All your comments and suggestions — next steps

Members of the Kalapa Council met yesterday to review progress in our community consultation and take the next steps in moving forward on the challenges we are facing. This was just before joining the Sakyong and the acharyas for a retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center.

Several common themes and critical questions have emerged from all the comments and suggestions people have been posting on the blog. These can be roughly grouped into the following 12 topics:

1. We need better, sustainable financial planning by the centre of the mandala

2. We are all in this together

3. We want more financial transparency and communication

4. Be more specific about our needs and where the money is going

5. We want and feel we can achieve financial stability for this mandala

6. Immediately maintain current level of support if possible by repeated fund-raising appeals, possibly up to 4 times a year

7. As a community, study deeply the teachings on generosity/poverty/doubt and how that relates with gathering merit

8. There is a need to make Shambhala’s work more visible to the membership

9. Improve donor relations and service

10. Question the current manifestation of the lineage holder and the cost of providing services to our growing mandala

11. Explore local “taxation”, central funding connected to local membership dues, program fees, centre transfers

12.Identify those who have not given before, and appeal to them to broaden the base of donors

If you don’t see your particular question or comment reflected here, please be patient, as we are trying to work through the most prevalent themes first!

We aim to extend this constructive dialogue over the coming days by inviting people to focus on specific issues, which we will be highlighting. We will also be responding to individuals who have asked particular questions.

Looking at the overall pattern of people’s suggestions, we will initiate an immediate fund-raising appeal to fund the international budget and avoid making staff cuts if possible.

We are also supporting Shambhala Mountain Center in its forthcoming Spring appeal. Some individuals who regularly make donations both to the centre of the mandala and to Shambhala Mountain Center may receive requests from both. We will be writing separately to those individuals. We will be including an update our efforts to have a unified giving model as we move forward on this blog.