Year End Fundraising Appeal Letter
Ananda, The Buddha's long-time personal attendant and monk-disciple, asks: "Lord, is it true what has been said, that good spiritual friends are fully half of the holy life?" The Master replied, "No, Ananda, good spiritual friends are the whole of the holy life. Find refuge in the sangha community.”
This teaching has had special significance for many of us during this year of COVID. Although our Meditation Center in Avila Village has been physically closed since mid-March, we have taken “virtual refuge” in our Sangha, that is in our relationships with one another. And these Sangha relationships, both long-term and new, have provided a steadying touchstone through these months of unsettled and worrying conditions. Indeed, over the last eight months, because of the commitment and generosity of our members, our Sangha has not only survived, but has grown and been strengthened.
Our Board continues to plan for the re-opening of our Sangha Center when it is safe to do so. It appears that this will be a gradual process, possibly stretching over the next year. During this time, and after we are safely gathering again at our Center, we will continue to keep many of our online Sangha sessions available and include our online attendees in programs that are held in-person at the Center.
How can I Support the Sangha?
We depend on your financial generosity to maintain and operate our Meditation Center and to provide and expand the programming for our Sangha members and wider community. While we have not been able to utilize our Center space, the Sangha’s operating expenses have continued and even increased. Rental and utility expenses have gone up; and the technological demands of being online and preparing to offer simultaneous hybrid online/in-person gatherings have resulted in one-time and on-going expenses. With your continued support we will maintain and increase our offerings and community outreach, as allowed by public health considerations.
We thank those of you who have been supporting White Heron Sangha throughout this year and hope you will continue to do so in 2021. If you’re not already a sustaining contributor, please consider joining our Stewardship Council, by pledging a set amount you will give during the year in support of everything we are doing. To make a year-end gift and/or to join our Stewardship Council, please complete and return the enclosed financial support card indicating the amount and method of your donation and/or pledge. You can make your one-time or recurring tax-deductible donations online by visiting the Donate page at whiteheronsangha.org, or you can send a check to the White Heron Sangha mailing address below. Online donations are acknowledged immediately, and the Sangha sends an annual donation summary at the beginning of each year to all who have donated $100 or more.
What does it mean to be a Member of the Sangha?
For IRS purposes, White Heron Sangha is incorporated as a “non-member” organization. That means that financial and governance decisions are made by the Board of Directors and not by members. However, in informal terms, we have historically referred to active participants in our programs as members. What is the difference between an attendee at one of our events and a member? Why would one want to be a member and supporter of White Heron Sangha? What benefit is derived by declaring oneself a member?
First, for many people, membership in White Heron Sangha represents an outward sign of taking refuge in the Sangha. For these people, taking an active part in the life of the Sangha is very important as evidenced by their frequent attendance and/or providing frequent dana in the form of service and/or financial support. However, for others, membership in the Sangha might be more informal, which is just fine. More tangible member benefits include:
- Access to the online membership directory
- Receipt of the quarterly newsletter and other important sangha email notices
- ***New*** Reduced rates for some retreats sponsored by White Heron Sangha
- Member of shareWHS, our informal group email list (no longer available to non-members)
To remain a member of White Heron Sangha, let us know by updating and returning the enclosed membership printout. Or, you may renew online. Also, if you wish to drop your membership at this time, for whatever reason, let us know that as well. If you respond to this simple request, it will save us all much dukkha and earn you much good merit! People we haven’t heard from will be removed from our membership list at the beginning of 2021.
If you are making a donation or want to volunteer, please return the information card including completion of the personal data at the bottom. To help facilitate the return of these financial and membership forms, you will find a stamped, self-addressed envelope enclosed. Please note: The stamps for the return envelope were donated by a Sangha member.
White Heron Sangha Financial Stewardship Committee:
Sharon Rippner, WHS President Greg Thomas, WHS Treasurer Carole Maurer Mick Malotte Susan Quinones Ramdas Kenjale