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Feb 15
Mandala Projects
Transforming the Landscape of Generosity
Author Lodro Rinzler (suit) with the San Antonio, Texas sangha after a talk on money and generosity

Author Lodro Rinzler (suit) with the San Antonio, Texas sangha after a talk on money and generosity

Meet the Dana Group – a team of Shambhalians with fund-raising and financial experience who aspire to invigorate giving in our community. In our first meeting on May 31st, 2007, we surprised ourselves by the scope of the vision for the mandala.

The Dana Group was initially charged with a short-term goal of raising $100,000 for Shambhala Mandala Services in order to eliminate any potential operating shortfall in 2007. In addition, we were tasked with the long-term goal of eliminating the overall debt of $550,000. However, the group immediately began discussing a much larger plan, inquiring into how we could begin to transform the entire culture of generosity and giving within the community.

One of our first steps was to take stock of why people do or do not currently give at a local and international level. We conducted a survey in which six hundred sangha members participated. To view the findings of this survey click here. We also inaugurated a regular newsletter and designed a website to keep the sangha informed of our activity.

Shortly after our initial meetings, the Dana Group began guiding the first matching grant campaign offered through The Sakyong Foundation . This campaign, alongside a generous bequest, has eliminated all of Shambhala’s operating debt. The $250,000 pledge from The Sakyong Foundation inspired an increase of over $14,000 in new monthly contributions and $150,000 in one-time gifts from people all over our mandala. This means that Shambhala’s Mandala Services is completely free of operating debt and able to provide increased services to the sangha at large. One of these new services has been to appoint a Development Coordinator.

With a full-time paid Development Coordinator, the work of the Dana Group kicked into high gear and the group has been able to guide fund-raising campaigns for the Sakyong Wangmo empowerment, the Rinchen Terdzo teachings, Shambhala’s year-end appeal, and the recent matching grant campaign that aided 94 Shambhala Centers throughout the world in moving towards fiscal stability. The Development Coordinator also visited a dozen Shambhala Centers throughout North America to lead fund-raising trainings and enter into dialogue with local communities on our personal relationships with money and giving.

Doria Cross explaining San Antonio's credit card system

Doria Cross explaining San Antonio's credit card system to the author.

The Dana Group continues to hold true to its mission: We aim to stimulate creative thinking about how best to strengthen the funding of the Shambhala mandala as a whole in order to support further the development of enlightened society.

In order to fulfill this mission, we hold monthly conference calls and occasional face-to-face meetings to discuss fund-raising campaigns, planned giving, teachings on generosity, and methods to promote generosity within the sangha. We hope to continue a dialogue with the sangha, knowing that the first step in generosity is open communication.

For more information on the Dana Group, check out their latest newsletter here.

To contact the Dana Group click here. (mailto:[email protected]).

To view teachings on generosity click here

To meet other members of the Dana Group click here

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