A Garden for Growth

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

We wanted to use the opportunity of this inaugural edition of our Board newsletter to update the status of the project to beautify the garden space at the front of Mahasukha Center.

A little background: At the 2012 Festival of Bliss, our annual fundraiser last December, sangha member Peter Hamon, a professional architect and contractor, had volunteered a design for a beautiful and comprehensive project for renovating the garden space at the front of Mahasukha. With a blueprint, brochure and a few actual objects for the garden project adjacent to our donor sign-up table, we subsequently heard from some donors that they had the impression that part of their pledge money was going to be earmarked in a specific fund for the garden project.

We apologize for any misunderstanding and want to be clear that with general fundraising events at the center such as Bliss Fest, monies are not earmarked for individual projects. Funds go towards essentials first such as the rent, utilities, monthly bills, etc. Then the Board plans and apportions monies for initiatives in a comprehensive annual budget process. At the time of the Bliss Fest, we had not yet approved any estimates of cost, but having the desire to initiate the process, did attempt to include the estimated cost in our projected annual budget for 2013.

Despite Peter’s generous donation of time and expertise, the out of pocket cost and a few additional concerns about the scope of the project ultimately made the project untenable.

In evaluating the challenges of this particular project, and with the input of other concerned community members, we realized the need for us, as a Board, to be quicker to respond to you, our fellow community members with updates – particularly when a project plays out as long as this one unfortunately had.

We received further helpful feedback this summer when we met with Peter, as well as other sangha members, who gave us very useful feedback with respect to this particular situation and Board interaction with the community as a whole. Some of that feedback has led to the creation of this Newsletter. We thank them for engaging us.

All of us want to make the outside of the center as inviting as the inside. In that spirit, we re-visited the project this fall and have come up with the following recommendations:

- To reboot the Garden Beautification initiative at a more realistic scale with a budget of $2,000 from general funds and with the ability for sangha members to donate additional funds if they desire.

- We would like to keep some of the ideas from the original design if possible under a smaller budget.

- To hold a community volunteer day to create the garden with our own hands.

- To include the installation of a plaque to honor Harriett Benjamin as originally envisioned by the Board in 2012.

As fellow community members, the Board is learning from our experiences and interactions in trying to maintain the livelihood of the center and continue to see it grow. While all our decisions aren’t going to meet with everyone’s satisfaction, we will always try to learn from both our successes and failures and strive to be as transparent as possible in reporting them to you in a timely fashion moving forward.

Lastly, we thank Peter Hamon for his desire and efforts to bring such a beautiful offering to Mahasukha and the community.

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