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Dec 04
Mandala Projects
Funding Anti-Violence

No GunsShambhala Trust Funds More Chicago Anti-Violence Work
– and Five Other Projects
Fall 2014 Meeting

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

The Shambhala Trust held its Fall 2014 meeting in a new location – Chicago, where the Trust had recently begun funding “Cure Violence” efforts inspired by the Sakyong’s meetings with the members of the CeaseFire organization as part of the 2013 Imagining Peace conference.

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.

Some MembersThe Trust does not manage an ongoing body of funds but meets twice a year to raise money for projects being considered. Formal applications for those projects explain what is being proposed and how much is being requested. Trust members decide individually whether and how much they want to allocate to a given project. At any given meeting, the Trust generally looks at four to seven applications. Not all projects are approved for funding; sometimes the Trust views a proposal as deserving but in need of further development. In general, the Trust regards its mentoring function as an important part of its value, helping applicants sharpen proposals and strengthen implementation.

The Trust has recently experienced an upsurge in fresh energy and membership, in part because of policy changes making it easier for Shambhalians with a sense of inspiration and generosity to participate. Members make various levels of financial and energetic commitment to the Trust, and individuals’ specific contributions are not revealed publicly.

The Trust has provided funding in the past for major projects central to the Shambhala mandala, including the four land centers, the Great Stupa, the Way of Shambhala curriculum, and expansion into South America and New Zealand. The focus has now changed to emphasize projects that “turn the flower outwards,” benefiting the wider world and expanding the vision of awakened society. However, the Trust still considers projects within the mandala that Shambhala’s budgeting and fund-raising do not otherwise address.

As of this writing, the Trust has funded some 80 percent of the amounts requested for projects and administrative needs at the Fall 2014 meeting, with some pledges still to be made. The six projects funded were:

Shambhala Peace Warriors 12-20-2013Creating Safe Spaces II: The Chicago Shambhala Center applied both for a grant to carry out a second phase of their work with young people of violent neighborhoods and to allocate the remainder of the previous Trust grant to this project, which they are currently undertaking in partnership with CeaseFire. In teaching mindfulness at a large high school, they will reach ten times the number they had previously planned, as well as the entire staff of the CeaseFire organization. The Trust approved the reallocation of the remainder of the previous grant, and has so far raised over $8,000 of the further $10,000 requested.

Zigi CollectiveZiji Collective Youth Leadership Training in Mexico: The Ziji Collective is Shambhala’s global initiative for people under 30 – “the future of Shambhala.” It is very exciting that The Ziji Collective will be holding its next congress (May 2015) in Mexico City. At this early stage of the Ziji Collective’s work, the Trust grant is of vital importance in getting things off the ground. The Trust has so far raised over $4,000 of the $5,000 requested.

Digital MonasteryTreasure Caretakers Project: Anne Shaftel’s work in training local monastic personnel to record their treasured objects seems simple on the surface, but it has the attention of the Bhutanese government, and other international organizations. What she can achieve is both a reliable record of the object and a preservation of the traditional privacy of these records, in that she trains the monasteries to make these records themselves. The Trust has so far raised almost all of the $6,000 requested.

teaching PMIPrison Mindfulness Institute – Intelligent Corrections: Fleet Maull’s work with prisoners is well-known, but this project will address what correctional officers face in the stresses of their work. Acharya Maull will be working with the top level of the Oregon prison system in developing this compassionate program. The Trust has so far raised almost $7,000 of the $10,000 requested.

DDL Root CellarDorje Denma Ling Root Cellar: The root cellar currently under construction at Dorje Denma Ling will allow that center to create contractual relationships with local farmers and take part in a province-wide approach to the food security issue. Although most people now have no idea what a root cellar does, it was once a vital part of individual households getting through a long winter without grocery stores. The eyes of some provincial bodies are on this project. At this time, the Trust has raised over $2,000 of the $6,500 (US) requested.

Arrow+Logo+Vector+2The Arrow: The modest budget of this proposal will help expand the reach of a journal that can present a scholarly discussion of approaches to awakened society. At the meeting, the Trust raised the full amount requested of $3,000.

The Chicago Trust meeting included an extra day devoted to people and places involved in the Cure Violence efforts of the Chicago Shambhala Center and CeaseFire. As one member said, “When we met person after person who are part of this courageous organization, we experienced the living, luminous reality of the compassion that lies within broken hearts. It was completely heart-opening to hear the commitment to goodness, protection, and truth that these warriors have pledged!” This experience led to a spontaneous gift of $7,000 that will be shared by two CeaseFire field offices with which the Shambhala Center is working.

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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