ve received a number of requests for individual memberships from people whose personal work is relevant to our mission, but they are only working as an individual and not as a part of a broader non-profit. I’m curious if anyone out there has tackled this issue, and how you’ve dealt with it.Specifically, if you have created individual memberships, what is your pricing compared to non-profit memberships?
Pam Mauk, Together Center
I am sure there are shared space organizations that would have more to say, possibly positive, but as a one stop center focused on human services, we find that limiting tenants to 501(c)(3) organizations means that 1) someone is doing some vetting of them, such as the state, 2) someone is supervising their work, such as a Board of Directors, 3) they likely have appropriate insurance, and 4) there is some assurance that what they tell others about their credentials is likely to be true, and we can see mission and marketing materials. There are great volunteers and solo practitioners that would no doubt be an asset in many arenas, but this is our thinking when we consider having a volunteer provide a service on campus.
China Brotsky
Many individual co-working spaces offer individual as well as organizational space licenses. I’m not sure if that is what you’re referring to my the Impact Hub around the country has their pricing structure on their website

Managing Office Space for Nonprofit Organizations

Ted Dang, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
It was interesting to hear all the comments from various members of the Nonprofit Centers Network. I’d like to add a little different perspective having spent over 42 years in the commercial real estate business with experience in office leasing, development, non profit housing and community development.The underlying foundation of a successful center for non profit organizations is economic viability. Long term sustainability for a building owner requires income to exceed operating expenses and cost of funds. Excess income can provide the building ownership with the ability to expand operations, improve services, or reduce rent to existing tenants depending on the ownership’s mission.If the ownership is a non profit organization with additional revenue sources, they can be more lenient with sister agencies who rent their space. Flexible lease terms, greater patience with late payments, even program or operational improvement suggestions would be welcome from fellow non profits as everyone is working for the benefit of the greater community. Non profit tenants are usually committed to longer term occupancies knowing that they have a flexible and understanding landlord.The optimum rent charged to a non profit tenant may not be the highest rate established by the market. Certainly the rent should reflect rates available in alternative comparable spaces, but the unique funding sources for a non profit could be structured to benefit both landlord and tenant. For example, many non profits receive funding for operations that include a set budget for space. Their annual funding is designed to cover those costs and their funders (in many cases, different government agencies) have no problem continuing to fund these annual budgets as long as the programs meet their goals. However, if a non profit entity has already received substantial outside subsidies that allows for reduced rents to qualified tenants, should the non profit tenant pay less than what they have already budgeted?Depending on the individual circumstances, it may be possible to charge the non profit tenant the full budgeted market rent. The non profit landlord could credit any “surplus” towards the future in the event the tenant’s financial situation changes.Occupancy in non profit centers should not be limited to non profit tenants. Non profit organizations do a lot of business with for profit companies. Many of these companies pay market rent in other buildings. Non profit building owners should not hesitate to persuade these market rate tenants to move into their buildings if they want to continue other business relationships.Non profit owners should also consider tenanting their buildings with a special focus. The objective is to create a center that would attract organizations that provide different services but serve a similar constituency. A social service center catering to a special ethnic community, a health center offering conventional and holistic treatments, a youth center with organizations providing tutoring, job training, and/or recreation are all models that can stimulate symbiotic relationships.

Subdividing office space into smaller executive offices or even individual desk spaces has always been an option to attract smaller tenants in a soft market. The key to filling these spaces is to provide services that would add value for the tenant. Having a concierge, a fully furnished office, high speed internet, state of the art phone system, executive conference rooms, and the latest multi media equipment are all amenities that could be factored into rental rates as these spaces cater to a specialized tenant market.

There is no magic formula that can guarantee that a non profit center will be successful as there are so many variables in the process of development and management. It used to be said that the secret to a successful real estate project is “location, location,location”. Today, I would say it’s more likely to be “location, timing, and financing”. Focusing on these factors is key to providing the necessary leadership and guidance.

The Board of Directors plays the primary role in carrying out the mission. It is absolutely essential that the Board be comprised of community minded members who are sensitive to the community needs and are connected with the organization’s constituents. However, equally important is including business members who are familiar with the financial, legal, and operational aspects of the business world. Any gap in expertise should be filled by recruiting and retaining experts with the appropriate skills and experience. Frequently, the merging of a variety of community and business minds yield creative ideas that allow for amazing accomplishments.

Managing the Appearance of Bias

From Ask-NCN 3/10/17

Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
I am with the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona. This is a community foundation and gives grants to many different types of nonprofit. We are currently setting up a nonprofit center. Our question is how does a community foundation set up tenants without showing any bias? Any ideas on the specific criteria other community foundations have used to select tenants and nonprofit members (a collaborative work space) for their nonprofit organizations.
Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
Do you anticipate demand that exceeds available space and are you building out the tenant space to suit or utilizing existing space? We have an application process and like to promote a climate of collaboration. Selection criteria would include mission, financial strength, success in delivering outcomes, past collaboration projects, level of community support, space needs. Every tenant in our building is a grantee. They are a grantee in the difference in the rent we charge and market rate rent. The concept of charging below market rent is a win-win for both organizations and it helps build a group of organizations vested in the collaborative environment that we seek.
We are exploring ways to incentivize collaboration among tenants, so starting from scratch it is important to establish synergy and opportunity for natural collaboration by locating organizations near each other for efficiency. We have dedicated incubator spaces that are small offices with access to the shared space for the smaller and start up organizations.
Good luck on working out your procedure and process. As long as you define your process and follow it, you will succeed.

Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub

Here at the OpenGov Hub, we are one of the themed centers, which means the one fundamental requirement we have for membership is that organizations are generally doing work related to our theme of open government.

But over time as we’ve seen more demand we’ve also added a few questions to our online application, specifically which ask how the applicant would contribute to (not just take/benefit from) collaboration in the community. I think its important to set specific membership eligibility criteria up front that align with your mission and then just be consistent about following those to avoid any perceptions of bias.

Alan Ziter, The NTC Foundation
The NTC Foundation is responsible for the renovation and operation of the 26-building ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station in San Diego now home to 82 arts and culture organizations and artists. We have long had a tenant application process whereby the tenant completes a Program Plan for their use of space, and provides financial information to confirm they can carry out the terms of the lease. The application is reviewed by staff, then sent to our Board’s Program Committee. And all applications approved by the Program Committee then go to the board the next week for approval. It’s rare that any one is declined (though it has happened), but overall the process allows us to have an answer as to why one group was approved and another was not. (Could be programming, could be financial, could be it doesn’t conform to land use restrictions or our mission. Attached is a sample application. Hope this helps.


Online Resource Center Documents

The Common Roof Partner Meetings – Terms of Reference
Tramway Summary Report Recommendations include the execution of two MOUs as well as guidance on how best to staff and manage the space.
Community Building’s Executive Committee Bylaws


Topics Below

Tenant Council and Advisory Groups
Advisory for Facilities Committee
Shared Space and Tenant Council Examples

Tenant Council and Advisory Groups

Ask-NCN Conversation on 2/13/2014

Katie Edwards, NCN
I’ve been digging through our resource library, and I can’t seem to put my hands on any documents related to tenant advisory groups at the moment. I’m looking for resources from centers with formal or semi-formal groups of tenants that exist to give feedback to the overall owner/landlord.

Do you have a job description or a guiding document that details the roles and responsibility of this tenant group? Would you share it with us?

I’m interested in knowing more about:

  • What role does your tenant advisory group play? Are they a governing body like a nonprofit board? Do they have a say in setting rents or recruiting tenants? Or are their responsibilities more focused on building community and special events in the space? What are the limits of their power?
  • Does each tenant have a representative? Are only major tenant involved? Are the representatives the same from time to time?
  • How often does your tenant group meet?
  • Do you have term limits for representatives?
  • How do you set expectations with this group?

Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We are just forming our group and calling it a Leadership Committee. The only structure we have so far:

Monthly meetings, one representative (senior staff level) from each organization.
Purpose: Provide leadership to Center development through:

  • setting priorities on goals, projects, amenities to be implemented
  • establish and enforce a tenant selection process
  • provide input/leadership in developing special events for the Center
  • problem solve/establish priorities with the landlord (the landlord is a nonprofit partner and will attend the meetings when requested) – all property management issues are to be relayed by each tenant directly to the landlord and this meeting to be resolved to talk about greater issues, establish priorities, and discuss with the landlord
  • develop, implement, monitor steps to achieve community impact goals

They will not have a “legal” existence, but a leadership committee to help guide the development of the Center echo-system is important for buy-in and so our organization does not become the only voice.

We had our first meeting a week ago to share the development progress of the Center; establish a member agreement; and set the tone for a future leadership committee.

I’m looking forward to seeing what others do as we could use some structure and move from vision to action on this.

P.S. We officially open our doors on April 1st, 2014 as the Connecticut Nonprofit Center in Hartford Connecticut, a 86,000 square foot campus of two buildings! We will be developing our ecosystem of nonprofit members as for-profit leases expire and nonprofits replace them over the next five years. We open our doors with 9 nonprofits occupying 45% of the space and envision 20 – 30 nonprofits with 250 employees by 2018. Thanks to the efforts of the Nonprofit Center Network, both as consultants and to the network for your best practices, guidance, etc. We could NEVER have gotten to this stage without everyone’s support. Even though we haven’t met any of you personally, know that your exchange of ideas have been utilized fully during our development phase.

Glen Newby, The Common Roof
I am attaching the Terms of Reference for the monthly Partner meetings in our Common Roof facilities. Please feel free to share.

LINK: The Common Roof Partner Meetings – Terms of Reference

Jody Ensign, Third Street Center
In the two years of planning and construction, before the Center actually opened, we did have a Tenants’ Advisory Council to hear updates on the progress, set guidelines for building operations and to answer questions that the developers/architects had. They did advise on policies to be considered. However once the Center opened we began having monthly tenant meetings, opened to all tenant organizations. Tenant organizations usually assigned this task to either their ED or Office Manager. The first year, attendance was good, so many questions to answer and to learn how the building operated. We now, after 3 ½ years, only have quarterly meetings or as major issues arise. The tenants have two representatives on the Board of Directors. These two reps help coordinate the quarterly meetings and bring important issues to the Board’s attention. These representatives serve a three year term, as all other Board members.

The tenants are asked to bring issues to be discussed, problems which need to be addressed and then once or twice a year they do organize social gatherings. Tenants are encouraged make all decisions which affect them; give opinions on extra CAM expenses to be incurred, setting policies on scheduling common spaces, organizing “Friend Raisers” or fund raisers to benefit the whole building. We are now exploring necessary security measures.

Tenants have learned to realize that they need to participate in the meetings, as decisions will be made which affect them, such as the electrical consumption policy enacted last year, and they will be expected to abide by them. The Board of Directors of Third Street Center and I highly respect the opinions of the tenants so while the B of D has the ultimate authority, we usually defer to the opinions of the tenants when making decisions. The tenants greatly appreciate this respect and we want to make our tenants happy so they stay with us. This approach has created a positive “family” atmosphere where tenants are collaborating more on programs, events and freely offer assistance wherever needed. And when issues are to be decided I am always amazed that they are thinking of the collective group, not just their personal needs. This has taken awhile to accomplish and of course we still have differences, but they seem to work them out amicably.

Last year we began having an annual joint B of D/ Tenant meeting to discuss any issues and to coordinate the tenants’ vision with the TSC mission. This has helped a lot to diminish the feeling of “we” and “they”. Other than the tenant reps being elected to the board of Directors, we do not have anything official or in writing. The working relationship has just evolved as the building is maturing.

Megan Devenport, Denver Shared Spaces
We provide annual consulting grants to local shared spaces. Last year, one grantee was the Tramway Nonprofit Center that worked with the consultant to develop a more effective structure for managing the center, building relationships and collaborative opportunities between tenants, and formalizing the relationship of the tenant group to the landlord. The recommendations included the execution of two MOUs as well as guidance on how best to staff and manage the space. I’ve attached the final report for your reference. The MOUs are in the appendix along with the survey tools that were used to gather info and guide the process.

Link: Tramway Summary Report

Judy Lind, Kukui Children’s Center
Better late than never.
I did send you the amendment to our leases which is a Collaboration Agreement.
I’d like to add the following:
For a year before we opened, we met monthly with the ED’s of prospective tenant social services programs as a group. We got their input on the physical site, operations, rules, and management of the building although we employ a commercial management company. That was a very useful process as it insured we would have buy in when we opened.We called it our Tenant Advisory Group.
For the first year we met monthly, then bi-monthly (second year) and now quarterly since our 4th year. In our meetings each program provides an update, reports collaborations among programs, and has produced products such as our collaborative center brochure, newsletter, website etc. Each has brought important resources to the table and each contributes to the agenda. We problem solve, generate ideas for new initiatives such as collaborative board training, staff training and pot lucks.
To answer your questions:
1. They are not a governing board and have no say in the rents; they are tenants
2. They are advisory to our foundation which owns and operates the building but we almost always agree on what directions to take
3. The tenant representative is always the ED; because we set the date to everyone’s convenience it is rare that we don’t have 100% attendence
4.Our meetings are for 90 minutes quarterly and the same people attend; it is a management group.

Advisory for Facilities Committee

From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 2/15/17

Debbie Shoemaker, Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
Our organization is in the process of buying a building and developing a nonprofit center. We have found the location and almost through the purchasing phase and need to turn our sites toward the next phase of space design and development. We are currently starting up a Facilities Committee that will need members that have experience in helping the project manager during the development, design, and renovation process. An example would be a consulting general contractor willing to act as a consultant only and guide us through the construction process.

Alexandra Urbanowski, SVCreates
Our advisory committee includes several people in the real estate development and construction fields who volunteer and provide advice but are not paid consultants or formal contractors on the project. We have a developer, a civil engineer and others. Very helpful!

Judy Lind, Kukui Children’s Center
I think your next stage would be to identify potential tenant programs so they can indicate how much space they need and be involved in designing the interiors. That is what we did and it worked very well for us.
We had an architect who acted as our space designer and worked with each prospective tenant to customize their areas. For example, some will need waiting rooms, a staff kitchen/lounge, conference room etc. where others may not.

I also advise people taking more space than they immediately need so they don’t have to move out as they grow their programs.
You can go online to to see what our center looks like.

Pam Mauk, Together Center
Larger organizations in our area have staff members that lead facility development for their organizations. We have had tremendous help from high-level managers in our area at, for example, Microsoft and Group Health (now Kaiser Permanente). Their backgrounds are often in planning/urban development, construction and law. They are more the big picture people around process, decision-making, accountability and checks and balances. You might see who does the kind of work you are doing but at a major corporation, which may allot a certain time for community volunteer engagement.

Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
We used facility design task force that ended with build out and then a facilities committee of our board members after that.

The task force had a large GC, and 2 engineers, and architect, a leasing professional and a guy from the building department.

We established goals for the project design focused on:

  • Energy Conservation
  • Efficient flow from lobby to all office spaces
  • Highest density of gross leasable area
  • General “Built Environment”

The committee helped us with governance and policy goals and more input on organizations and community needs to target. We had great results in build out costs, but did not have enough influence on the built environment and needed to go back and “open up” some of our space for a more open and warm feel to the center.

Vincent Tilford, Luella Hannan Memorial Fund
If there isn’t a bank involved, then someone needs to manage the draw process and ensure that lien waivers are obtained before each payment. That person could be a committee member.

Tim O’Donnell, City of Edmonton
I would highly advise that you incorporate a person or people who have building operations experience, as they can provide input into how to design efficiently or how design will ultimately affect operation routines and the building’s financial bottom line. At the City of Edmonton, we have myself and another staff person who support shared spaces in the mutli-cultural and support to newcomer settlement realms. The non-profit partner groups we have invested in to operate these buildings/spaces are the experts in community needs and we provide the support/advice to the governing boards and their staff on operations, maintenance and programming strategies. We have heard that our support in this way has helped quite a bit, so maybe you can tap into municipal staff in your area in a similar way.


Shared Space and Tenant Council Examples

From Ask-NCN 2.21.18

Jessica McDonald, Greenbelt Land Trust
I am looking for examples of Tenant Council (or Advisory Council/Executive Council/etc.) guiding documents, such as a Charter or MOA. This would be for a Council that is formed separately from the Center’s board to guide governance/policy/tenant decisions within the Center. Any examples would be appreciated!

Katy Sheehan, Community Building
Attached is a copy of the by-laws for our executive committee. Just as a piece of (unsolicited) advice that is not reflected in this document, we have found that by not having a clear overall purpose or project, a lot of times this committee devolves into a complain-fest…”the pigeon poop is still on my window sill” or “the faucet in the 2nd floor bathroom is still loose” or “my office is too cold.” And while those issues are important, its also important to have a larger purpose that feels like they are contributing to our community in a meaningful way, otherwise no one comes.

In the past, they organized Earth Day celebrations and put on a Community Breakfast for homeless folks but those got co-opted by other organizations eventually. Right now they are our main way to get information out to our tenants fast and in person. So, to help revitalize the group, this year we are giving them a budget to do a project of their choice. We’re excited to see what they come up with and (if its good 😉 I’ll share it with the group.

Judy Lind, The Kukui CenterThe Kukui Center has a tenant management team comprised of all the Executive Directors of our programs.. We met monthly for a year before we opened and this attachment to the lease is one of the products. It has served us well as it sets up expectations and makes them clear.
The group met monthly for the first few years, then bi-monthly and now every 2-3 months since we opened in 2009 and more than half of the tenants are original. Meeting dates are set well in advance and are sacred. We usually get 100% attendence; rarely is there a need for a sub.
People are committed because we deal with substantive issues and everyone submits agenda items.

If you want to know more about how we operate you can go to our website at and see our short video.
Hope this helps.

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