In the past few months, the Young Buddhist Editorial reached a meaningful financial milestone.
Our organization received our first donations from individuals, in addition to two grants from the Sacramento Buddhist Temple’s Legacy Endowment Fund and the Buddhist Churches of America’s Bishop’s Expansion Fund (facilitated by Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada).
As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of YBE, these generous contributions enable us to focus on our mission to connect young Buddhists, uplift intersectional perspectives on the Dharma and adjacent cultural experiences, and promote social justice in service of our communities.
In true editorial form, by receiving these significant monetary gifts, we have an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a funded Buddhist organization.
With my limited experience in interpreting the Dharma and fundraising, I’ll offer the way I have come to understand what these gifts mean to the Young Buddhist Editorial community.
First, I hope it goes without saying that financial contributions are only one facet of demonstrating support for YBE. We have been lucky to build a growing community who shows their support by following us on social media, interacting with our content, attending our events, and connecting with our members.
Additionally, as we established our structures and policies throughout our first year, we received valuable feedback about certain content pieces and processes. This constructive input is not only welcome, but an emblem of trust that YBE’s work merits active discussion and thoughtfulness in developing the appropriate process.
Still, among all of these pathways to join YBE’s work, donations are unique.
A donation represents trust. Donors trust in the mission of the organization, and believe that the recipient of their gift will use it respectfully. And this trust must be earned. In a world of skepticism, large nonprofits are assessed by other nonprofits for their ability to affect positive change. YBE does not have a Guidestar profile or a long-established reputation, so the trust of these early donors is all the more meaningful. These gifts come from groups and individuals who share our vision for a connected, represented generation of young Buddhists.
We thank our donors for believing in our potential.
Donations to YBE are received with gratitude. We are privileged to receive these contributions, out of so many organizations and individuals who would benefit from financial support. Rather than dwell on who is in the most need, I hope we can continue our work thoughtfully and with integrity.
Gratitude is best expressed through action. Our donors have entrusted us to continue the work to connect young Buddhists and broaden our representation, and they have joined us on our path. I could go on with statements of gratitude, but I believe that there is no greater thanks for a donation than continuing the work, which we have every intention to do.
Although these material exchanges cannot be equated with our journey as Buddhists, I see a parallel between the process of accepting donations and practicing Jodo Shinshu. As Buddhists, we entrust in the Dharma. Our gratitude for receiving the Dharma is encompassed in our recitation of the Nembutsu. Our gratitude is activated as we walk the Eightfold Noble Path.