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Providing Funds for Six Projects

Trust Meeting Members

Trust Meeting Members

Shambhala Trust Provides Funds for Six Projects at Spring 2014 Meeting

article by Ginny Evans and Greg Lubkin, Shambhala Trust Co-Chairs

On the weekend of May 16, 2014, the Shambhala Trust held its semi-annual meeting in New York City. For those not familiar with the Trust, it is a group of individuals from the Shambhala community who combine an inspired vision of awakened society with substantial experience of working in practical ways with the world. They have adopted the following mission statement:

The Shambhala Trust is an expression of enlightened society. We are a community that explores and cultivates the heartfelt practice of generosity. Our intention is to identify, mentor, and fund innovative and strategic projects that advance the Shambhala vision of awakened society.

Chicago Shambhala Peace Warriors  12-20-2013

Chicago Shambhala Peace Warriors 12-20-2013

The Trust does not manage an ongoing body of funds but meets twice a year to raise money for projects being considered. Formal applications from those seeking funds explain what is being proposed and how much is being requested. Members of the Trust individually decide whether and how much they want to allocate to a specific project. Members make various levels of financial and energetic commitment to the Trust, and individuals’ actual contributions are not revealed publicly. The Trust has recently experienced an upsurge in fresh energy and membership, in part because of a policy change that makes it easier for community members with a sense of inspiration and generosity to participate.

In the past, the Trust has provided funding for major projects central to the Shambhala mandala, such as the four land centers, the Great Stupa, the Way of Shambhala curriculum, and the expansion of Shambhala teachings into South America and New Zealand. More recently, the focus has changed to emphasize projects that “turn the flower outwards,” benefiting the wider world and expanding the vision of awakened society. Nevertheless, the Trust still considers projects within the mandala that are not otherwise addressed by the Shambhala organization’s budgeting and fund-raising.

Veterans PTSD  group in Penitentiary

Veterans PTSD group in Penitentiary

At any given meeting, the Trust generally looks at four to seven applications. Not all projects are approved for funding; in some cases, the Trust views a proposal as appropriate but in need of further development. In all cases, the Trust regards its mentoring function as an important part of its value, helping applicants sharpen proposals and strengthen implementation.

At the spring 2014 meeting, the Trust funded 99 percent of the amounts requested for projects and administrative needs, including the following:

Reciprocity Homeless Youth

Reciprocity Homeless Youth

Reciprocity Foundation: Taz Tagore’s visionary work with New York City homeless youth will take itself to the streets with a fall or winter “Week of Mindfulness,” moving the offering of mindfulness instruction to vulnerable youth in schools and homeless centers throughout the city during a single week’s campaign. $10,000 was requested and raised.

Veterans Peace of Mind (a “division” of Ratna Peace Foundation): Margot Neuman’s long-standing work with prison inmates will focus in this case specifically on incarcerated veterans in Florida (Margot’s home state, and where Sergeant Paul Kendel resides) and Colorado. The funds will allow her to set up meditation groups in eight prisons. $6,127 was requested and raised.

Shambhala Media: The request was for funds to provide storage capacity to complete the digitization of the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings, and for starting the digitization of some teachings by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. This project was supported by strong letters from the Sakyong Ladrang and the Shambhala Archives, who felt the storage was urgently needed. $6,535 was requested and raised.

Group Learning Mindfulness in Prison

Group Learning Mindfulness in Prison

Shambhala Archives: The request was for funds to allow the archiving and cataloguing of Shibata Sensei’s teachings over the last ten years, the period during which there was a deliberate attempt to record them. The work will be done in Boulder but will ultimately reside in the Archives. $3,964 was requested and raised.

Prajna at Shambhala Mountain Center: The request was for funds to restore the land and create a space of contemplation on the site of the Vidyadhara’s residence at SMC, which was destroyed by fire some years ago. The project will call on volunteer labor from members of the Shambhala community in the Front Range area of Colorado. $5,115 was requested and raised.

Shambhala Working Group on Aging: This proposal came to the Trust as a project in process. Due to the scope of the topic, it was thought that some discussion could be helpful regarding the best way to proceed. The meeting decided to accept a revised version of Phase 1 of the proposal, in which Shambhala centers would be surveyed as to what aging issues they are facing and what, if any, strategies they have in place. $2,250 was requested and $1,925 was raised – all but $425.

The Shambhala Trust’s Fall 2014 meeting will take place at the Chicago Shambhala Center, where the Trust recently provided funds for the “Creating Safe Spaces” project, benefiting at-risk youth.

The Trust welcomes inquiries from community members who are interested in either supporting worthy projects or submitting proposals. For more information on the Trust, its members, and the projects it has funded, visit the website at www.shambhalatrust.org.

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