Guidelines & FAQ

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Booking Procedures

  • Submit an event request form through our website.
  • Receive confirmation email from the Democracy Center Coordinator.
  • Complete a one time, 15 minute walkthrough and receive a doorcode from the Democracy Center Coordinator (door codes reset January 1 annually).
  • Hold your event! Clean up, lock up, and donate (within your means) to keep our doors open. 

Further Details

  • Recurring event bookings are confirmed from:
    • January 1 - June 30 and July 1 - December 31. E.g., if you schedule a weekly meeting starting in March, the booking is confirmed until June 30.
    • Recurring bookings will be reconfirmed at the end of May and November
  • One-off bookings are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Bookings are taken no more than 6 months in advance, except for extraordinary, infrequent/one time events. A point person for every event or event series is required to attend a walkthrough in order to confirm the booking and receive a door code. Door codes are reset on January 1 annually.
  • All events must be cancelled with 24 hours notice OR by Friday at 4 pm for weekend events. Failure to do so will be taken into account for future bookings.
    • No call/no show or frequent cancellations will be taken into consideration when confirming future bookings, at the discretion of the Democracy Center Coordinator.
  • Recurring events, especially more frequent events, should contribute to the community by being flexible with their bookings and communicating proactively with other Meetinghouse Program organizers
  • The Meetinghouse Program is supported significantly by users like you who make donations on  a sliding scale basis. No one is turned away due to inability to make a donation. The suggested rates, per event, are as follows:
    • Malala Yousafzai Library (max 8-10 people): $10-$20
    • Cesar Chavez Room (max 12 people): $10-$30
    • Rosa Parks room (max 30 people): $30-$75
    • Nelson Mandela room (max 60 people): $50-$100
    • Rosa Parks + Cesar Chavez: $40-$75
    • Nelson Mandela + Rosa Parks: $75-$150
    • Entire First Floor (max 150 people): $100-$200
  • Groups with funding/budgets are encouraged to donate more to support the work of un(der)funded groups that also use the DC.
  • There are many ways to contribute to the DC instead of or in addition to monetary donations:
    • Daily, weekly, and seasonal cleaning projects
    • Donations of tea, coffee, art supplies, office supplies, etc.
    • Offering skills trainings to other groups and resident organizations at the DC
    • Intentionally connecting with other groups using the space and groups who could use the space (networking & publicity)
    • And more!

    Building Rules

    • Share door codes only with other event organizers.
    • All groups should include the fact the DC is not wheelchair accessible on all event publicity (emails, flyers, social media, eventbrite, etc.)
    • Leave the space as clean as, or cleaner, than you found it.
    • Sweep the floor, wash dishes, stack chairs, and put away tables after your event.
    • Close and lock windows and draw the blinds at the end of your event.
    • Put trash, compost, and recycling in the appropriate bins in the kitchen. If the recycling or trash is full, empty the bin into the dumpsters provided outside.
    • Do not leave any food behind after your event.
    • No alcohol or smoking in the building or on the grounds.
    • Do not use tacks on the walls.
    • Return furniture to its original position at the end of your event. When possible, lift and carry furniture rather than dragging it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my organization use the Democracy Center?

  • The most important factor that we consider when reviewing an application for space is how a group is in line with our mission. We further non-profit, charitable, educational, and cultural activities.

What is the suggested donation per event

    • Malala Yousafzai Library (max 8-10 people): $10-$20
    • Cesar Chavez Room (max 12 people): $10-$30
    • Rosa Parks room (max 30 people): $30-$75
    • Nelson Mandela room (max 60 people): $50-$100
    • Rosa Parks + Cesar Chavez: $40-$75
    • Nelson Mandela + Rosa Parks: $75-$150
    • Entire First Floor (max 150 people): $100-$200

A rule of thumb for groups without budgets is to ask each participant to bring $1 for the space. We do not want cost to be a barrier to any event, and appreciate all donations.

Slide donation envelopes under the office door. Please include this information on the front:

  • Event, date, amount of donation; Checks to: Foundation for Civic Leadership, Inc.

  • We now have an online payment option, our PayPal link is:

Who’s on staff? When are they available?

  • There is only one Democracy Center staff person, the Coordinator. You can reach them at or 617 492 8855.

What equipment does the DC have?

  • 2 projectors with HDMI, Mac and VGA hook up (stored in AV closet)

  • Pull down projector screen and portable projector screen (stored in AV closet)

  • Around 70 folding chairs

  • 10 folding tables, 1 large conference table; the brown folding tables are very heavy and require 2 people to move

  • 2 whiteboard easels

  • 3 drip coffee pots, 1 hot water kettle, 1 microwave, 1 micro-fridge

  • 1 copier/scanner/printer (requires deposit to use)

Can my organization store things at the DC?

  • We have very limited storage available, if your group wants to store equipment here you will need to sign a storage contract. We accept no liability for lost, broken, damaged, stolen, etc. items.

Is the building wheelchair accessible? (current as of 3/2/18)

  • Partially! The wheelchair ramp is on the DeWolfe St side of the building and opens into the Mandela room. We have an equivalent lock system, doors, and internal ramp system installed and working.

  • The Mandela, Parks, and Chavez rooms and foyer are most easily accessed by wheelchair users through the French doors between rooms. All events must keep a clear route through their rooms at all times. The Library door is 30” wide.

  • The bathroom is not wheelchair accessible. The internal hallways vary between 27” to 31” wide. The bathroom door is 30” wide and there is not sufficient clearance to turn around for many users. As of this writing, there are no grabrails or other aids. We are working on plans for improvement and will keep the community updated.

  • In the meantime, our neighbors at Daedalus welcome wheelchair users at our events to use their accessible bathroom. This can be accessed by exiting the wheelchair ramp, turning left onto Bow St, and then left into the next building past the DC. The accessible bathroom will be on your right. We recognize this option is not sufficient or in line with our values.

  • IMPORTANT: all event organizers and groups must include accessibility information on all publicity for their event, both for private and public events.

    • For flyers, “The Democracy Center is partially wheelchair accessible, no accessible bathroom on site. Contact or 617 492 8855 as needed.”

    • For event pages, emails, etc: “The Democracy Center is partially wheelchair accessible, no accessible bathroom on site. The Mandela, Parks, and Chavez rooms are accessible, but the Library is not. Wheelchair users are welcome to use the accessible restroom at Daedalus while we plan our improvements for bathroom accessibility. To reach that bathroom, exit the ramp and turn left on Bow St, at the next building (Daedalus) use their accessible entrance and their restroom will be on the right. More information at: Contact or 617 492 8855 as needed”

Are animals allowed in the building?

  • By law, any service animal is allowed in the building. We also understand that people have comfort/support animals as companions that aren’t “certified”. We respect and encourage people to bring their companions to support them.

  • We also ask that such decisions balance the potential for people who are allergic to dogs or who are afraid of dogs to also be in the space.

  • Event guests should communicate directly with the event organizer about how animals in the space may or may not impact planned activities.

Can my event serve alcohol?

  • No. We are an all ages, sober venue all of the time. If your group consistently violates this rule, we may decide to stop hosting your group altogether.

Can we bring food?

  • Yes, you can bring food. But you MUST clean up after yourselves, including washing all of your dishes and throwing out all of the trash in the building, and moving food trash to the outdoor trash space. Please clean up completely and do not leave any food or food waste at the Center.

  • Alcohol is not allowed at the Center. This is an all-ages venue, all the time. Please make sure your event participants are aware of this policy as well.

Is there wifi?

  • Yes, there is publicly accessible wifi. Login information is posted on the wall in each meeting room.

Is there parking available?

  • There is metered parking in the front of the building on Mount Auburn Street, as well as behind the building on Bow Street. The parking meters take quarters, and there is now a website/app you can use: Plan to park in a garage, just in case - parking in and around the square is unpredictable at best. Check out this site for more parking information.

  • The #1 bus stops just outside the Democracy Center, Harvard Square Station on the Red Line is a 5 minute walk away, serviced by many bus routes. Major ones include: 1, 66, 86, and 77.

Where should smokers smoke?

  • The best place is the sidewalk in front of the building, closer to DeWolfe St.

  • Due to our insurance policy, smoking is not allowed on our property or in the building. This includes the side yard, front steps, and alley way.

  • In the interest of maintaining a good relationship with Daedalus (who are graciously allowing wheelchair users from our events to use their accessible bathroom), please refrain from smoking outside their restaurant.

Other Resources

  • Do you need other kinds of support for your organizing or events?
  • On a case by case basis, we can also support organizations that closely align with our mission through:
    • lending equipment, printing, refreshments for planning meetings, outreach and recruitment
    • for more information, email or call 617-492-8855; be prepared with the name of your organization, a brief summary of what you are planning, and what additional supports you already have in mind