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Shambhala Trust in Boston

Shambhala Trust Provides Funds for Four Projects at Spring 2017 Meeting

by Greg Lubkin

On the weekend of April 29 – May 1, 2017, the Shambhala Trust held its semi-annual meeting at the Boston Shambhala Centre.  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.

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.  This has occurred in part because of a policy change that makes it easier for community members with more limited means to participate, so long as they have a sense of inspiration and generosity.

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.  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.

The Trust fully funded three of the four amounts requested for projects at the spring 2017 meeting, as follows (all amounts quoted in U.S. dollars):

Freedom Project

The Freedom Project:  The Trust has a history of funding mindfulness training projects in prisons around the United States, including efforts in Colorado, Oregon, Florida, and Rhode Island.  The Freedom Project teaches mindfulness in correctional facilities in Washington state.  They applied for support to purchase workbooks developed by Kate Crisp that would be distributed in three prisons over the course of the Freedom Project’s work.  The Freedom Project had negotiated a particularly favorable price for the workbook.  They requested $881, and enthusiastic Trust members raised $1,431 to enable the purchase of additional copies for future use.

Growing Brave

Families and Children:  Although Shambhalians have been combining practice and study with family life for decades, there has been no formal vehicle for assembling and sharing information and best practices among the various centres. A working group on families and children is now aiming to fill that need.  They are starting with a conference, called “Growing Brave,” to be held in Boulder during October 2017. It will be the first Shambhala-wide conference ever held for this purpose.  On behalf of the working group, Leslie Gossett of Silicon Valley Shambhala Centre spoke to the Trust meeting by Zoom to explain their request for funds to hold the conference.  $6,250 was requested and raised.

SPOCF

Shambhala People of Color Scholarship Fund (SPOCSF):  Ten years ago, the Shambhala Trust recognized that program costs are among the conditions creating obstacles to diversity in Shambhala.  Accordingly, the Trust provided funds to help the SPOCSF get started.  Because the SPOCSF has had a very modest endowment, it has only been able to offer limited access to scholarship support.  On behalf of the SPOCSF, Acharya Alan Schwartz requested $16,000, an amount larger than the Trust has given to any single recipient for several years The intention is to augment the SPOCSF so that it can really be able to make a difference.  At the meeting, almost $11,000 was raised, with more pledged subsequently by Trust members who did not attend the meeting.

Shambhala School:  This project, requested by Acharya Noel McLellan on behalf of the Shambhala School in Halifax, will see the refurbishment of a multipupose room called the Dojo of the Noble Child.  $3,022 was requested and raised.

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 Trust website at www.shambhalatrust.org.

The Shambhala Trust’s Fall 2017 meeting will take place in Los Angeles.


Greg Lubkin is a member of the Shambhala Trust

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