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Jun 11
Featured Stories, Mandala Projects
Shambhala Vision, Forward Vision
Scorpion Seal Cabins (under construction)

Scorpion Seal cabin built for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in Kalapa Valley

By Lisa Johnston

At the Sakyong Foundation we delight in matching a donor’s passion with the aspirations of the community to make a difference in our Shambhala world and beyond. As a community, we pulled together to get Shambhala out of central operating debt. We did it again the following year, pulling together to strengthen our local Shambhala centres and groups by increasing membership dues by $34,000 a month. Now the Sakyong has requested The Sakyong Foundation to collaborate with Shambhala once again, spearheading a third challenge campaign to support an initial group of priorities that will contribute towards making our mutual Shambhala Vision manifest.

We were still in the midst of closing out our last matching campaign, gleefully stuffing grant checks and thank you posters into mailing tubes to send to the 94 Shambhala Centres and Groups that participated, when we started planning for the next major campaign that will impact our worldwide mandala: the Shambhala Vision campaign. This campaign will be an annual event, intended to fan the flames that will magnetize resources on a greater scale, over time bringing sustainability, richness and growth to every corner of the global Shambhala world.

In 2009, the Shambhala Vision campaign will consist of a $300,000 matching campaign allocated among four projects. The Sakyong made the following series of short video messages to share his inspiration with us regarding the highest priorities in this year’s Shambhala Vision campaign.

Priorities for Shambhala Vision Campaign:
The Sakyong made the following comments to share his inspiration regarding these projects which we are funding this year through the Shambhala Vision campaign.

Video: The Sakyong on the importance of the Rigden Lineage Thangka
Video: The Scorpion Seal Retreat Cabins
Video: Establishing the Kalapa Centre
Video: Shambhala Mountain Center: Making Peace Possible

Watch a related video on the The Making of the Rigden Lineage Thangka.

The vision of Shambhala is vast. May we never find ourselves in the position of having exhausted all that we aspire to accomplish as a community. Having worked closely with centres and groups this past year, I am joyfully aware of the many ambitious projects brewing all over our mandala. These include on-going development at all our practice and retreat centres, as well as major projects in large cites like New York, Paris and San Francisco. It also includes important projects such as Shambhala Archives, Konchok Foundation, and the Nalanda Translation Committee, and expansion at local centres in smaller towns like Burlington, Durham, and the South Shore of Nova Scotia. They include plans to support the growth of Shambhala in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

So here we go! If you are attending a program with the Sakyong this summer, that would be the best time to make your offering. To learn more about the Shambhala Vision campaign or to make an online donation, please visit our website at: http://www.sakyongfoundation.org/shambhala-vision-campaign/

Related Articles:

Interview with Steve Baker on the new Kalapa Centre
Living Peace Message from John Barbieri

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3 responses to “ Shambhala Vision, Forward Vision ”
  1. Lisa Johnston
    Aug 10, 2009

    Dear Bill,

    Thank you for the opportunity to clarify The Foundation’s purpose and vision. Below are responses to your questions, as prepared by the Foundation staff, (Executive Director Jeff Waltcher, Director of Operations Jane Vosper, and myself).

    1) The Sakyong Foundation is a public charity and has its own status as a 501 (c)(3). It was formed separately so that it could perform the function of supporting the Sakyong’s global projects without being identified as an arm of a religious organization (the formal organizational status of Shambhala). In addition, the Foundation’s role is a neutral one. Our separate status allows us to better play a supportive role in the development of Shambhala’s many diverse projects, without being tied to a particular operating budget or capital project.
    Information about our board members and staff is available at sakyongfoundation.org

    2) Our annual finances, along with those of all public charities, are available at guidestar.org as part of our annual 990 filing with the IRS. We plan to publish annual reports – including financial results – in the future; at this early stage of our development, we are focusing on creating a web site and other basic communications in support of our mission.

    3) Many gifts that come to the Sakyong Foundation are in the form of ‘donor-advised’ or directed gifts that ultimately benefit another non-profit organization. Like all public foundations, TSF records donations received as income. All grants given by the Foundation are also properly recognized as income by the recipient of the grant. Grants made by the Foundation are also recorded as expenses on our financial statements – so there is no “double counting” as implied above.

    4) All of the matching gifts made by The Sakyong Foundation up to this time have been matched by funds raised by the campaigns they were given to.

    5) The Foundation and Shambhala Development staff worked directly with the leadership of the 94 Shambhala centers and groups from North and South America who participated in the campaign to increase membership and giving at the local level. This campaign led directly to the monthly increase specified in the article. In addition, it inspired individual donors at sixteen centers to provide $62,405 in additional matching funds. This campaign was based on trying to use the most positive intention to generate benefit throughout the mandala of Shambhala. It was separate from any historical policies, mandates or other campaigns at either the local or international level. For feedback from centers that benefited from this effort, please visit our web page reporting on the campaign. http://www.sakyongfoundation.org/projects/shambala-community/shambhala-centers-and-groups/

  2. Bill Karelis
    Jun 30, 2009

    Lisa, I admired your work at SMC over the last years, and I trust your tenure at the Sakyong’s Foundation will be an uplifting one for all concerned. The tone of this article, for example, is a breath of fresh air.

    I would like to request the following clarifications regarding the Sakyong’s Foundation:

    1) Why was it formed, as a separate financial entity from Shambhala International? Or is it under the Shambhala International umbrella? If it is separate, please identify the principals, Board members and officers and summarize the relationship between the Sakyong’s Foundation and Shambhala International.

    2) Please publish the finances of the Foundation annually, with transparency and understandability as the priorities. It would be helpful if the operating expenses were clearly identified. I believe this action would be effective in earning people’s trust. Also, financial transparency has been mandated by the Sakyong’s Council.

    3) Please identify which donations are in essence “pass-through,” in the sense that the donors were asked to give to the Sakyong’s Foundation as a broker non-profit, when the ultimate destination of the donation was known at the time of giving. The reason I ask this is that I have noticed that some donations are claimed both by the Sakyong’s Foundation and by the recipient entity–for example, the $250,000 donation to the Shambhala International central office for operating expenses has been claimed by both. This gives the impression that twice the amount was given than the sum actually donated. In particular, it makes it seem that the Sakyong’s Foundation is raising fresh money, when in fact the money was already raised.

    4) The “matching donation” theme, which is being so widely used in Shambhala International, appears not to be matching in the sense that the donor “matches” other donations, but rather there appear to be “leadership” donations in the sense that the donor is giving the money regardless of follow-up donations. Is this true in some or all cases? If it is, you might wish to correct the language.

    5) How is the Sakyong’s Foundation connected with increases in dues income (as implied above)? It seems that increases would be attributable to the dues campaigns–both internationally, emanating from the central office, for instance, Richard Reoch’s tour of the Shambhala Centers (I believe about a year-and-a-half ago), which, according to some Center Directors, was closely related to the central office need for transfer payments (and thus would have driven dues campaigns). In addition, whatever increases in dues income may have occurred are likely to be related to dues collection policies mandated from central and enacted on the local level in 2006. (It should be noted that these dues campaigns also resulted in removing hundreds of members from the membership lists for non-payment. So, in this case, there has been a human cost, and a negative impact on the unity of the sangha, owing to more forceful methods of dues collection.) Also, is a breakout of the $34,000 monthly increase in dues income available anywhere for review? What time period does it cover, to begin with?

    Please feel free to correct any misimpression I may have gotten from the Shambhala media with a fuller and more informed presentation of the background realities. The Sakyong’s Foundation’s website might be a good place to provide information. Since your article has appeared in the Times, perhaps it should be noted here as well.

    Thank you for your consideration of this request for disclosure.

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  1. Jul 7, 2009 : The Net of Speech : Radio Free Shambhala

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