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Compensation of Partners
While Pax Fauna exists to create a platform for mass-scale organizing, the core of our work is done by full-time partners who receive a living stipend. These partners comprise a close, collaborative research team working together to actualize Pax Fauna's mission of launching a new mass movement organization. Our living stipends are designed to strike a delicate balance.
We believe it is necessary to provide a just and secure living wage. At the same time, we have experienced numerous challenges that money creates in volunteer-driven social movements.
Pax Fauna’s team members provide ourselves with a modest living stipend pegged to MIT’s living wage calculator for Boulder, Colorado. That means it’s enough to comfortably get by almost anywhere in the U.S. with small luxuries. It is our hope that this approach can:
- minimize the gap between “professional” advocates and “volunteers,” which makes mass movement organizing impossible;
- decouple seniority from compensation (everyone is paid the same stipend) and reduce conflicts around money; and
- stay true to our grassroots origin and vision.
By accepting a living stipend, partners of Pax Fauna agree to commit themselves wholeheartedly to our work building a new social movement for animal freedom. Full-time partners work 35-40 hours a week, taking at least four weeks of paid vacation per year and traveling for quarterly in-person retreats. You can read more about these expectations here.
The purpose of Pax Fauna’s research fellowships is to enable work by individuals who would already be choosing to do precisely this work if money were no obstacle. Thus, our philosophy is needs-based: we seek to provide a secure living wage. Our vision of voluntary simplicity can be summed up by the following statements we want anybody depending on a research fellowship from Pax Fauna to be able to make.
- I don’t worry about money. I have enough to eat, pay rent (with housemates) in a place I like, have good health insurance, and save up a little.
- For larger expenses, like a new bike, a trip, or extensive car repairs, I do have to plan ahead and save.
- I usually eat at home, but I can afford an occasional meal out if I choose. I don’t frequently purchase new clothes, electronics, or furniture.
- I’m a penny-pincher when it comes to superfluous expenses, but I confidently invest in myself through things like books, courses, and enriching experiences.
- I would consider myself frugal and thrifty, but not extremely so. My quality of life is high and I don’t view a lack of money as holding me back in any significant way. I see voluntary simplicity as a choice, not a burden.
To achieve this, we have pegged the base amount for our research fellowships to MIT’s living wage calculator, and they will be updated annually to reflect MIT’s benchmark. We chose to pin this living wage to Boulder, CO (Pax Fauna’s home address and a relatively expensive location) for all fellowships to honor the ways individuals factor cost of living into where they choose to live. The amount for 2023 is the equivalent of a $42,341 annual living wage, dispersed in biweekly paychecks.
On top of the living wage stipend, we provide health care and retirement contributions.
Pax Fauna partners have the option to set up a SIMPLE IRA account. Pax Fauna will match any contributions to it up to 3% of the partner’s paycheck.
In some situations, partners have received permission to switch to hourly compensation when they are not consistently working full-time. The hourly rate (currently $25.41/hour) is meant to approximate the rate of partners on the standard salary. Hourly partners benefit from the same healthcare and retirement contributions.