Pax Fauna Handbook

Living Stipends

updated 2021.12
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.
2022 Q3-4 Fellowship grants: $19,362 for 6 months ($38,724 per year)
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 32-35 hours a week, taking at least four weeks of paid vacation per year and travelling for quarterly in-person retreats. You can read more about these expectations here or on the stipend agreement.

Approval Considerations

Pax Fauna operates as a highly collaborative yet autonomous team. Partners work with the Mission Circle to design projects that match their own interests and skills with the needs of the organization. We are expected to seek and receive feedback, but ultimately have a great deal of independence in the work we deliver and the conclusions we reach.
Ultimately, the Mission Circle considers potential partners based on two criteria:
  1. 1.
    Has the applicant demonstrated the necessary competencies through their past work?
  2. 2.
    Does the applicant possess the necessary soft skills to grow into a long-term role on our self-managing research team, and eventually, a leadership role in a grassroots mass movement?
Partners offered a living stipend are reviewed after their first three months, then again every six months.

Application Process

  1. 1.
    Review this policy and the role description(s) advertised on our website.
  2. 2.
    Email Aidan or apply online, letting us know how you heard about the role and why you are interested. Attach your resume if you have one.
  3. 3.
    Once you have applied, you can expect at least two interviews as well as a written assignment designed to take less than 3 hours.
  4. 4.
    For most candidates (depending on the nature of the role you would fill), if we believe it might be a good match, you will be invited to work with us to create a guest blog post on our website. This gives both you and us a chance to try working together.

Grant Amount (Voluntary Simplicity)

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 2022 is the equivalent of a $38,724 annual living wage, typically dispersed in 3- or 6-month fellowship grants.

Supplemented Fellowships

Supplemented grants are a limited way Pax Fauna recognizes the different needs that prospective team members may have, in an effort to make these fellowships more accessible. The following list comprises categories of expenses that make grantees eligible for supplemented fellowships based on need.
  • Minimum payments on medical or student debt
  • Dependents (human and nonhuman)
  • Unavailability of public benefits due to immigration status (measured by what benefits would be available in your area to a citizen)
Applicants will have an opportunity to provide documentation of their expenses in these three categories. Then the annual base rate used to calculate their fellowship amount will be increased by 60% of the relevant annual costs, up to a maximum of a 15% total increase in the amount of the fellowship. In other words, Pax Fauna will displace 60% of the costs listed above, up to a maximum of an additional 15% of the base rate of the fellowship.