The Experimental Station is a not-for-profit corporation. Like all non-profits, the Experimental Station depends at least in part on revenues generated from grants and individual donations to cover its expenses. While generating grant and donor revenues is an often-necessary and desirable privilege, we do not see it as a sustainable, long-term strategy. The Experimental Station's goal, over the next several years, is to become operationally self-sustainable. By building our revenue base through long-term rental to building occupants & projects and through short-term & event rentals of our spaces, we seek to cover our operating and overhead expenses.
Like all corporations, whether for-profit or non-profit, the Experimental Station must create and apply budgets, follow standard accounting practices, pay its bills, bring in revenue to pay them, etc. Despite such similarities, the Experimental Station consciously embraces a business philosophy that is, in significant ways, at odds with standard business philosophies. Underlying the Experimental Station's business practice is the ecological principle of mutualism. Mutualism, like competition and parasitism, is a form of symbiosis ("living together").
We have all long been told that competition brings out the best in us. Indeed, Darwin rooted his evolutionary theory in the notion of competition among species; those that survive are those best able to adapt and to beat out competitors for light and nourishment. The result, we are told, is a more robust plant, animal and, in the capitalist world, business.
Like competition, the goal of which is to leave one man standing, parasitism implies a relationship between two parties that is, ultimately, harmful to one of them. This can be translated into business terms as the "I'm going to exploit all of the resources that you offer as cheaply as I can" mentality. Parasitism is a sustainable strategy neither for the host, nor for the parasite; after killing off its host, the parasite must then seek out another. Mutualism, unlike competition and parasitism, is a symbiotic relationship that works to the long-term benefit of both parties. In a mutual relationship, each party contributes to the well-being of the other, providing one another nourishment, protection, or an array of other services and resources.
Embracing mutualism as our manner of doing business, the Experimental Station seeks occupants, participants, and collaborators that recognize the benefit of creating a mutually supportive environment. As in a natural ecosystem, wherein mutualism between species produces long-term positive effects, we believe that mutualism between the Experimental Station, occupants, projects, and participants will give rise to long-term stability for all and a greater ability to support a broad variety of initiatives.