Kat Kinkade at Twin Oaks Community in March 1984
|Born||December 6, 1930|
|Died||July 3, 2008(aged 77)|
Kathleen "Kat" Kinkade (December 6, 1930 – July 3, 2008) was one of the eight co-founders of Twin Oaks, an intentional community in Virginia originally inspired by the behaviorist utopia depicted in B.F. Skinner's book Walden Two. Kinkade was the only one of the original founders to remain a community member for most of the community's history. Her daughter, Josie, was also a member of Twin Oaks Community as a young adult.
A native of Seattle, Washington, Kinkade helped found Twin Oaks in 1967, when she was in her mid 30's, after a career as a "bored secretary" and a brief stint at a cooperative house in Washington, D.C. In the 1970s, Kinkade left Twin Oaks to move to Missouri to help found East Wind Community, an offshoot of Twin Oaks. She eventually returned to Twin Oaks, though East Wind continues to this day.
In 1993, Kinkade was one of the founders of Acorn Community, her third income-sharing intentional community. While Acorn is located only 7 miles from Twin Oaks, the founders were not interested in exactly duplicating Twin Oaks. Instead they chose several important differences including consensus decision making and face-to-face membership "clearnesses" (see Clearness committee).
Kinkade was also instrumental in founding the network of income-sharing egalitarian communities called The Federation of Egalitarian Communities or the FEC. Twin Oaks, East Wind, Acorn and 3 other communities belong to the FEC.
Kinkade became disillusioned with certain aspects of Twin Oaks, such as what she perceived as its rigid adherence to egalitarianism. She also found it difficult to live without air conditioning as she got older, which most of the community's members were unwilling to install. A Washington Post article on the community from 1998 available at the Twin Oaks website details her objections to the way that the community developed over time.
In 2007, while in her 70s, Kinkade returned to Twin Oaks. She was previously on an indefinite "personal affairs leave" from Twin Oaks, which gave her the option of returning to the community at any time. Kinkade was the only person in the history of Twin Oaks to receive an indefinite personal affairs leave - all other such leaves have come with a one-year expiration date, after which the former member must be voted on to rejoin.
Kinkade died of breast cancer complications on July 3, 2008, aged 77, shortly after Twin Oaks' 41st anniversary.
- A Walden Two Experiment; The First Five Years of Twin Oaks Community William Morrow & Co (February 1974) ISBN 0-688-05020-4
- Is It Utopia Yet?: An Insider's View of Twin Oaks Community in Its Twenty-Sixth Year Twin Oaks Publishing; 2nd edition (August 1994) ISBN 0-9640445-0-1
- Associated Press (July 17, 2008). Twin Oaks commune founder dies.
- Holley, Joe (July 16, 2008). Kathleen 'Kat' Kinkade, 77; Pioneer Started Va. Commune. Washington Post