Letter from Cody McGough, Regional Director

Dear Regional Members and Friends,

In the wake of this Summer’s allegations towards the Sakyong the Shambhala community is entering a period of transformation. Soon an interim board will begin leading Shambhala International, and an international process team will begin guiding community healing and organizational change.

In our own region we are at a crossroads as we work with our own healing as a community, and continue to work with the financial pressures of the Bay Area. Many are asking that we do not proceed with business as usual, and at the same time, the market forces of the Bay area have already been putting immense pressure on our relatively small community.

Already a reduction in Fall programming revenue and projected contractions in membership, programming and fundraising in 2019 have made it necessary for regional leaders to re-evalute our 2019 budget and make major cuts in expenses.

The bulk of these cuts will be in regional personnel—specifically, the regional director position. Starting in January of 2019 we will move to a volunteer regional director position, allowing us to salvage our remaining minimal staff stipends and not sacrifice any of our spaces at this time. This cut paired with a modest 2019 budget including moderate programming, fundraising, and membership income should allow us to continue to operate as a region, and maintain our spaces in Berkeley and San Francisco (paired with a campaign to increase local dues in SF).

To allow for this maneuver, I will be retiring early in December 2018, and passing on the regional director responsibilities to our incoming Vice Chair, Rebekka Martorano, who will hold the position until a proper search process can take place. As a committed sangha member, a former center director, an architect of our articles of incorporation, and a balanced and compassionate leader, Rebekka brings a wealth of good qualities and experience to this role. I feel that I could not be leaving this post in better hands.

However, the way is not clear yet. In order to safely proceed with our 2019 budget, we need to maintain a minimal amount of savings as an operational buffer. To do this, we need to make up for some of our projected 2018 shortfall. This is where our Year of the Earth Dog Fall fundraising campaign comes in.

By raising $40,000 this Fall and Winter, we are laying the ground for our journey forward as a community. A journey that will both allow us to continue to do what matters to us as a community, and heal and change what has been dysfunctional or harmful in Shambhala.

Thanks to local fundraising in Berkeley, SF, Davis and Sonoma this weekend, we have already raised over $10,000.

Please join me in raising awareness of this campaign, giving generously and allowing us to take a fresh start as a regional community. All donations are tax deductible given our status as a 501C3 Church non-profit.

Yours in service,
Cody McGough
Outgoing Regional Director

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