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Apr 20
Mandala Projects
Overwhelming Generosity in the Midst of Crisis
Photo by Corey Kohn

Photo by Corey Kohn

After six months of what seemed like constant fund-raising I sat down one morning in February to draft up a report. I was trying to make sense of what had been accomplished. I was nervous. We had just run four major fund-raising campaigns:

  • The matching grant offered by The Sakyong Foundation that benefited 94 Shambhala Centres and Groups worldwide
  • Shambhala’s year end campaign
  • A new annual campaign that reached out to the vajra sangha inviting sponsorship of vajrayana projects such as the Rigden Ngondro thangka and Scorpion Seal retreats and
  • The Rinchen Terdzo campaign which allowed the transfer of the entire 111 volumes of this terma to be transmitted to the Sakyong by His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche

I was exhausted. I got the sense that most donors were exhausted. And now I had to sit down and add up the numbers to see how badly we had fallen short of our expectations. We had to have fallen short; most of our projections for what we had hoped to raise were laid out before the economic collapse. Plus we had run more campaigns in a six month period then we ever normally would run in such a period of time which must lead to the available money being diffused throughout the various projects.

Imagine my surprise when I added up the totals for all of the campaigns and we surpassed our overall projections. Yes, the year end and vajrayana campaigns fell a little short but the local centre and Rinchen Terdzo campaigns far exceeded our imagination. When I looked at the bottom line for all these campaigns combined we came out $23,000 ahead in one-time donations and $9000 a month in recurring contributions!

I checked the math. I rechecked it. After all the stories I had been hearing about Shambhalians fearing for their jobs, the many letters of apology or admonishment saying that this simply was not the time to be fund-raising, I could not believe that we had surpassed our overall goals. But we did.

I have been serving as Shambhala’s development officer for a year now and if there is one lesson I have learned it is that Shambhala operates on pure magic. How else could you explain a community banding together in the face of the worst economic calamity we have ever experienced to show such overwhelming generosity?

Even though we are in the midst of a financial crisis Shambhalians have continued to give. Not only that but we are giving more generously then ever before: close to a half million dollars was raised in six months time plus $35,000 in recurring donations throughout the mandala, more then has ever been raised during this time period.

If you had asked me a little over a year ago my outlook on fund-raising I would have pointed out that Shambhala had been in debt for over twenty-five years and that generosity and money were generally viewed as taboo topics. My outlook was not optimistic to say the least.

Today we face a whole new world. Discussions and teachings on money are rampant throughout the community. Shambhala is now free of central operating debt and is in a position to aide local centres through the matching grant campaign that was run this fall. This campaign brought so many centres and groups to fiscal stability. The flow of generosity in our community has transformed entirely within the year and it appears it is only continuing to radiate throughout Shambhala, allowing the Great Eastern Sun to shine in the face of this dark age crisis.

More updates on the status of Shambhala’s finances and fund-raising can be found in the notes of the Sakyong’s Council and by visiting the Dana Group’s website.

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1 response to “ Overwhelming Generosity in the Midst of Crisis ”
  1. This is awesome.

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